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Candidates face off in ED-6; LORP looms large
SoVaNow.com / October 24, 2013Candidates for Halifax County Board of Supervisors and Halifax County School Board in Election District 6 gathered at the Turbeville Ruritan Club on Tuesday night to espouse their views on a wide range of issues, from school funding to taxes to uranium mining in a mostly subdued discussion leading up to the Nov. 5 general election.
The supervisors candidates are Larry Giardano and John Voss, who are running to succeed retiring board member Wayne Conner. In the School Board race, incumbent Fay Satterfield is facing a challenge from Rita Best.
The forum was the third in a series sponsored by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce and the local Farm Bureau. The forum was moderated by Nick Long of WHLF, which aired the event live. The forum will be rebroadcast this Saturday at 8:05 a.m.
Some of the highlights of the forum included:
Repercussions of LORP. Perhaps the sharpest disagreement of the night came during a discussion by Satterfield and Best of the Local Option Retirement Plan (LORP), which the School Board cancelled last year in a move that school administrators said was necessary to save money. Satterfield reiterated her support for axing the retirement incentive program, saying it has helped the School Board to do more to students’ educational needs.
However, Best said the trustees’ decision was “unfair, especially to those who made the decision to retire in June” and suggested it will harm Halifax County’s efforts to recruit and retain teachers.
The cancellation of LORP was taken with “no regards to our educators, our children and our support staff,” Best added. “As a result of that, the morale of the educators and the support staff are at lowest point I’ve seen in 34 years that I have taught in Halifax County.”
In her closing remarks, Satterfield returned the subject, saying she has been singled out for defeat on the School Board over one issue.
“I feel because I did what was right for the school system as a whole, 5587 students and 1,056 employees, I have been targeted to be removed from my position on the board by some of my very own colleagues who I worked with my entire career,” she said.
“Unfortunately, a small number of former employees have chosen to make the election focus on one issue,” Satterfield continued. “In my opinion, the needs of students should take precedence over this small group.”
Both candidates expressed support for alternatives to SOL testing, greater emphasis on vocational education and communication with constituents. Best, a retired teacher, pledged to be “trusted, respected, and I will look out for the best interests of everyone,” and Satterfield said she would remain an independent voice on the School Board, beholden to no one.
In the supervisors exchange, Giordano stressed his background in business and community involvement since moving to the Paces community, and highlighted his desire to support community assets and initiatives without raising taxes — a feat, he said, that could be accomplished by improving Halifax County’s collection of back taxes.
“We are at a critical point in Halifax County. The next steps we take will share the future of the county,” he said. To support education, economic development and the county’s quality of life, he said it was essential to make do with available tax dollars — “We can’t raise taxes when people are losing their jobs and businesses are closing,” he said.
Voss, a farmer in the Union community, also stressed the importance of keeping taxes low to support a business- and farm-friendly environment. An officer with the Halifax County Farm Bureau in addition to being an agricultural producer, “I strongly feel that the Board of Supervisors needs to have a farmer representation,” Voss said.
He said he supports agricultural-forestal districts, which provide a favorable tax assessment for lands in agricultural production, “under the right circumstances,” but Voss also wants to be cautious in considering other ways to raise revenue.
“I don’t lie awake at night trying to figure out another way to tax the citizens,” he said.
Both candidates said they strongly oppose uranium mining upstream from Halifax in Pittsylvania County, although both also said they would have opposed the recent Board of Supervisors action to provide money to the Virginia Coalition for lobbying efforts to keep Virginia’s ban on uranium mining.
CommentsSatterfield needs to be defeated. She voted for a new super, with to big a salary, but she voted to do away with LORP. Part of caring for the division is to keep quality employees, if they know they are going to be treated like dirt, why stay. Our neighbor counties have some form of LORP an they say it saves them money and they still use it. So I think she is wrong. VOte for the farmer, he will help the county the most!
- By allpolitical2 on 10 / 24 / 13
CommentsSatterfield needs to get a grip. She hasn't been singled out for defeat. There are other members on that board that need to go as well. When their turns come for re-election, they'll be on the chopping block too. Her Boo-Hoo-Hoo-Why-Me attitude doesn't distinguish her as a strong leader. She can't take the heat so she needs to be removed from the kitchen.
- By SoBoVa on 10 / 24 / 13
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