Category Archives: Hanover County

Bike Races in RVA: Residents Disrupted; Taxpayers Shafted!

I am back from a short hiatus with the blog – sometimes it is other things and sometimes it is bloggers’ block (what to write about) and sometimes it is pure laziness.

So about the elections:  Three of my four Commonwealth Attorneys in western Virginia were elected and so was the Tesla of court clerks (only Flux Neo lost) and you know how close to losing the state senate we came (better invite free of charge to the Advance or better yet – split ’em up between committee chairs –  Thanksgiving dinner for those four candidates for Powhatan Sheriff!) and we lost a seat in the House.  King William County will have better government as insurgents won and will assist tax cutting Democrats Stephen Greenwood in his work.

And there is a by-election in the UK and UKIP better win it unexpectedly or the people of Britain may have to endure the EU misrule for 25 more years.  I’ll be covering it a bit.

But one thing I should do is put more stuff on the record and one of them – I told several people around town but not here at the blog – was:  You know what’ll happen with the bike races?  The locals will be disrupted, not that many people will come and the taxpayers will get screwed.  Again.  (Think proposed stadium deal, Fine Arts Museum and Redskins training camp among other things…)

GUESS WHAT?!  I was right on every point.  Here’s a great article on this in the Times-Dispatch:

September’s bike races not a ‘financial home run’ for Richmond

Not a home run?  Not even sure it’s a bunt single in the infield.  Let’s start with this:

Early economic indicators show Richmond saw a small uptick in overall economic activity during September, when the city hosted the UCI Road World Championships, but a decrease in hotel occupancy and flat restaurant sales.

Or this:

The region as a whole appears to have fared better. Henrico, the only other locality in the region to assess a meals tax, saw receipts increase during September.

And the Richmond-Petersburg hotel market as a whole saw a 1.2 percent increase in hotel occupancy during the month, with the biggest gains in Chesterfield and Hanover counties.

But Henrico’s meals tax revenue (and that increase may or may not be due to the race) only increased about $75k!

Henrico posted a year-over-year increase in restaurant sales, with a roughly $74,000 increase in tax receipts.

But the county paid $300,000 to get a piece of the racing action!  (This is from this article in Richmong magazine from 2014)

Henrico is prepared to spend up to $1.4 million on the event, including a $300,000 cash contribution to Richmond 2015. Up to $1.1 million will go to infrastructure projects and overtime costs for police working the event, says County Manager John Vithoulkas. “If revenue forecasts are remotely close, many of those costs will likely be recouped,” he says.

OOPS!  The first corollary to Sandy’s First Law of Private-Public Partnerships (That the taxpayers always get screwed unless someone keeps them in mind and puts them first) is that the vivid projections given to wide-eyed public officials are never realized.  If I were a Henrico supervisor, I’d have the county manager in a hot seat at the next meeting.  But it won’t happen because they are complicit in the deal and cannot attack the manager without attacking themselves.  Need proof:  Check this out from 2012 – Henrico initially said no and they were asked to pony up MORE and then did so indirectly:

The Board of Supervisors informally accepted a recommendation by County Manager Virgil R. Hazelett on Tuesday to provide $300,000 in cash support of the UCI Road World Championships instead of the $1.4 million requested by Richmond 2015, the nonprofit group planning the nine-day event.

The county would make up the difference with indirect donations through its share of regional contributions, as well as in-kind support services such as traffic control and security for cycling time trials held in Henrico and, if requested, helping neighboring Richmond.

The decision represents a reversal of Henrico’s position last month, when Hazelett and members of the board said they would not consider participating in the cycling championships without much more information to justify the cost to the county and disruption for residents, businesses, and churches.  (I bolded this)

And here we unveil Sandy’s second corollary to his First Law:  The Tip of the Iceberg corollary:  The announced taxpayer monies spent is the tip of the iceberg!

How about Hanover?  Here are the numbers according to the aforesaid Richmond magazine article:

Hanover will pay $100,000 to Richmond 2015 next year and provide services up to $65,000 for administrative costs and public safety assistance, according to county spokesman Tom Harris.

Hanover does not have a meals tax and the recoupment is bound to be smaller than Henrico.  Here is a confirmation from the Ashland Herald-Progress and the attitude so many took about this whole thing/boondoggle/disaster:

If so, it may be difficult to place a price tag on the economic benefits that accrued and weigh them against the costs to the counties involved. In addition to the cost of Hanover’s sponsorship ($100,000) and  the enhanced video promotions that aired world-wide during race broadcasts (about $7,000), there was the extra cost to public works and emergency services to close roads and maintain order during the event.

On the other hand, many millions of people around the world were at least presented the opportunity to realize that there is a Hanover County, Virginia. Hopefully most of those who attended the event and went back home overseas will spread the word that the event was a success and that Central Virginia is a pretty nice place to visit.

Besides, how many counties can claim that they co-hosted a world-class sporting event?

Let’s hope no one in RVA has a crazy idea to bring the Olympics here to Virginia!  One hundred grand might not sound like a lot but assuming Hanover had say a thousand teachers, that $100,000 could have been an extra hundred bucks for school supplies…

And then – let’s add insult to injury:  Nobody came!  (Remember that corollary to the Sanders’ First Law?)

Mike Watkins, president of the Richmond Region Hospitality Association, disagreed.

“I don’t think the rates were a factor at all,” he said. “Were there one or two hotels that maybe had some tall rates? Initially, yes. But I think the people that were coming for the races were coming for the races.”

He said the races simply did not deliver the number of visitors organizers initially anticipated. But, he quickly added, that’s not to say it wasn’t a good event that netted the region good international exposure.  (I bolded this, too)

So what happened?  How many small businesses downtown got hurt like this guy in the R T-D article:

Johnny Giavos, who has eight restaurants in the area, said the race hurt his business in heart of the city and helped his business outside the race area.

Perly’s on East Grace Street downtown, he said, would have gone out of business as a result of the event if it were a standalone business without revenue from other properties to fall back on.

“I loved the bike race,” Giavos said. “I thought it was good for Richmond.”

He continued: “Did it hurt businesses in Richmond? Yes. Did it help businesses outside of Richmond? Yes.”

Hey, I love the bike race, too.  Civic pride and all that.  And I’ll love it better when it is somewhere else!  The local people here got disrupted:

Some downtown businesses did not ask their employers to come into work during the races, and VCU canceled classes, essentially giving students the week off.

That sure hurt local businesses and restaurants.

There is one (partial) hero in all this:  Chesterfield County.  They largely resisted the siren song of glamour and fame and rosy projections and said NO to taxpayer involvement in the bike race:

Then there’s Chesterfield, which is reluctant to use taxpayer dollars to cover the $200,000 fee Richmond 2015 requires to start a race in the county. “At this point, we’ve not been able to come to an agreement that satisfies all parties,” says David Pritchard, special project manager in county administration.

The county is prepared to spend $30,000 on public safety costs if a race did start in Chesterfield, and it is still in communication with Richmond 2015 about getting involved, Pritchard says.

Although they did indirectly contribute:

Additionally, Chesterfield waived its portion of the Greater Richmond Convention Center fees that Richmond 2015 will pay to rent the facility for two weeks next September. That amounts to $71,500, Pritchard says.

For the record, here’s the city’s and state’s contribution (most of which if not all was your tax dollars at work) was:

Locally, the city is spending $1.6 million to resurface more than 26 miles of roads in 2014 and 2015; another $880,000 will go toward sidewalk, curb, gutter and wheelchair ramp improvements along the courses, according to the city’s Public Works spokeswoman Sharon North. The city has committed $5.5 million in cash and in-kind services to the event, by far the most of any locality involved. The state has pledged $2 million.

For the record, the road improvements were largely needed.  You could say the city moved up public works projects from future fiscal years to this one.  That is not ideal but perhaps helpful in long run.  And you cannot do an event like this without police and other support.  BUT, you can see the road work was not even half of the $5.5 million spent.

And you wonder why nobody wants the Olympic Games!

So let’s sum up:

  • Bike race did not meet projections
  • Nobody came!
  • Locals and businesses got disrupted
  • Taxpayers got screwed

Another brilliant example of Sandy’s First Law of Public-Private Partnerships:  The Taxpayer Gets Screwed

Will the lesson be learned?  Probably not since Sandy has no interest in running for supervisor.  (Delegate or state senator maybe but never supervisor!)  But they tend to offer these sporting events again to the areas that hosted it before.  And my answer would be and is: HELL NO!


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Canova Peterson Platform: Eliminating proffers that were never actually paid made new houses, (up 13%), more affordable.

Canova Peterson is the current Mechanicsville District Supervisor in Hanover County, Va. Four years ago I helped get him elected and he barely squeaked by, winning by just 75 votes.Canova

I was proud to help with signs and I talked to hundreds of voters on election day at the polls in Mechanicsville. I don’t know the exact number, but I know a good portion of the 75 votes that put Peterson over the top were from people I personally convinced to vote for Canova.

And in reviewing the last 4 years and Peterson’s record, I can say I will not be taking a vacation day on November 3, 2015 to help Peterson at the polls. He has been a disappointment and, in my opinion, detrimental to the dream of keeping Hanover a safe, rural place to live.

Voters made a tremendous error in 2011 by electing too many supervisors to the board that had ties to developers and builders. We have seen $52 million in proffers fly out of window as Peterson and the other developer cronies voted to eliminate proffers that help to defray the costs to the existing property owners in the form of cash, land and roads and other items that will prevent a lot of the costs of the development from being passed on to existing property owners.

Canova Peterson’s largest source of campaign money, not surprisingly, is the Real Estate / Construction business according to VPAP. Peterson is an architect with close ties to the construction business.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Canova Peterson was one of the developer lackeys leading the charge to eliminate proffers and line the pockets of his top donor class. And the spin and excuses Peterson has delivered in the years since he voted to get rid of proffers is staggering.

And at the September meeting of the Hanover County Republican Committee Canova Peterson rose to address the committee at the end of the meeting and complained about the misinformation being spread around. We agree with him that there is a lot of misinformation, but all he need do to locate the source is look in a mirror.

Canova’s Spin: Proffers make housing un-affordable.

In a debate held last month between Peterson and his challenger Glenn Millican, Peterson made the following argument as a reason to eliminate proffers:

We have a need for all types of housing in this community. Not just single family housing for the well to do. Our teachers, and first responders on the Fire Department, they deserve to be able to have homes too. Many of them when they are first starting out cannot afford that first house. One of the things that’s very important that we have done over the last 2 ½ years is we did help that by getting rid of the proffers. We reduced the price on those houses so that the lower people can afford a house quicker. Our children are no longer banned to living in other communities because they cannot afford to live in the county they grew up in. (Video can be found here and this statement is at the 10:00 minute mark in video #1.)

So according to Peterson, eliminating proffers made housing more affordable so the “lower people” can afford to buy. But proffers were only added to brand new homes. The county has plenty of starter homes and rentals for those starting out who are at the dawn of their careers. But the truth is, eliminating proffers has done nothing to lower the price of new homes in Hanover.

false-fact-checkFact Check: Peterson gets an F on this  claim.

One of the arguments for eliminating proffers was that the cost of housing would go down. In a presentation on the state of the county in November, County Administrator Rhu Harris reported that new housing costs were up by 13 percent in 2014. (See article in the Hanover Herald Progress.)

So even the county administrator would have to give Peterson 5 Pinocchio’s on this claim. Peterson’s developer buddies are not passing the savings on to the new home buyers. They are simply taking the opportunity to milk more money from new citizens while leaving the current citizens holding the bag for additional police, fire, school, water, sewer and other costs. Peterson is not being honest with the Hanover voters on this.

Canova’s Spin: The County Lost Nothing by Eliminating Proffers

In the same debate, Peterson made the following statement:

The County lost nothing. We never had $52 million to begin with. What we had was a wish and a hope that this money would come forward to begin with. Proffers came into being in Hanover in 1990 at $1,800 per house. When we got rid of the policy in 2012-2013 session it was $20,000 per house.

At $20,000 the most we ever collected was $2 million and that was in 1 year. The average over the 20 years was $1.3 million. People were talking about trying to collect $10 million over the next several years. That’s all based on hope and promises.

We replaced that with the Reserve Capitafalse-fact-checkl Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.

Fact Check: Peterson gets an F on this claim.

Here are a few actual examples of proffers that Peterson calls a “wish and a hope”. And remember, the Real Estate / Construction industry is his largest single source of campaign funding.

Total Receivable Applicant/Developer
1,640,160 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
6,539,141 Wilton Development Corp.
186,692 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
412,794 The Hanover Group
120,876 The Hanover Group
410,685 D.O Allen Homes
118,430 S L A, LLC
413,375 Diamond Group
377,165 Dee Associates, LLC
2,951,517 Four West Company
2,231,307 Four West Company
661,353 BWW Holdings
8,620,326 Hanover Development LLC
854,426 Glebe Hill Associates
558,858 Godsey Properties, Inc
3,518,669 Hickory Hill, LLC
2,340,184 Commonwealth Lands
1,511,664 Rogers-Chenault
2,159,520 Mountain Air, LLC
1,190,520 D&R Property Development, Inc
396,126 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
938,706 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
3,120,480 HHHunt, LLC
277,051 Godsey Properties Inc.
364,925 Historic Polegreen Church
417,656 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
76,168 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
494,460 Carter Oaks, LLC
373,531 Balducci Developers, LLC
372,572 Mount Hermon, LLC
223,882 Mountain Run, LLC
383,530 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
843,771 HHHunt, LLC
446,445 Santee Farm, Inc
492,470 Anthony Sherman
705,778 Godsey Properties, Inc
412,940 West Point Resolution Co.

So, what could we do with this list of “wishes and hope”? Could our schools use any of that money? How about police and firefighters? Yes, there are limits on what proffers may be used for, but money is fungible.

Can you spot the glaring error in Canova Peterson’s logic?Stupidity-quote-inspiration

Political junkies like myself have been following and watching in horror as Canova Peterson and his developer buddies (along with the rest of the Board of Supervisors) have watched with horror as Hanover is paved with blacktop, houses and low income housing with no source of revenue to take the additional burden off of taxpayers. Something about Canova’s absurd arguments didn’t add up. And it hit me the other night.

Peterson claims that proffers made housing too expensive and in almost the same breath he claims we never actually collected the money.

So eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Let me repeat Canova’s stance on proffers:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

And Peterson whines about the misinformation going around.

Are you beginning to see why I will not be taking my vacation day this time to help Canova at the polls? No, I will sit back like the majority of the Hanover Republicans and do as little as possible. I will not be the grassroots this time to elect this supervisor to another 4 year term. Because he doesn’t deserve it. It is a shame that there was no primary challenger. One who will be truthful and honest with the voters.

Peterson Avoiding Debates

The Herald Progress planned to hold a debate at Lee Davis High School last month, but Peterson, citing a scheduling conflict, backed out. When I suggested that he use his Town Hall scheduled for tonight (10/13/2015) as a makeup debate, he refused.

You know why he refused? Because he can’t find a response to the question:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children, he cries!) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Peterson Won’t Debate, but Sends in a Plant

Glenn Millican, the challenger, was more than willing to answer questions from Mechanicsville voters and held a Town Hall meeting in place of the debate Peterson backed out of. And while Peterson was unable to come, he did send in a plant, a Mr. Warren Rice. Rice read from talking points and repeated the same absurd claims Peterson has used to defend his “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable” platform. (And by the way, Rice is a Peterson supporter and donor.)

What Rice claimed was that his son, a Hanover Firefighter, was forced to move to New Kent because the cost of proffers made a home in Hanover unaffordable – fitting in nicely as a prop to attempt to bolster Peterson’s argument from the debate that he muffed so badly.

And we will ignore the absurd contention by Rice that the proffers add $20,000 to the assessment of the house and the taxes ever year forever. Amen. Assessments don’t work like that, and besides, if they did, that same $20,000 would be refunded when you sell or pass on the house.

So let’s do the math on a firefighter living in New Kent and working in Hanover. And note that a firefighter living in New Kent and working in New Kent is paid less.

  • Rhu Harris said new home prices in Hanover were up 13% in 2014 after eliminating proffers.
  • The average Hanover firefighter makes $31,000.
  • The average Firefighter salary in New Kent is $27,000. 12% less.

At $.81 per $100 Real Estate Tax Rate in Hanover, if it was true that the $20,000 in additional costs added by proffers (that are not actually real according to Canova) are paid year after year, the additional tax comes to $162 per year. Which would have to come out of the additional $4,000 Hanover Firefighters are paid in Hanover vs New Kent.

But the Real Estate Tax Rate in New Kent is higher than Hanover at $.84 per $100.

Real Estate Tax on a $250,000 home in:

Hanover: $2,025.00

New Kent: $2,100.00

So, out of that $162 extra tax Rice was complaining about due to proffers in Hanover, you can subtract $75 because Real Estate Taxes are higher in New Kent. Leaving the cost of the additional $20,000 in non existent proffers in Hanover costing $87 more a year. Which is about $1.67 per week.

Now let’s say the commute from New Kent adds 40 miles per day round trip to the commute. I know firefighters schedules vary, but others, like Teachers who make an average $56,00 in Hanover and $50,00 in New Kent drive 5 days per week during school. Other jobs that are 5 days per week year ’round would drive an extra 200 miles per week. With gas pretty low right now  at $2 or less per gallon, if your car gets 25 MPG you are looking at 8 extra gallons per week, $16 dollars more per week and that comes to $832 per year in additional gas costs to live in

New Kent.false-fact-check

 So if Mr. Rice’s son lived in Hanover instead of New Kent he would save $745 per year.
So we will have to give Peterson’s plant Warren Rice a rating of False.
Peterson also made the claim that proffers were “replaced that with the Reserve Capital Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.
Wow! Peterson replaced proffers that were only $52 million, but a figment of our imagination, with guaranteed money more than triple that of proffers. $180 million.
Let’s see. The proffers that made housing unaffordable but were imaginary and increased the price of housing by 13% when they were eliminated and which were paid by builders were replaced by $180 million in guaranteed money.
Notice that Peterson didn’t say who would be paying this $180 million. This time we must look in the mirror to see Peterson’s ATM. And if you are really quick, you might see a vapor trail of Canova’s hand picking your pockets.

Canova Peterson Wants More Secret Meetings Hidden From the Public

secret-meeting-safe-picHow can you deceive the voters and come up with platforms like “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.”?
Easy. You try to eliminate the freedom of information act laws that make closed door secret meetings illegal. Canova wants to meet in secret, away from prying eyes and ears to help out his developer buddies and their plans to take advantage of the taxpayers of Hanover County.
In an unbelievably attack on government transparency,  Peterson tried to have the law changed.
Times-Dispatch: When elected officials in Hanover and other jurisdictions want to meet, they have a simple choice. They can issue a public notice and get together to discuss the issue in the open, as they should. Or they can skirt the law’s intent by holding a series of “two-by-twos,” in which two supervisors at a time meet with county staff. (Virginia’s open-meetings law applies to gatherings of three or more elected officials.) Hanover’s supervisors find this inconvenient. So their chairman, W. Canova Peterson IV, wants state law changed so open-meeting laws apply only to quorums. In Hanover, that would permit three supervisors at a time to meet behind closed doors. This is a rotten idea, whose sole purpose is to put the convenience of public servants ahead of the interests of the public they are supposed to serve.
 Is this any way to serve the voters?

Article written by: Tom White

Give Me Chickens, or Give Me Death!

baby-chickenBy Patrick Jett – Mechanicsville District

Did you know it is illegal to own chickens in residential areas of Hanover County?  This simple property use is a protected freedom in the communities all around us.  Henrico County, Chesterfield County, the Town of Ashland and even the City of Richmond allow their property owners the simple freedom to raise hens and enjoy their benefits.

While the title of this article exaggerates the issue, I never imagined, as a lifelong resident of Hanover County, that our personal freedom to own Backyard Chickens would be denied by the same government which promotes rural celebrations such as the Tomato Festival, the Strawberry Festival and Beaverdam Heritage Days.  Hanover County is proud of its most famous son, Patrick Henry.  His historic stature delivers tourism revenue to the county coffers each year with historical tours of Scotchtown and its courthouse.  However, do the government officials, elected and unelected, embrace the true meaning of their founding father’s most famous speech?

I repeat my question from above – Did you know that keeping a few egg-laying hens is illegal in Hanover?  I understand some neighborhoods would choose to not allow keeping chickens.  These Planned Urban Development subdivisions with their homeowners associations and bylaws can restrict backyard chickens.

Why is it that Hanover County through its Municipal Code feels the need to impose this restriction of property rights on all of its tax paying residential landowners?  This is a simple example of government overreach.

The Hanover zoning ordinance permits “keeping of small animals, insects, reptiles, fish or birds, but only for personal enjoyment or household use, and not as a business”, yet keeping even a single egg-laying hen is forbidden.  We’re not talking about running a commercial poultry operation out of a backyard.  We are talking about keeping a few hens for enjoyment, education and an option for a safe source of non-GMO food.  Why, as a tax paying landowner with approving neighbors, would I be legally forbidden from keeping a few hens?

This issue has been brought before the Board of Supervisors numerous times over the last few years.  We continue to see huge areas of a once-agricultural county converted into high-density residential subdivisions.  How can a county that repeatedly claims to support the preservation our rural quality of life continue to asphalt the county and not even yield a compromise at enjoying a bit of rural living?

Demanding either chickens or death is a purposeful exaggeration.  These days, however, I find myself wondering if the people of Hanover County aren’t anxious to relish in our historic cries for Liberty and demand a few Backyard Chickens. (And for clarity, I am not including roosters in this request. They can be noisy!)

Please contact your supervisor to let them know you support Backyard Chickens as a property owner freedom.

South Anna District – Mr. Wayne Hazzard – wthazzard@hanovercounty.gov

Beaverdam District – Mr. Aubrey Stanley – amstanley@hanovercounty.gov

Henry District – Mr. Sean Davis – smdavis@hanovercounty.gov

Chickahominy District – Ms. Angela Kelly-Wiecek – ackelly@hanovercounty.gov

Ashland District – Mr. Ed Via – gevia@hanovercounty.gov

Mechanicsville District – Mr. Canova Peterson IV – wcpeterson@hanovercounty.gov

Cold Harbor District – Mr. Elton Wade, Sr. – ejwade@hanovercounty.gov

Don’t know your district?  Please find it @:

http://www.hanovercounty.gov/RG/Hanover_County_Redistricting_Overall.pdf

To learn more, check us out on Facebook @:

www.facebook.com/giveuschickens


Article written by: Tom White

Hanover Supervisor Candidate Millican Impresses in Forum with Incumbent Supervisor Peterson

The Mechanicsville TEA Party hosted a candidate forum this past Monday night featuring Incumbent Hanover Board of Supervisors member Canova Peterson and challenger Glenn Millican. Millican is challenging Peterson for the Mechanicsville District seat. About 70 people showed up to the event.

There were a total of 24 questions and each candidate was given one minute to answer. Questions were submitted by residents prior to the forum and the order of the questions was determined by a random drawing prior to each question.

It was obvious after a few questions that the main concerns of the Hanover residents submitting questions were:

  • Government Ethics with a particular concern for the behavior of the current elected Board of Supervisors.
  • The decision to eliminate proffers.
  • Over development.

The first question set the tone for the evening and comes at the 10 minute mark of Part 1 of the video below.

The question was concerning the Board’s approval of several mixed housing / high density / low income housing projects which is seen as social engineering and asked that the response include an example of increased property values due to such housing approvals.

Peterson’s response, in a somewhat defensive tone, defends the low income housing approvals by stating that the social engineering aspect comes when “we” (and by ‘we’ I assume he means the board) try to decide who has a “right” to live here and who does not. “We have a need for all types of housing in this community. Not just single family housing for the well to do,” Peterson said. And he says teachers and fire department “deserve” to be able to have homes too. Many of them when they are starting out cannot afford that first house. One of the things we have done is to eliminate proffers to reduce the price of those houses. We reduced the price on those houses so that the (here Peterson either says “little” people or “lower” people) can afford to buy a house quicker. Our children are no longer “banned” to live in other communities because they cannot afford to live in the county they grew up in.

Comments: Just wow. I wish we had an opportunity to follow up with questions during the forum. We did not elect the current Board of Supervisors with a mandate that they decide which salary levels are acceptable and which are not. In part 2 of the forum videos at about 6:30 Peterson said the lower income cutoff did not include people who work at McDonald’s. So here, Peterson has set an income level as far as who “deserves” affordable housing in Hanover to be someone with a better job than McDonald’s and somewhat less than a Firemen. So Peterson sets the banishment bar (his words) above McDonald’s and below Firemen. And fact checking his claim that housing prices would drop by eliminating the proffers, Peterson offered no data on which this claim was made. And the fact is, housing prices have actually increased since proffers were eliminated. County Administrator Rhu Harris actually contradicts Peterson’s statement according to the Herald Progress:

One of the arguments for eliminating proffers was that the cost of housing would go down. In a presentation on the state of the county in November, County Administrator Rhu Harris reported that new housing costs were up by 13 percent in 2014.

Developers apparently have not passed their savings on to the consumer, fracturing one of the supervisors’ optimistic yet flimsy arguments in support of proffer elimination. Voting to eliminate proffers were supervisors Wayne Hazzard, Canova Peterson, Sean Davis and Ed Via. Supervisors Bucky Stanley and Angela Kelly-Wiecek voted against the motion and Supervisor Elton Wade was not present due to illness.

So who is not telling the truth here? Harris or Peterson?

Glenn Millican’s response spoke to the heart of the issues Hanover Residents have concerning the approval of a number of mixed low income housing projects. While Peterson also failed to give an example of anyone’s property values increasing from the actions of the current Board, Millican began by defining the purpose of zoning:”The fundamental concept of zoning is to protect homeowners and property owners from incomparable, unhealthy and adverse conditions. It is to provide for adequate infrastructure and support to residents, and not add to burdens. Hanover cannot afford the infrastructure that is shown on the Comprehensive Plan to support the densities that are on that plan,” Millican said.

Millican also suggested that instead of Peterson’s plan of dumping cheap development in Hanover County we pay the teachers and fireman and adequate wage so that they can live in Hanover. Millican stated that this is the cheaper alternative to the low income housing costs to the county.

The next question was specifically about the propriety of a District Planning Commission adviser who is also a Real Estate agent for a broker and the potential for a conflict of interest. Millican stated that this has actually occurred in Hanover. And he believes any such person should recuse themselves from anything that even hints at a conflict. And he referenced how high the ethical bar is in his profession – a CPA.

Peterson said he agreed with Millican, pointed out that the situation presently exists and that this person has recused themselves a number of times. And then Peterson defended those with conflicts saying they can’t be banned from public office. And he believes that everyone has acted with integrity.

The next question at the 15:15 mark in Video 1 was about the loss of $52 million that occurred when the Board eliminated proffers.

Peterson claims that the county “lost nothing” because they never had $52 million. And this comes after stating 2 questions ago that the elimination of proffers made housing more affordable. I wish we were allowed a follow up question here. Because either eliminating proffers cost the county money or it reduced the cost of housing – which was also not the case according to Rhu Harris. Peterson said “what we had was a wish and a hope the money would come”.

My statement to Peterson is if we elect you to supervise the County, part of your job is to ensure that monies due are collected. You just admitted that you are failing to oversee the proper collection of what is due the county.

Millican completely disagreed with Peterson on this and said that they removed $52 million in revenue from the revenue stream with no thought whatsoever on how to replace it. And what the Board actually did was to distribute the cost from developers ot the taxpayers of Hanover. Millican went on to tell Peterson we are in a hole and we need to stop digging. As more and more developments are approved, the hole is getting deeper and deeper.

In a question on why residents are not allowed to ask questions at meetings, Millican believed that they should be able to ask as many questions as they want at the Board meetings and that all county documents and accounts should be posted on the internet for easy, searchable access. Peterson prefers the current method with taxpayers asking their questions by phone or in a Town Hall.

The question on elected school boards, Millican is not opposed as long as it is done to improve the schools. Peterson does not favor elected School Boards unless they can raise taxes. His answer was pretty much non responsive.

We had the back yard chicken question. Peterson likes hens but not roosters. And he does not support allowing chickens. Millican would not support Roosters, but he sees a prohibition on chickens as government overreach.

The next question was about making decisions that financially benefit campaign contributors. Millican said he finds that disgusting. Peterson said the same, but offered no explanation as to why he kept silent when this happened on the Hanover Board.

Both agreed Common Core was a bad idea.

Part 1 below

 

 

Part 2:

Question about a BOS member voting on a zoning change that wold benefit them. Peterson gave what looked like a very uncomfortable answer and offered qualifying comments. Millican said he believed it was a felony. He would not sweep that under the rug.

Another question on ethics had to do with a board member overseeing the refinancing of a debt bond that went from $37 million to $89 million and then the same supervisor subsequently had land in the area zoned to light industrial. Millican said this was an issue of conflict and this made his head spin. He could not defend this. Canova Peterson defended this saying that this was apples and oranges.

Question: Providing housing types is a function of the market and is not a legitimate function of government.

Oddly, after telling the crowd that he is fine with Government (6:30 in Part 2) deciding a McDonald’s worker is not deserving of affordable housing in Hanover and a Fireman is deserving, Peterson admits that providing housing types is not a function of government. Here, he completely contradicts his earlier statement. And he calls housing a “right”. Not sure which Constitution that is in. And he says we should not throw “stumbling blocks” in the way of builders. Here I assume he is again talking about proffers. Is this a hint at what Peterson really thinks about proffers? This seems to show a pro development bias which many believe is the real reason he voted to eliminate proffers, putting developers ahead of taxpayers.

Millican reiterated the definition of zoning and he believes that anything else if government overreach.

A question on placing all spending online Peterson is opposed to doing this because it is too much work. Millican is in favor of putting all of the financials online.

Another ethics question concerning FOIA. Millican is absolutely in favor of openness. This question, I believe, has to do with several board members who wanted to allow more secret meetings when 2 or 3 board members meet in private. There was a desire expressed to hide this from taxpayers.

A question on cutting spending. Peterson wants to keep the taxes low. But Hanover has added numerous personnel in Fire and Safety and reduced jobs in other areas. Millican said taxes are the last thing to consider. Developing an economic base of businesses is paramount.

Part 3 includes a short statement from Millican that per student spending in Hanover has dropped from $5,100 in 2011 to  $3,800.

Conclusion:

I was impressed with Glenn Millican’s answers and his knowledge on the topics and questions. Canova Peterson seemed quite defensive at times when the questions were critical of the job the current Board of Supervisors has done. And if I didn’t know which party these two gentlemen belonged to,  I would think that Peterson was the Democrat and Millican the Republican. Millican gets very high marks on ethics and his understanding that even the appearance of unethical and self serving votes are a problem. Peterson spent a lot of time qualifying several questions in an attempt to excuse the behavior that has managed to cause concern among many Hanover Residents. Peterson’s suggestion that housing was a right and the taxpayers ought to bear the burden of low income housing because certain “classes” of citizens deserve affordable housing and others do not created quite a juxtaposition with Millican’s concerns for government overreach and government intrusions into our daily lives.

People in the county believe that eliminating proffers cost us money. And enriched the pockets of developers and those connected to development such as Peterson who is an Architect. And those who had concerns for the numerous potential lapses and certainly the appearance of ethical lapses need to view these videos carefully. Democrat Millican was harshly critical of these lapses and Republican Peterson actually defended them.

I believe that Millican came out of this forum as the candidate more concerned with ethics, he shares a concern with many in the county that eliminating proffers was a costly mistake and that we are putting in too many low cost housing projects that are going to prove costly in the long run as the taxpayers start paying for the additional infrastructure and support elements associated with the over development.

I’m not sure Canova Peterson did much to make a case for his reelection in this forum. Watch the videos and judge for yourself.

Millican proved to be well qualified and intelligent enough to to grasp the long term implications of the actions of the current Board of Supervisors.

Thanks to the Mechanicsville TEA Party for an informative forum.

 

 

Part 3


Article written by: Tom White

Hanover Residents: Raise Real Estate Taxes or Reinstate Proffers?

Should Hanover County Raise Taxes or Reinstate Proffers
  • 8.33%
  • 91.67%

One of the first acts of Hanover’s all Republican Board of Supervisors nearly 4 years ago was to eliminate proffers for developers. Since then, the same board has approved a number of high density / low income housing in the area despite vocal opposition to this type of growth. And with the per pupil spending around $10,000 to $11,000 (perhaps more for 2015-2016 school year), the citizens of the county have a decision to make. As developers line their pockets building more and more housing units, without proffers to offset the cost of services such as Police and Fire, something has to go unfunded, or we must raise taxes.

Our schools have fallen into disrepair and we have no choice but to spend money to protect our investment in these structures. The HVAC (heating and cooling) systems are old and not working as they should, roofs are leaking (see the video below of Lee Davis High School earlier this year.)

And our cash reserves are have fallen to an unacceptably low level because this money has been spent on other things in order to keep from raising taxes. But those days are fast coming to a close. And taxes, fees, and other ways of taking our money will be increasingly common during the next 4 year term for the new board.

And the questions we need to answer is will we continue to line the pockets of developers and builders at the expense of our schools? Or will we reinstate proffers so that these developers will have to pay for some of the impact of the multitude of new housing they are building?

Looking at the donors to the current Board of Supervisors and Candidates on VPAP if you exclude donations from political sources, all 5 of the members running for re-election received the largest amount in donations from the Real Estate and Construction industry (for all years). And with the easy time most developers have gaining approval for their projects as well as the elimination of proffers, the developers have gotten what they paid for in Hanover.

And the taxpayers are the ones coming up short.

The tax hikes are coming folks. You can’t sell the county government to developers and not expect to pay for such a mistake.

Call your supervisor and demand that they reinstate proffers immediately. And consider voting only for candidates who promise to fight to reinstate proffers and the Cronyism in Hanover County.

 


Article written by: Tom White