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.
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.
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.
|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|
|377,165||Dee Associates, LLC|
|2,951,517||Four West Company|
|2,231,307||Four West Company|
|8,620,326||Hanover Development LLC|
|854,426||Glebe Hill Associates|
|558,858||Godsey Properties, Inc|
|3,518,669||Hickory Hill, LLC|
|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|
|277,051||Godsey Properties Inc.|
|364,925||Historic Polegreen Church|
|417,656||Colonial Homecrafters, LLC|
|494,460||Carter Oaks, LLC|
|373,531||Balducci Developers, LLC|
|372,572||Mount Hermon, LLC|
|223,882||Mountain Run, LLC|
|446,445||Santee Farm, Inc|
|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.
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:
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
Canova Peterson Wants More Secret Meetings Hidden From the Public
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.
Article written by: Tom White