Price and Hallahan

DAILY PROGRESS FILE

Scottsville District candidates for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Donna Price and Mike Hallahan answer questions at a forum.

{child_flags:top_story}Supervisor race focuses on rural concerns

{child_byline}By ALLISON WRABEL

awrabel@dailyprogress.com | (434) 978-7261 {/child_byline}

A new face will represent the Scottsville District on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors next year.

On Tuesday, voters in the southeastern portion of the county will choose between attorney and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Donna Price, a Democrat, and Republican Mike Hallahan, a defense attorney.

The district’s current supervisor, Rick Randolph, is not seeking re-election.

Hallahan said he wanted to run because he thinks county money is being spent “recklessly, without tangible results,” and that there is a feeling that the people of the county have no voice.

“I look forward to the challenge of trying to get the county steered to be more fiscally conservative,” he said. “... I may be able to slow the rate of tax increases, or stop them all together, if I can just be heard, and the people can be heard. Just because you’re one vote doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference.”

Price said she has always been drawn to public service, and has thought about running for office for some time.

“I was drawn to the history and the culture of the area, and as a supervisor I want to save that because once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” she said.

Price said that if elected, her top three priorities would be schools, broadband and infrastructure.

“I think what the board can do is work in conjunction with other rural counties — because we are still, in many respects, a rural county — to push towards the state level and the federal level,” she said about broadband access issues.

Price said the county is going to need more elementary schools going forward, particularly with Cale Elementary’s capacity issues.

“We definitely have got to ensure that we have the capital improvements going into the school system to meet the needs of facility structures, and [that the county is] paying good wages for our teachers,” she said.

Hallahan said that, among his top three priorities, he wants to put a hold on any future potential tax increases and potentially cut taxes.

“I want to find the waste in the county departments that’s been in the budget year in and year out, and I want to take that waste and cut it in half,” he said.

Hallahan said he wants to use part of the savings the county might gain through efficiencies to give employees raises.

“I want to lower the spending; I want to shrink government, or at least stop it from getting bigger, if not shrink it,” he said.

Hallahan said he believes many people feel ignored and left behind by the local government, and that there is too much business going on behind closed doors.

“When I’m elected, that’s going to be a thing of the past,” he said. “We might have the closed-door sessions, but I’m not going to keep secret what we’re doing because we work for the people.”

“They’re going to learn what the word ‘transparency’ means when I’m elected,” he said. “They talk about it, but they’re gonna actually learn what it means.”

Hallahan said he also wants to focus on the county’s core responsibilities, which he said are education, safety and other basic services.

When asked if he would support any tax rate increases, Hallahan said he would audit the budget and look for unnecessary spending and revenue.

He said current board members “look at raising taxes without auditing themselves and see where money can be found.”

Hallahan said he wants to welcome new businesses into the community, and that the businesses in turn will bring in jobs and pay business taxes, and possibly attract more community members.

“You raise the number of people paying taxes, you don’t raise the taxes on the people that are currently here,” he said.

He said increasing the tax rate is an “absolute last resort,” and should be decided by county residents with a vote.

Price did not say specifically whether she would support any tax rate increase, but said that for a democracy to work, it needs to have an educated electorate, financial stability and physical security.

“My commitment is that everything we do with tax dollars should be related to those three things,” she said. “Now, that’s not to say there may not be a few other odds and ends, but, principally, that’s what we’ve got to look at — schools, infrastructure, roads, things like that.”

To balance the needs and wants of the development areas with rural area residents’ concerns, Price said the development areas have to be filled to capacity.

“If you only fill that to half its capacity, well, you’re not going to get 20 years [until it’s full], you’re going to get 10 years,” she said.

Price said she wants to see more multi-story housing built in the county.

“I think we also want to be very careful in having sort of a not just stark black and white, but having shades of gray, if you will, as you move from a more densely developed urban area, and have a bit of a buffer as you then shift into the rural areas,” she said.

Hallahan also said he wants to see the development area fill up.

“We cannot keep putting these chokeholds on affordable housing units that are right close into town that have access to the public transportation,” he said.

Hallahan said that before the county spends money on that particular project, he would want to look to other communities in the county to see if they have at least that level of service, in order to not leave parts of the county behind.

“As long as you’re fair and you’re transparent about it, and you’re open, you have talks about it, I think that would make people happy,” he said. “People feel like they don’t get listened to and they’re not respected, and there are a lot of people out in the rural part of the county who feel like they don’t matter.”

He said supervisors need to spend time “being careful to make sure everything’s considered, and one part of the county isn’t getting the shaft to benefit the other part of the county.”

The White Hall District and Rivanna District seats on the Board of Supervisors are also up for grabs Tuesday.

Democrat Bea LaPisto Kirtley, a retired educator, is on the ballot for the Rivanna District. She won the Democratic primary in June.

Mike Johnson is running a write-in campaign for the Rivanna seat.

Supervisor Norman Dill is not seeking re-election.

{child_related_content}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Bio Box{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}DONNA PRICE (D){/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Age: 65

Hometown: Atlanta

Residence: Albemarle

Education: Bachelor’s in political science and law degree from Mercer University; master’s in international and comparative law from George Washington University

Occupation: Attorney

Experience: Retired Navy captain; service in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, as a prosecutor, defense attorney and criminal trial judge; adjunct professor, University of Richmond School of Law; local election official; active in the Episcopal Church

Personal: Two adult sons, two adult daughters

{/child_related_content_content}{/child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_item}{child_related_content_style}Bio Box{/child_related_content_style}{child_related_content_title}MIKE HALLAHAN (R){/child_related_content_title}{child_related_content_content}

Age: 46

Hometown: Albemarle

Residence: Albemarle

Education: Bachelor’s in environmental science from the University of Virginia

Occupation: Attorney

Experience: Former Albemarle County police officer; experience with the Civil Air Patrol, Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office; guardian ad litem

Personal: Three children

{/child_related_content_content}{/child_related_content_item}{/child_related_content}

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