March 16, 2015

Hiring the Help

The county’s governing body is the 5-member Board of Supervisors who is elected every 4 years. The Board sets goals and objectives, establishes priorities for programs and services, establishes legislative and administrative policies through the adoption of ordinances and resolutions, appoints the County Administrator and members of various boards and commissions, adopts the annual budget, appropriates funds, and sets tax rates.

Perhaps the greatest challenge faced by the Supervisors is dealing with the consequences of the county’s growing population. The 2010 Census showed an 18.3% increase from 2000, and projections indicate that trend in growth will continue. That suggests that by 2020, another 12,000 people will have moved into Fauquier. All will need homes, some will need schools, and others will need jobs.

Many of our new residents will travel roads that are already congested.

For example, Route 28, from Route 29 to the Prince William County line, is considered by VDOT to be a Rural Minor Arterial. By VDOT’s definition, travelers should expect relatively high overall speeds with minimum interference; Route 28 is not even close to meeting that definition.

This stretch of road passes through four Service Districts that were established as places to concentrate population growth and industrial/commercial use. Ease of access to Service Districts from a distance should be a priority for the BoS, yet congestion on Route 28 resulted in lowering the speed limit from 55 to 45. That was a decision that seems to be at odds with the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

In addition to dealing with population growth consequences, there are 66 different items that require funding review and 31 sources of money for those items. Some of the funding is used for the county’s operational government that is made up of 24 departments with 278 titled positions, and 34 boards & committees.

So when you enter the booth this November to vote for your representative on the Board of Supervisors, remember that you are not “electing” someone, you are “hiring” a manager for the county we all live in. Choose wisely because the person you hire will have a lot to say about the local taxes you pay and the quality of life you will experience living in Fauquier County.

Rex A. Hoover