Supervisors elect officers, look at challenges ahead
Hunter named as chair, Brown as vice chair in unanimous voting
PRINCE GEORGE — The Board of Supervisors elected their new leaders at its their organizational meeting Tuesday night.
Donald Hunter, who served as vice chair last year, was unanimously elected chairman, succeeding Supervisor Alan Carmichael, who served as chairman for one year. Supervisor Floyd Brown Jr. made the motion to elect Hunter and then Supervisor TJ Webb nominated Brown for vice chairman. The board voted unanimously to elect him.
Hunter said he was humbled and honored. “I remember sitting out there in the audience when I was sheriff and other times and always looked up to the members of the board,” he said. “There have always been great people serving here. I will have tough shoes to fill.”
Hunter said he hopes to continue the "spirit
of cooperation" the board has shown. "We get along so well," he said. "Though we don’t always agree, we always want to put the needs of the county first. We all want to move the county forward.”
Hunter and Brown agree there are some challenges ahead, including updating infrastructure in the county, updating the water system and looking at ways to allow Prince George to have more control of its future, such as operating its own water system.
Currently, most water systems in the county are community systems supplied by well water. The major water system is the Central water system, which is supplied by the Appomattox River Water Authority (ARWA). This system contains a water booster station which pumps water into three 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tanks.
According to a Water and Wastewater Master Plan drafted by engineering firm Dewberry, the county owns and operates nine public wastewater systems. An evaluation of the planning period from 2015 to 2045 indicates that the county’s available water supply will not be sufficient to meet maximum day water demands through the end of the planning period as water demand increases in each service area.
It is expected that the cost of wastewater treatment and water supply from ARWA, Virginia American Water Co. and the South Central Wastewater Authority will increase, with a capacity cap eventually creating a situation that supervisors refer to as "holding the county hostage."
“This won’t happen overnight,” Brown said. “We want to set some goals, but it will take some time and we hope the citizens will be patient with the process as we move forward.”
One of the issues Brown has on his plate going into 2019 is the Jefferson Park Volunteer Fire Department. He has visited the station and said that “for some reason” it has remained a low priority in the county's Capital Improvement Plan.
On Tuesday night, a county resident spoke about the condition of the station. Nancy Loving said the firefighters and EMS providers working out of the station are ready to answer the needs of the community. “Can Jefferson Park station count on the county of Prince George to come to their aid?” she asked.
“Public safety has to be a priority — we have to protect our citizens,” Brown added.
With goals to bring in economic development to help increase tax revenue and lessen the burden on taxpayers, Hunter said the county also has to look at having available housing.
“With industry and business comes the need for homes for those people to help keep them in the county,” he noted. “We have to look at that and many other matters that are impacted by growth.”
Donald Hunter, left, newly elected chairman of the Prince George Board of Supervisors, chats with Floyd Brown Jr., the new vice chairman, during a break in the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019.