Su­per­vi­sors elect of­fi­cers, look at chal­lenges ahead

Hunter named as chair, Brown as vice chair in unan­i­mous vot­ing

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Adri­enne Wal­lace, Her­ald-Post Ed­i­tor

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.”

[ADRI­ENNE WAL­LACE/ HER­ALD-POST]

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.

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