Augusta County; removal of county courthouse, authorization by electorate. (HB902)

Introduced By

Del. John Avoli (R-Staunton)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Removal of county courthouse; Augusta County; authorization by electorate. Allows Augusta County to hold a referendum on the courthouse removal in 2022, despite the 10-year waiting requirement, if (i) two new plans are developed for either the construction and removal of the courthouse from the City of Staunton, if the referendum passes, or renovation and expansion of the courthouse in the City of Staunton, if the referendum fails; (ii) the plans are made available to the public at least three months prior to the planned date of the referendum; (iii) the plan for the courthouse remaining in Staunton, if it prevails, shall be a mutual agreement between the City of Staunton and Augusta County; and (iv) the result of the referendum shall be binding and the corresponding plan shall be implemented. Read the Bill »

Status

01/24/2022: Awaiting a Vote in the Counties, Cities and Towns Committee

History

DateAction
01/12/2022Committee
01/12/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102108D
01/12/2022Referred to Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns
01/24/2022Assigned CC & T sub: Subcommittee #1

Comments

Ingrid writes:

To allow this bill to succeed is to undermine the results of an Augusta County referendum and to generally reward bad behavior, mostly, though not exclusively, on the part of Augusta County elected officials.
First, it would allow Augusta County elected officials to ignore the clear will of their constituents, who in 2016 voted overwhelmingly (2-1) against moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton.
Second, passing this bill messages to Augusta County elected officials that acting in bad faith is acceptable, as demonstrated by them repeatedly refusing, out of hand, any and all contributions made by the City of Staunton to help offset costs of maintaining Staunton as the County seat and keeping the courts here.
Third, the timing of the draft resolution for County and City consideration on supporting this bill was such that it came across to us City residents as an ultimatum, with no time for us to understand what was afoot. While not opining here on the merits of the underlying arrangement proposed (i.e. Courthouse moves to Verona in exchange for essentially giving the City of Staunon several buildings and a lot), the whole way in which the resolution was hastily brought up for a City Council vote was a travesty.

Randall Wolf writes:

I do not support this bill that discounts the vote taken in 2016 that was to last ten years. Augusta County residents voted 2-1 to not move the courthouse to Verona. That vote should be respected. Keeping the courthouse in Staunton also allows for sharing of court space between the county and city.

Lallon Pond writes:

I am writing to urgently request that you do not pass SB283 out of your committee and to continue to vote “no” after crossover until it is totally killed. I am a Staunton City resident, and I have heard from my neighbors as well as Augusta County residents that they are NOT in favor of this bill. In the referendum that was held in 2016, the vote was overwhelmingly (2-1) NOT in favor of moving the Augusta County courts out of Staunton. People think their votes in the referendum are being ignored. This is not the way local politics should work.

Brenda O Mead writes:

Vote no on HB 902!

The residents of Augusta County spoke 6 years ago, by a 2 to 1 margin, to keep the Courthouse in Staunton. The County dragged its feet on maintenance and renovations of the facilities until judiciary action was taken to require the County to address the issues.

Now they come before the General Assembly to nullify the voices of their citizens and try again to get the answer they want.

As a member of Staunton City Council it is my obligation to let you know that this bill hurts Staunton citizens, and ignores the voters of Augusta County.

It sets a dangerous precedent that voters can no longer trust their elected leaders to follow the law.

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