Monday night’s forum for the two candidates running for the Amsterdam District seat on the Board of Supervisors didn’t produce much new about either.
The question-and-answer session did elicit one new opinion about the proposed Sheetz convenience store on the corner of Catawba Road and US 220 in Daleville— a location in the Amsterdam District.
Todd Dodson, the incumbent and Republican Party nominee, said Sheetz “is not the right fit” for the location. He said there were no traffic mitigation measures in Sheetz’s plans.
“I know Sheetz has looked at other property around Exit 150, but that’s a private deal,” he told the audience of about 100 people who filled one of the rooms at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Daleville.
Independent candidate and former board member Steve Clinton, in answer to a question about who should pay for a turn lane on the Catawba Road corner where Sheetz is proposing to build, said it’s an answer that depends on the development.
He called it an isolated situation that may only compound the traffic situation there, and recommended a “holistic” approach to fixing the US 220 corridor.
The two candidates have outlined their platforms and written in depth about their visions and plans in letters to the editor in The Fincastle Herald over the past few weeks. Many of their answers to the questions posed by those at the forum reiterated those writings.
Something that has not come up was a proposal by the Troutville Volunteer Fire Department to build a new public safety building in Daleville to better serve that growing area.
Both candidates praised the volunteer firefighters for their willingness to take on such a project and both supported the idea.
The volunteer department has a possible location— perhaps dedicated land— and both candidates noted that deserves more study because of some potential challenges with the location.
Under the forum format, each candidate was asked a different question in four different categories of questions. There was no rebuttal, and they took turns answering the first question in the categories.
The only rebuttal that was asked about was when Clinton wondered if he could challenge comments Dodson made about the county tax rates and using the general fund balance to balance the annual budget in years prior to his going on the board.
Moderator Alan Brenner told Clinton he could use his closing remarks time for a rebuttal, and Clinton did.
He said Dodson’s accusation that the county was in a tough financial position when he was elected four years ago— when Clinton went off the board— was misleading. Clinton said the county’s bond rating had just been improved and using the county’s fund balance was not unusual to balance the annual budget because the fund balance fluctuated anyway, noting that the fund balance was always within the parameters to meet the supervisors’ financial policies.
Dodson had noted that during the previous 15 years before he was elected that the supervisors had used the fund balance 10 times to balance the annual budget.
He said the supervisors worked diligently the past four years to be sure they did not have to dip into the fund balance and could present a budget where expenditures equaled revenue.
The four categories of questions pertained to economic development, education, financial responsibility and infrastructure. Each category was allowed 20 minutes, with candidates allowed three minutes to answer a question. Each candidate had three minutes for opening and closing remarks.
The forum was sponsored by the Botetourt Town & Country Women’s Club and the Botetourt County-Wide League.
Questions covered topics such as development in the Daleville area, broadband, plans for marketing Botetourt, preparing the schools for expected growth with the new industry coming in, strategies for growth in the Amsterdam District and how to curb growth in the district, moving Greenfield’s historic buildings and the Exit 150 area.