Charlottesville City Council has appointed members to two new committees formed as part of a call to restructure the way funding for affordable housing projects is governed.
“A major portion of the discussion during the Affordable Housing Plan that was developed a year plus ago was talking about the need to separate out the different functions, the different advisory functions into a funding committee and just the general Housing Advisory Committee [HAC],” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook.
The resignation of City Councilor Sena Magill earlier this month also means that the remaining Councilors had to fill the vacancies she also left on other committees. In addition to attending Council meetings, each elected official serves on several boards and commissions as the official representative from Council.
“We’re not filling every position that she had had but these are ones that have something going on right now for which its important to have the members right now,” said Charlottesville Mayor Lloyd Snook.
“We will fulfill the role of City Attorney with the law firm of Sands Anderson,” Rogers said. “We made that determination because we are down an attorney in the office and we think the nature of the support we need is with a law firm and not just one individual.”
Charlottesville City Council has held first reading of an updated version of the Comprehensive Plan that was altered in response to a lawsuit.
The re-adoption did not come without changes.
“There are substantively two items in fact,” said James Freas, the city’s Director of Neighborhood Development Services. “The adoption of the Climate Action Plan and amendments supporting manufactured housing as a form of affordable housing.”
For many years, the City of Charlottesville rented out properties throughout the city with no central way of knowing who was where, how much they were paying, and whether the public was receiving any benefit by subsidizing tenant rents. Last year, Council was briefed on efforts to get the issue under control. (read the story)
Now, the city is considering renewal of the lease with the McGuffey Arts Center which is housed in a former elementary school in downtown Charlottesville that has been used by artists, artisans, and artsy people for several decades.
“The McGuffey Arts Association has leased this building from the city since 1975,” said Brenda Kelley, redevelopment manager for the city City of Charlottesville.
“We are an arts association that is run like a cooperative and run on committee and on sweat equity,’ said Amanda Liscouski is the Executive Council President for McGuffey’s current fiscal year. “We have 100 associate artists in our community who exhibit in our space and teach in our space as well as 50 renting members who have studio space.”
There is new leadership on the seven-member Charlottesville City School Board. James Bryant has been elected as chair and Dom Morse will serve as vice chair.
Bryant was first appointed to the seat as an interim member in April 2018 to fill a vacancy left when Adam Hastings resigned. Bryant was elected to a full-term in 2019 in a five-way race in which he placed fourth. His seat is up again for election this year.
The City of Charlottesville has moved quickly to open up the process to replace the vacancy that will open on City Council when Sena Magill resigns next week. Magill announced she would be stepping down on Tuesday.
The application asks for basic information and then asks five questions.
How long have you resided in the City of Charlottesville?
Have you ever been elected or appointed as an Officer or Commissioner for the City of Charlottesville?
Please indicate why you are interested in serving on City Council.
Please indicate your areas of experience and knowledge that you see as important for consideration of your application for appointment.
Please list any relevant leadership skills or educational training.
The temperatures today will be in the mid-60’s but just over a week ago the air around Charlottesville remained below freezing much longer than usual. That put a lot of vulnerable people in danger and the City of Charlottesville made efforts to help.
“During the cold snap, we’re very thankful that we were able to work hand in hand with our nonprofit partners at the Haven as well as at PACEM to ensure that members of our community who found themselves unhoused were kept safe and warm,” said Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall.
At the tail end of a crowded Council meeting, Charlottesville City Councilor Sena Magill announced she will resign her seat effective January 11. Technically, Magill handed City Councilor Michael Payne a statement to read.
“This evening I have the regrettable news that I must step down from office,” Magill wrote. “The needs of my family have changed during my term in office and in the last few months it has become more and more apparent that I cannot meet the needs effectively of both.”
Magill’s last day will be January 11. Council will next meet in a joint session with the Planning Commission the night before.
Later on this evening, the Charlottesville City Council will have their first meeting of the year. One of the items is a report from interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers who will celebrate his one year anniversary on January 31. These written reports provide a glimpse into the operations of the city government and here are some of the highlights. (read the report)
Allyson Davies is serving as the city’s interim City Attorney following the sudden resignation of Lisa Robertson late last month. Davies has been with the city since 1999 according to a question that ended up being a Freedom of Information Act request. The position has been advertised. Rogers writes that he wants the position filled in three months.
The city has hired a labor relations manager to manage the new collective bargaining ordinance which went into effect on January 1. Petitions and elections will be conducted in February with the first bargaining period set to begin in March.
Seven firms have responded to a request for a firm to conduct the city’s next strategic plan. A selection will be made by the end of the month with the work set to begin in February. Strategic plans help local governments prioritize what staff members should be doing.
The pedestrian tunnel under the Belmont Bridge has reopened. A mid-block crossing at Graves Street will be permanently closed once a sidewalk between Graves and Levy is completed.
A temporary bus stop has opened on East High Street as a sidewalk is built in front of the AT&T building. The stop was recently moved to prevent impatient and potentially unstable motorists from using parking lots to pass stopped buses.