Christiansburg has always been my home. I served 21 years in the military. Activate and reserves [retired sergeant first class]. I served 36 years in law enforcement and retired as a captain. I am a life member of Christiansburg Rescue. I am a member of Asbury United Methodist Church. In 2014, I was appointed to Christiansburg Town Council. In 2015, I was elected to Town Council. I have a BS degree in management of human resources.
I would like to continue working on improving the looks on the older buildings in the community as well as unkempt properties. I would work closely with the Central Business Committee. I would reach out to building and property owners to encourage them to work on improving the looks of their property as well as apply for any grants offered by the town. I would listen and talk with people in the community about their concerns.
There is not a 100% way to assure orderly and well-planned growth. I feel the best thing I could do is listen to both sides as I have always done. I know as Town Council, we cannot please everyone. When I vote on an item I do what I feel is best for the community. The biggest thing I can do is listen to others' concerns.
First of all, I would be open-minded and listen to concerns of the community. I would look into the cost of the services. If possible, I would like for the town to get bids on the service which they did not provide. I feel it's very important to get feedback from everyone. After getting feedback, I would make the choice that I feel best meets the needs of the community.
One of the first things to do is get the average cost of living in Christiansburg and then get information on the average income of families wishing to live in Christiansburg. This could be done by working with real estate agents or other organizations who work with families looking for housing. The town could work with developers to try to get them to have some apartments or homes that would meet the needs of different income levels.
Harry Collins is a fiscal conservative. A few of his accomplishments are: he initiated the silent prayer before every meeting called the Moment of Reflection; he initiated the demolition program to tear down dilapidated housing; he is committee chairman for the PPEA for the proposed Town Park; and he helped write the Code for Council communicating with the town attorneys.
My #1 Priority for Christiansburg is managing the town in a conservative manner so we will NOT have to raise real estate or personal property taxes. There are many challenges ahead such as the infrastructure, new or improved roads, and the town's proposed park, but careful and smart money management will allow us to be progressive without having to break the bank! Christiansburg is in a great financial situation at the present time, and I plan on keeping it that way!
A boom in residential and commercial development is a great thing if you have planned well for your town. My vision for Christiansburg is simple: I care about Christiansburg and the people who live here. I want to help make Christiansburg a leader so other towns and cities will say - “Let’s do it like Christiansburg!” This has already started happening. Having helped write the town's comprehensive plan has given me great insight into the planning for future years. This Plan creates a vision for the next 20 to 30 years! Christiansburg has planned well, and new sewer lines, new storm water lines, and new water lines are being installed at the present time. Christiansburg has many projects being undertaken at this time. Some people are complaining about the road construction and the like, but these infrastructure lines are being installed because they are very old and need attention now! In planning for these upgrades, the Town applied for and obtained grants to pay for a lot of these improvements. For instance, the town received four bids for the North Franklin Corridor Improvements and the winning bid was $8.5 million. The total budget from Smartscale Funding from VDOT covers nearly the entire project. The Town’s portion is only $12,968.
Citizens of Christiansburg should and do expect a high level of public services. This is what makes Christiansburg a great place to live! It’s Town Council’s job to ensure the Town provides these services at a reasonable cost, not a cost that burdens the citizens. This process starts with the development of the fiscal year budget. The budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 is $60,533,389. The budget process begins with each department submitting their funding requests for their operations, as well as equipment, vehicle needs and major capital projects. This budget was approved by Town Council on June 25, 2019, ONLY AFTER Town Council had sent it back twice for reductions. A prime example of the citizens wanting a public service and Town Council reacting is recycling. The town just finished its first year providing curbside recycling collection. Over this past year, this service has doubled the tonnage of recycling collected by the Town and decreased solid waste by 300 tons.
One of the ways to ensure families can afford to live in Christiansburg, as mentioned in Question # 1, is NOT to raise the real estate or personal property taxes. Since I have been on Town Council, we have NOT raised these taxes at all. I want to keep it that way! I am a fiscal conservative and stress the “Save a Buck” mentality in all of my thinking. To take this one step further, I plan on proposing a rate freeze on real estate and personal property taxes for people 65 years of age and older.
Johana Hicks has been a local town resident for over 18 years and a business owner. She prides herself on local town businesses with the emphasis on helping people. She always puts an effort into doing things right and working for the best of people.
I believe that small business makes a huge impact in our communities. I want to bring my experiences of business, money management, and love for the community to help with the ability for growth for all town businesses, small and large. I want to make our town safe and prosperous. At the same time I'm bringing a fair mind for treatment of all businesses.
Help improve the town budget. Fiscal responsibility joined with good stewardship to save money and not overspend. We cannot continue to operate this way for the long-term health of the town. The priority for Christiansburg is to become a community of entrepreneurs to restart the tradition of Christiansburg. It is time to restructure the town's finances to allow the residents and businesses to thrive. Make better use of the town's assets to promote a local culture of community.
Working with special committees and groups to put in checks and balances for proper planning plus assure orderly growth. The boom in residential development has led to a strain on the budget. There must be controls to not force and make up costs elsewhere, and residential services need to be aligned to those who use them. Planned growth is a must and cost of town services need to be considered.
Strategic planning to not overspend the budget. Conservative responsibility to not waste money. Tax dollars to stay within our local community. Provide as many services as possible within a balanced budget.
Really, this is not in the realm of the Town Council's control. Real estate values and costs of construction are the issue. The town could, however, less the burden through the elimination of redundant costs in building codes, costs of water retention and the said rules and other area of construction. Keep taxes within conservative and affordable range.
Deveron Milne is a 1986 graduate of West Virginia University with a B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing). He developed a professional career in Information Technology while serving the community in a volunteer capacity as a pre-hospital emergency healthcare provider (12-year paramedic for Christiansburg Rescue). Milne and his wife, Lynn Baluh, have lived in their Christiansburg home for the past 19 years. Milne lived in Blacksburg for the 13 years prior.
To commit the town's limited resources (financial and otherwise) in the most appropriate manner. To ensure well thought through actions consistent with our long-term planning. Christiansburg residents enjoy quiet, safe, close-knit communities and neighborhoods with access to natural surroundings, healthcare, and employment opportunities. We need to take small steps toward a creative solution to preserve the positive overall image of Christiansburg. One way is to encourage increased responsibility for upkeep and maintenance of privately-owned property.
We need to continue to promote development of under-utilized properties in town. But in doing so, we must also understand the increased demand this creates for town services and supporting roads. Christiansburg has a long history of approving conditional use permits for activities reaching beyond the original zoning. Fortunately, the Planning Commission provides the venue for thorough review to ensure a well-informed decision by town council.
Good stewardship of public monies is the underlying expectation of any government. A flexible procurement approach where the project demands are adjusted to provide cost containment may help in some cases. We all need to appreciate that long-term investment in infrastructure doesn't always come with immediate results and doesn't happen overnight. For example: the introduction of uniform garbage bins throughout town was not welcomed by all, but thanks to a lot of research and planning by the town, ultimately resulted in a reduction of exposure to work-related hazards for employees. Identification of opportunities for consumption-based billing (e.g.: household recycling) allows new services to be introduced with minimal cost to the town.
Christiansburg has become home to those working in Blacksburg, Radford, and Roanoke. Families wanting to live in Christiansburg are finding the available supply is quickly consumed with some properties selling within a day or two of listing. So long as the town remains an attractive place to live then we are only going to see a continued increase in demand, which ultimately leads to increased prices. Given Christiansburg's limited remaining land available for development, the only way to increasing housing supply is to build vertically. I'm not so sure Christiansburg is ready for high-rise housing complexes.
Henry D. Showalter - I am a native of Christiansburg and raised my family here. I’m a lifelong member of the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church, work in finance and honorably served in the Army Reserves. In addition to serving on Town Council, I volunteer as a coach for the Christiansburg Soccer Club and Junior Achievement - the largest nonprofit youth economic education organization in the world.
Keeping the citizens informed, town hall transparent, and continuing to open lines of communication between residents and council/staff. We have come a long way with opening up government since my first election. Back then, and not so long ago, the town had no true Web presence. If someone wanted to know what was going on within the town, they had to go to Town Hall. Now, we have an informative and interactive Web page, advanced media technology in our facilities, a social media presence, and much more. If anyone wants information or to input their opinion, there are multiple convenient instruments available to them, but we must stay diligent to continue to evolve making it easier for our citizens to get information and contribute theirs.
I believe our town is on the threshold of another population increase, which could feed a high-density housing surge. Our current residential codes can sustain this with some tweaking, but I am concerned about commercial sprawl. We all witnessed the emptying of large commercial buildings, such as Market Place and Kmart, which were most likely due to online shopping. Though each of these sites has recently changed ownership and is being revitalized through that ownership, online shopping will not go away. We can look into shifting away from true outdoor retail malls by encouraging a more mixed use development for our undeveloped commercial properties. Note that Town Council and staff have been proactive with large commercial revitalization by allowing easier and safer access to several large business centers such as the Market Place and Gateway Plaza.
Christiansburg has always provided quality services at a reasonable price to our residents. Several good examples are the most recent water authority improvement, as well as the implementation of curbside recycling. We [Council] discussed, at length, an annual tier adjustment to the water utility rate instead of an all-at-once increase to assist our residents. Plus, we review our services and cost regularly.
The curbside recycling program was a huge success with our citizens. Though it took some time to implement, we were able to start the program for all residential trash participants at a reasonable monthly rate. Our recyclables have exceeded expectations, which decreases solid waste in our regional landfill.
Housing affordability is a growing concern in our area. What can the Town Council do to assure that families can afford to live in Christiansburg?
Christiansburg has always provided affordable housing to new and existing homebuyers along with a strong diverse rental base. Our town has a variety of housing options for new homebuyers, young professionals, families and seniors. I will continue to support this.
Though we cannot direct federal and state building codes directly, through staff we can continue to work with contractors and homeowners so their projects meet those safety guidelines, which protect and increase our resident’s quality of life.