The issue of staggered terms was first proposed by Supervisor Tracy Pyles from the Pastures District of Augusta. Currently, the supervisors serve a 4 year term, this wouldn't change. The only thing that would change is instead of the whole board being elected every four years, half would be elected every two years. This is a great idea because it would make the supervisors accountable to the public every 2 years instead of every 4.
I have heard a number of arguments against the staggered terms from the board members at their last work session meeting. The first argument is cost, the supervisor in question said that it would add cost to the county having more frequent elections. Obviously, the supervisor is unaware that all of the Commonwealth of Virginia, including Augusta County, go to the polls every November for elections. Adding a board of supervisor ballot would not add any significant cost.
The second argument was impact on business, the supervisor who made this comment must not have been aware that Staunton and Waynesboro already have staggered terms in place, along with many of the other counties in Virginia, and businesses haven't made a fuss about it in those counties or cities. Actually, Waynesboro's business is flourishing quite well, look at the Target shopping area.
The third argument was that half the board would have to run during the county assessment process, just for that I fully support staggered terms. The board has to realize they are responsible to the people they represent and what better way to remind them of that than to make them campaign on it. I can't help but think that if we had staggered terms during our last real estate assessment process perhaps things would have gone differently and more scrutiny would have been applied to the process to assure greater accuracy.
The Board of Supervisors have already tabled this issue once making it harder for the people of Augusta to influence their government, and they most likely will try again today. Please, if you are able, make an effort to be at the Government Center at 1:30pm and show the supervisors that you want your representation back.