Friday, November 25, 2011
Councilor Fred Howe critical of debt increases for new court facility, saying residents need to demand fiscal responsibility from city leaders.
Friday, November 25, 2011
I would like to commend Fredericksburg Patch Editor Michael Theis for laying out the facts associated with the city debt increases with the proposed courts project that I and two other City Council members have consistently voted against. The tax increase, which represents approximately 10 percent for this project alone, doesn't even account for the many needs of the city and the subsequent tax increases which will follow within the next two years. The next increase will be the real estate reassessment followed by the next wave of capital improvement projects and state budget shifts back to the city. I am projecting based on what we have identified to date that the city tax rate will need to increase 20-25 percent in the next two to three …
Thursday, November 3, 2011
The Fredericksburg City Council, meeting on election night, will consider three measures necessary to move forward with building a new downtown court facility and vote on a host of business incentives.
The Fredericksburg City Council will tackle a host of big items at it's regular meeting on November 8. Perhaps none are bigger than the $38.7 million proposal to build a new court facility in downtown Fredericksburg. The City Council will entertain three seperate items key to moving forward with the project. First, they will hold a public hearing on the issuance of $38.7 million in bonds to fund the program. Later in the meeting, they will also likely hold the first vote to approve a contract with First Choice Public-Private Partners to develop the new court facility. They will also likely vote on a measure approving the purchase of 707 Princess Anne Street to make way for the new building. The agenda will likely see city officials taking …
A petition is being circulated asking for a referendum vote on whether or not to build a new courthouse in Fredericksburg, but city and state laws don't allow for such a vote.
Though he knows it can't succeed as the laws are currently written, Ward 3 Fredericksburg City Councilor Fred Howe is supporting a petition drive to collect signatures asking that an impending decision on building a new $35.7 million downtown court facility be put to a public referendum vote. In an email sent to Ward 1 City Councilor Brad Ellis and Planning Commissioner Sean Lawrence, Howe asks the two to collect signatures on a blank petition which declares that the signatories "request the city hold a referendum (binding or not) on the question of indebting us citizens prior to entering into any contract or bond issues for construction of a new courthouse." So far, the petition has collected only a handful of signatures, though it's hard…
Friday, January 14, 2011
City Council may have had an illegal meeting Tuesday, but that oversight isn't nearly as juicy as the politics being played in Fredericksburg over the new courthouse project
City Council’s unusual meeting Tuesday night in the confines of Circuit Court Judge Gordon F. Willis’ courthouse was indeed illegal when the law is liberally construed as state code says it should be. A public governing body, such as City Council, cannot prohibit cameras, recording devices, laptops, cell phones and video cameras from being used at a public meeting. But on Tuesday night, deputies would not let anyone bring in any of these electrical devices into the courtroom. Fredericksburg Patch Editor Michael Theis had to lock up his laptop and he covered the meeting the old fashion way. This misstep of the law did not prevent the press from reporting on this meeting. Breaking the Freedom of Information Act is no laughing matter. …