Dredging advocate Bob Fenwick announced today that he will run for City Council as an Independent, just as he did in 2009. As expected, the water debate is central to Fenwick’s campaign, but no topic was off limits.
“Three members of City Council are determined to commit the citizens of Charlottesville to hundreds of million of dollars of lost city assets and higher water and sewer rates unnecessarily,” he told reporters this morning. “The City of Charlottesville doesn’t need a new dam. The County of Albemarle doesn’t need a new dam particularly when it’s paid for by the taxpayers of Charlottesville.”
In February, after much public and private discussion, City Council approved a new Ragged Mountain dam, part of the 2006 community water supply plan. Councilor Kristin Szakos broke a 2-2 vote tie in favor of a new dam. (Dave Norris and Holly Edwards voted against).
Fenwick, who believes dredging is still the best solution, was disappointed in Szakos’ decision. “I thought she’d be more down to earth in what she supported,” he tells C-VILLE.
More after the photo.
City and county rapport, and its underlying tensions, is something Fenwick says needs to be worked out, but not “on the backs of city taxpayers and homeowners.” In addition to the new dam and spillway, Fenwick adds the Meadow Creek Parkway and the planned Woolen Mills sewage pumping station as projects that will harm the city and its citizens.
â€¨“It’s my belief that elected representatives should represent and protect what the city has,” he says. “No Meadow Creek Parkway, no new Ragged Mountain dam and reservoir, no new pumping station in Woolen Mills and preserve McIntire Park.”
According to Fenwick, the city is not business friendly. If elected, he will “push for a truly business friendly City Council,” and vows to “insist” on reviewing the current real estate reassessment process, which he calls “no less than a back door tax increase.” He argues that the increase in real estate assessments does not represent the current struggling real estate market.
Fenwick now joins Democrat Councilor Satyendra Huja and Independent Scott Bandy both running for the three open seats on Council. Democratic candidates will battle it out for the nomination in an unassembled caucus in August at Burley Middle School. Councilors David Brown and Edwards have announced that they will not seek re-election.
“We are really losing an asset in Holly,” says Fenwick. “She is one of the smartest people to have been on City Council in a long, long time. She really has the interest of the city at heart.”
Fenwick acknowledges that 2009, in which he received 20 percent of the votes but lost to Szakos and Norris, was a learning process and expects this campaign to be challenging. “I’ve got a mountain to climb,” he says.