Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Senior Citizens in Culpeper Play a Role in Economic Development

Pew Research estimates that baby boomers are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day. These numbers are staggering, yet they point us to a very real economic opportunity in Culpeper. Our town's history runs deep in the fabric of the nation and we should be leveraging our community as not only a tourism hub for seniors, but also a great place to retire. Think of all the industries that cater to senior citizens from charter buses, health services, senior housing, recreation and more.

Even though our primary efforts on economic development should be on light industrial, tech and small business, there is a large segment of the economy devoted to senior living. It is incumbent upon us to factor our senior citizens into our communities economic development plan.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Culpeper Local Candidates Forum

Today the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce held a local candidates forum at Germanna Community College. The event highlighted all 7 candidates running for town council and both candidates running for mayor. All of the candidates did a good job presenting their points of view. It was very evident how much passion each candidate had for the town. The forum will be available for the public to view on the Culpeper Media Network. I look forward to future forums in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Say Yes to a Reasonable Budget and No to Tax Increases in Culpeper

In March of last year the council voted to increase our meals tax. The prevailing thought behind the meals tax hike was to take pressure off of  real-estate taxes in the future. Well the future has arrived and we are starring down the barrel of a 2% increase in real-estate taxes, followed with increases in trash, water, sewer and electricity. And to top it off, the town of Culpeper is proposing a fourth straight year of 8% spending increases in the town budget. At the last council budget meeting I attended, the question was asked, "Why do we keep seeing these kinds of increases in the town budget?" This is a good question, which needs an answer.

Here are some thoughts on how to answer the question:

1.) Our town needs to take all tax & fee increases off the table before we can have a discussion about spending increases. That means NO new taxes. 

2.) Our town needs conduct performance audits in every department to determine efficiency & effectiveness. Performance audits will allow the taxpayers to see how the money is spent and what improvements to service can be made to save money.

The bottom line is this.....We don't have a tax problem, we have a spending problem. If we don't control our spending we will place our residents and businesses in a compromising position of never ending tax and fee increases. From what I hear when knocking on doors, people cannot afford to keep pace with the taxes and fees of local government. It's time to look for answers not more taxes.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Culpeper is for Family

 One of the things I love most about Culpeper is the importance of family. There are tons of family activities available almost every month. Last week I had the privilege of escorting my daughters to the American Heritage Girls Father Daughter Ball. We had a great time full of dance, food and laughs. My daughters took turns with me on the dance floor and showed me their latest dance moves.

Their ballet classes are really paying off but it's too bad their daddy has two left feet.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Helping the Homeless in Culpeper

Recently I have been hosting a series of home socials around town. One issue that continues to find its way into our conversations is homelessness. I have been a volunteer for the Culpeper Heating Shelter for the last couple of years, so I have witnessed the need for shelter that exists in our community. The churches in-charge of running the shelter are an efficient and effective group of people at addressing the issue. However, they are limited in their effectiveness because they are using temporary facilities to fulfill their mission.

While the town government is strapped for money and can't afford to adequately address the issue, it's clear the town can provide leadership in helping the homeless.

Here are a couple of ways this can be achieved: 1.) The town can work with non-profits and churches to find a building (ex. the old police station) to house the homeless until a long-term location can be established.2.) The town can waive any fees or taxes that may be associated with running a homeless shelter.

There are a lot of compassionate people in our town who are giving their time and money to care for the homeless. We will be able to meet this challenge if we can work together.