VACo 2005 Legislative Proposal





Legislative Proposals to Submit to VACo




Mr. Tucker, Ms. White, Ms. Allshouse, Mr. Blount







July 7, 2004


ACTION:                                INFORMATION:   



  ACTION:                             INFORMATION:  X







Ms. White




The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) has requested the County submit legislative proposals to be considered for inclusion in VACo's 2005 Legislative Program. The following proposals are submitted for the Board's consideration and will be transmitted to VACo for discussion in their summer steering committee sessions. 




Protect the County's Natural, Scenic and Historic Resources, Provide Effective and Efficient County services to the public in a courteous and equitable manner




Staff proposes that VACo include the following items in their 2005 legislative program.  The first nine items are items the County submitted last year.  The last four items are new items for VACo’s consideration this year:


*           Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Permit Application Fees.  Request budget amendment to require DEQ to reduce the permit application fees associated with stormwater management and stream mitigation projects, which have been drastically increased in the last year.  Due to recent changes in Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES), municipal separate storm system permit requirements, localities now have much of the responsibility for protection of streams and rivers. DEQ’s recent fee increases adversely impact localities abilities to adopt regional stormwater management programs or to undertake projects needed for stream protection.


*           Amend Va. Code section 15.2-1507 pertaining to the composition of panel hearings – Request an amendment to authorize localities to utilize an administrative hearing officer in lieu of the 3-member panel in all cases, similar to the method established for state employee grievances in Va. Code Section 2.2-3005. This should help ensure consistency in applying policies. 


*           Transient Occupancy Tax  - Retain the flexibility currently available in transient occupancy tax legislation so that these funds can continue to be used to support the protection of valuable open-space and resources of historical, cultural, ecological and scenic value that attract tourism. 


*           Growth Management - Request legislation to provide high-growth jurisdictions with growth management tools such as adequate public facilities ordinances and impact fees, and provide statewide funding for open space and natural resources, such as the Purchase of Development Rights program for localities that establish and locally fund such a program.


*          Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) - Request the state fully fund CSA mandates including obligations

            for administrative overhead and children, both of which have been shifted to localities in recent years.


*           Scenic Protection and Tourist Enhancement - Request enabling legislation to provide for a scenic protection and tourist enhancement overlay district. As the County pursues options to protect the visual quality of land as an aesthetic and economic resource, this legislation would provide localities with a method to ensure full consideration of visual resources and scenic areas when the County or State makes land use decisions in designated areas.


*           Passenger Rail Service - The County continues its support for and endorses the provision of passenger rail service from Bristol, VA to the Richmond, VA and Washington, DC areas with links to communities along the way.


*           Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program – Request the state take advantage of the federal reauthorization of TANF by streamlining eligibility requirements and providing maximum flexibility to localities so that counties can implement the TANF program that best meets local needs.


*           Photo-monitoring systems for traffic signal enforcement - Continue to support legislation authorizing all localities to use photo-monitoring systems for traffic signal enforcement.


*           Virginia Retirement System (VRS) - Request the state undertake long term planning in establishing VRS rates so that localities are not burdened with significant year-to-year rate changes.


*           Transportation Funding – Request the state increase funding for transportation so that the present and future transportation needs of the state can be achieved.


*           Constitutional Officers – Request the current division between state and local governments regarding duties and funding for Constitutional Offices remain intact.


*           Regulation of Panhandlers – Request the state grant all counties the same authorization that Henrico and Arlington counties were granted by special legislation in 1980 and that cities have generally in the regulation of panhandlers in public rights of way.


VACo plans to complete the first drafts of their 2005 Legislative Program by mid-August. Should the County identify additional legislative issues it would like to have considered, additional proposals can be submitted to VACo later in the summer or in the fall.  VACo's Legislative Program and Policy Statements will not be finalized until November 2004.




This information is provided for the Board's review and comment prior to communicating our legislative proposals to VACo.


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