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Chatham Town Council Responses

2023 Chatham Town Council Responses to Public Questions

The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce asked the public to submit questions for candidates running for Chatham Town Council. The responses listed below came directly from the candidates and have not been altered or revised in any way.

1. What are your qualifications for Chatham Town Council, and what issue or policy position would best define the difference(s) between you and your opponents?

Powell: I'm young, new frech ideas, good with negotation. If given the chance I'd like to bring new business to our town. I want to see our town flourish. I'm open minded and more than willing to listen to our townspeople along with their wants and needs.

Hurt: First, I agree with my opponent Crystal Powell’s stated positions, and I admire her for being willing to serve. The biggest difference between us is about 50 years. As for my qualifications, I want to bring a perspective to Town Council that is missing. Unfortunately, no Main Street retail merchant currently serves on Town Council. As a Main Street business owner (Shadetree Rare Books), I hope to bring a perspective to our town government that fully includes business owners.

2. What are the 3 top qualities of a highly effective town council?

Powell: I believe some of the top qualities of an effetive town council should be good comminucation skills, knowledge of our town and able to work with and negotiate in situtions where it is needed. Work well together and have compassion to and with the needs of our townspeople.

A) First, I want to salute the current Town Council for its prudent approach in governing our town. The budget is balanced and long-term infrastructure improvements are in the works. Smaller projects are being systematically addressed in keeping with budgetary restraints. This Council has exhibited a consistently responsible approach to handling our money, and we are fortunate that Chatham’s long history of active volunteers continues undiminished.

B) Town Council is ultimately responsible for managing every aspect of our town’s government—including managing the town’s infrastructure, maintaining the town’s peace and tranquility, and levying taxes and fees. In every way, this should be done with the utmost respect for all the citizens who, by their votes, have entrusted Council members to serve them.

C) The council should keep in mind that the quality of life in our town rises and falls on the economic energy and tax revenues from our businesses. What is good for business is good for the town and its residents. When tax revenues from businesses decline, the shortfall must be made up with increases in real estate taxes and utility fees.

3. What is your position and strategy for future revitalization efforts for Chatham’s Main Street and how will you build consensus with stakeholders?

Powell: Working with other organazations for new ideas and plans in town and out- listening and working with our townspeople. Always having an open door policy.

The town has more than 20 active businesses, all of which would benefit significantly by a greater flow of visitors to town, especially from travelers in the 14,000 vehicles whizzing by us on the by-pass every day. There is no dedicated effort being made to attract those potential visitors. Town Council has responded affirmatively to a proposal I submitted along these lines, and if elected I hope to help Council follow through on it. Similarly important is the stated commitment of the Davenport Family Trust to sponsor studies to assess Chatham’s long-term prospects and how to achieve them.

4. What are your three overall priorities for the town of Chatham that, in a perfect world, you would accomplish during your time in office? Why are these the most important?

Powell: Bringing new business to town, helping the new business and current succeed. Having and planning more community/ family activites for all ages during the year. I want to see the town flourish and be a positive reprensation for our town.

A) As a long-time citizen of the town who was born and raised here, I believe there can be a stronger connection between Town Council and residents. I would like to see stronger coverage of Council business by the Star-Tribune.

B) Let me offer an example of what Council should not do: In the town’s current quarterly bills for water, sewer and garbage, there is no explanation for the hike in fees for these services. In my view, regardless of whether the issue had been publicized earlier, residents deserve the courtesy of being directly informed about any increase in fees when they open the envelope. The only other information accompanying the bills was a sharply worded statement about the rules on payment and non-payment of these fees. The tone of the letter was not in keeping with what I think should be the cordial relationship between the elected Council and the townspeople.

C) In general, I think the town council can do a better job of going the extra mile to engage courteously with our residents. After all, it is THEIR town, and council is elected to look out for the interests of the residents. If I am elected, I will ask the editor of the Star-Tribune to allow me to write a regular column aimed at giving citizens a better view of what their town council is doing.