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The 434 Newsletter 

Keeping You Informed
Highlighting March 2021

The Rundown

Brief Updates
  • Voting to lower your taxes TWICE
  • Holding the School Board Accountable 
  • Budget Talks
  • VA GOP Convention, Lynchburg Sign Up Link
  • Don't Forget About The 02

Voting Against A Tax Increase...Twice

March 9th:

Lynchburg City Council rejected a motion by Councilmember Jeff Helgeson that I was proud to support.
The motion was simple: to set the Real Estate Property Tax Rate at no more than the Equalized Rate of $1.03 per $100 of assessed value. Anything more would be a tax increase.

Why tackle this issue so early on in the budget process? It is simple. The budget should reflect the prioritization of the taxpayer from the get-go.

Well, the majority on Council voted it down, 5-2.

Folks, now is not the time for a tax increase in Lynchburg, and the current majority on Council just indicated they are comfortable moving into a budget process that dramatically increases your taxes. I was elected to represent your interests to the government, not the other way around.

When I see Ward IV is responsible for nearly 30% of all of the residential changes in assessments (most of which are increases), it could be argued the district I represent on Council is bearing the brunt of the $4.75 million tax increase. It is my hope Council will equalize the Property Tax Rate and stand with those who sent us downtown.

Know you have an advocate in myself and my colleague Jeff Helgeson. Albeit concerning the path the majority has us on, I know we will continue to fight back on your behalf.

March 30th: 

Listen to my comments after a public hearing with nearly unanimous opposition to a tax increase in Lynchburg. While I was of the opinion Republicans on Council could not motion to equalize the tax rate again due to Council's rules, I was proud to again support Jeff Helgeson in his motion to equalize the tax rate. It was also an honor to present the results of my petition for those in opposition to the tax increase - 285 folks!

Council ultimately struck down the motion 5-2 citing their desire to consider the comments at the meeting and further understand the budget.

For me, it's pretty simple - I will advocate for the taxpayer and support policies that ensure no tax increase in Lynchburg.

I hope Council is true to their word and will revisit equalization of the real estate tax rate. Once I know when this discussion will come back, I will be sure to let you know.

Opposing A Tax Increase...For A Second Time

Holding The School Board Accountable 

Recently, in the same meeting where the Lynchburg City School Board voted down opening up schools to 5 days a week of in-person instruction, K-12, for those who want it, the Board approved a budget that incorporates a stipend and health insurance coverage for themselves.

There are many items in the proposed Lynchburg City Schools budget that I have concerns or thoughts on, but none more than this proposal.

In the very same breath of keeping schools from being open 5 days a week, the Board voted to grant themselves a ~$10,000 compensation package, and not one Board member addressed Council, the body that appoints them, to gauge our thoughts. After all we have learned about what is safe per the CDC with regards to education and LCS's refusal to align, coupled with the dramatic increase in failing grades and enrollment, one would think twice about moving forward with this package.

Friends, we as Councilmembers must hold the School Board accountable, and at our March 30th meeting, I communicated loud and clear my disapproval for such a presumptive policy. In addition, I will continue to advocate for 5 days a week of in-person instruction, K-12, for those who want it.

In the end, my message was this: If Board Members want my support for re-appointment, this vote for a compensation package, in conjunction with keeping schools from being open 5 days a week, must be reconsidered.

Watch this converstation and be informed. 

How Can I Get Involved?

Will you sign-up to automatically contribute just $5 a month to assist with promoting and advancing the conservative platform (continuing this newsletter, digital marketing for issues before Council etc.) within the City? A commitment of $5 a month over the course of a four-year term comes out to over $250, putting the conservative platform in a strong position to be successful. 

Join us, today.
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Republican Party of Virginia - May 8 Convention

Join me in participating in the 2021 Republican Party of Virginia Convention for nominating our candidate for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General! It's time for a change in Richmond, and this is the first step.

In order to participate, you must sign up through the Lynchburg Republican City Committee to be a delegate to the convention. The deadline to submit this form is 8:00 PM EDT on Monday, April 19, 2021 (Lynchburg residents only).

Here is the link. The Convention is May 8th.

Follow me on my Facebook and Twitter Page
to continue to stay informed.
 
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Putting Emphasis On Public Safety Staffing & Pay

Council should consider adding extra Firefighters and Police Officers to the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

I asked for Council to be given specific data regarding the financial investment for one new Firefighter and Police Officer. We have been told in the past we need 26 additional Police Officers and at least 20 Firefighters, and I believe Council should take bold steps to close that gap. The proposed budget does add a few new Firefighters, but no net-new police officers, nor does it address the severe compression issues in these departments. This is a critical piece for our public safety personnel, as depleted staffing levels and low pay are hampering the development of the departments. Our past weekend is proof that we need more law enforcement in the City. It's only March and Lynchburg has crossed last year homicide numbers.

At our March 9th meeting, I had asked for similar data to address compression from the Fire Chief but felt the need to broaden the scope of research to include the Police Department as well.

Following my comments from our March 23rd meeting, I followed up via email to also request data on what options might be considered to address severe compression issues for our public safety personnel.

The Commonwealth recently passed increases to State Police, as well as raises to Sheriffs Departments. Other localities are adopting pay scales for Fire/EMS departments. If Lynchburg wants to stay competitive in this market, we must be proactive.

I will continue to prioritize the safety of our City, and the folks wearing the uniform.

Don't Forget About the 02

Oftentimes, when it comes to development and infrastructure, Council's discussions seem to have a laser focus on Downtown and the adjacent or nearby neighborhoods. In this case, the topic was about parks.

With all of the development on Timberlake Road in the last 10-15 years, show me public green space or a park south of Heritage Park. Spoiler, there isn't one. I wanted to remind my colleagues to not lose sight of the southern half of town. And this applies to a variety of topics - public safety coverage, protecting neighborhoods, updating infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, or water/sewer connections, etc.

It is my hope, as the development in the Timberlake corridor and the surrounding area continues, we keep front of mind the citizens in Wyndhurst, Cornerstone, Old Graves Mill, Windsor Hills etc., and ensure they are not forgotten.

Community Spotlight

I was able to spend some time out at the White Rock Cemetery and assist the Lynchburg Sheriff's Office, students from the
Liberty University Helms School of Government, and dedicated neighbors continue to clear this historic ground. White Rock Cemetery is the oldest African American Cemetery in the City and contains so much history.

Over time, it became overgrown and unkept with dead trees, brush, leaves, etc. The noble work these volunteers have put into this project is nothing short of honorable. Every marker has a piece of Lynchburg history associated with it. Some headstones from a time of bondage, others signifying patriots serving their country. Walking the cemetery is truly humbling and sobering.
We must never forget our past and the beauty of our City, which is why this work is so important.

The pictures in this video show all of the progress that has been made in the past few months, but there is still a lot of work to do. Truthfully, there is a need for an army of volunteers and a tree service to come in and finish the job. If you have time on an upcoming Saturday, I challenge you to come help out.

I hope to see you there! Here is some more info.

Chris in the News

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you on Lynchburg City Council as the representative from Ward IV.

Best,



Chris Faraldi, M.A.
Ward IV Representative
Lynchburg City Council
www.ChrisFaraldi.com
(434) 544-1774
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(434) 544-1774 || Hello@ChrisFaraldi.com

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