By Dan McDermott
WFCReport.com

A new mayor will lead Strasburg, Virginia town council meetings soon.

Brandy Hawkins Boies has unseated Strasburg Mayor Richard Orndorff, Jr. in a four-way race.

In unofficial results, Boies had 44% of the votes. In second place was Donald Le Vine with 36%. Incumbent mayor Rich Orndorff, Jr. came in third with 10%. In fourth place was Ray Lough with 10%.

Voters also filled four seats on town council Tuesday.

Boies posted a series of questions and answers on her facebook page May 12:

Where do you stand on putting a water tower in the Crystal Hill development?

I do not have enough information about the project to know where I stand personally. I would like to better understand the “why” and weigh the pros and cons and gather input from citizens.

Do you plan on keeping the current town manager and police chief?

I plan to follow the town’s process for reappointment considerations. This is not the mayor’s sole decision. It is a process that includes the council.

Should town council members or staff publicly share e-mail correspondence received from private citizens, businesses, or organizations?

I plan to follow all FOIA laws regarding what is required to be shared and plan to remain transparent to citizens so that they are aware of what will or could be shared.

Should council meetings be live-streamed?

This would be a great way to expand awareness and communication, but the ultimate decision would be up to the council.

How can the government inform the public about meetings, decisions, issues, etc.?

I addressed some of this in my example above. I would also like to provide monthly updates in video format and in the water bill from each department. There is a lot of great information provided each month in council meetings that all citizens should hear.

How can Strasburg attract businesses?

Businesses will be attracted to Strasburg as we strengthen positive community involvement and pride, support for current businesses, and strive to create the infrastructure that is attractive to industry. Strasburg has a lot of great “selling” points. Our valley is one of the prettiest places to live, our town is a great place to raise a family, outdoor recreation opportunities are endless, and we have convenient access to interstates and various ports. What are your thoughts about the possibility of a tax increase? No one likes taxes. However, taxes pay for essential services that we cannot live without. Some taxes cover non-essential expenses but make a positive difference in our way of life and how we attract businesses. We are not exactly sure how this pandemic is going to affect the budget, but we do know that cuts are likely. The question is, what can we afford to cut? What can we not afford to cut? Once we cut the non-essential, is the budget balanced? If so, great! If not, do we cut essential services, or do we raise taxes? This is NOT going to be easy, and everyone is going to have a different opinion regarding what is “essential” and “non-essential” to them personally. We are going to have to come together as a community to determine what is best for our town.

Where do they stand on the murals?

I have my favorites and not so favorites. My favorite is the girl on the side of Pot town Organics. Her eyes are stunning, and I am amazed at the artistic talent that it takes to create something with such detail and beauty. I love that our town embraces art, but if a similar project presents itself in Strasburg, I plan to ensure that we all work together to improve communication and gain feedback from as many citizens as possible so that the project can be something that we can all get behind and support. Do you support connecting/opening the road between Madison Heights and Crystal Hill? I live at the bottom of Madison Heights, so traffic and safety issues concern me. I would like to hear all the pros, cons, and citizen thoughts before a decision is made.

editor@warrencountyreport.com

Strasburg resident and candidate for Mayor Donald Le Vine is a retired PhD in Physics. He spent decades as a government researcher including a stint in South Africa working in information technology for prison systems after the presidency of Nelson Mandela. He says his focus is integrity, community and trust in local government.
Rich Orndorff, Jr. ran for re-election as Mayor of Strasburg. In addition to 7 years as mayor, he served on town council for 16 years. He says a big priority for the town government is the budget post-COVID-19. “There were already shortfalls,” he said. Orndorff said the LSC printing plant closure is another event impacting the town. “About 70-75 of the employees live in town. In addition to the loss of jobs, the town receives machinery and tools tax and they were a big water user,” he said.

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