Public Comments for: HB173 - Martinsville, City of; approval of voters before city can revert to town status, sunset provision.
Last Name: Palmer Locality: Henry County

I would like to ask that this bill moves forward. This is the absolute best and most fair way to handle reversion, let the residents of the city of Martinsville have a voice. Even though I am resident of Henry County I also own real estate in the City of Martinsville and one thing I have determined is reversion is cost me more money in the city and county, higher taxes means less jobs. Let’s give the residents of the City of Martinsville have a voice in this process, please move this bill forward.

Last Name: Tim Hall Organization: County Administrator for Henry County, VA Locality: Collinsville

Good morning Chairman Hodges and members of the committee. I am Tim Hall, Henry County Administrator, and I thank you for receiving my comments. I speak representing the Henry County Board of Supervisors. Henry County is the locality that would absorb the town of Martinsville and all the requirements that would come with that. Our Board of Supervisors wants you to know that it is in favor of HB 173 and requests that you approve it today. This is really a simple question – should the residents of the City of Martinsville have a say in the future of their locality? Once a city reverts there is no going back; the gravity of that decision should not be made by a 5-person City Council, of whom only 4 have consistently voted in favor of reversion. Approximately 14,000 people reside in the City of Martinsville; four people should not be allowed to make that decision themselves, at the exclusion of the others. The decision to revert will have a generational effect on those 14,000 residents; at least give them the opportunity to decide their own fate.

Last Name: Easley Locality: Martinsville City

HB173 is not a bill against reversion. It is a bill allowing Martinsville residents a voice through the ballot in determining a very permanent status in their form of government. There are 17 references in Code of Va 15.2 that require a referendum before you can make a change in local government: if a town wants to become a city; if you want to abolish a constitutional office; if a city and town want to consolidate. However, only a majority of members of a city council can request a change from a town to a city. And there is no going back once a three-judge panel enters the order affirming the request and city council accepts the decision. In order to have a successful marriage of the city and county to a subordinate town within the county, you have to have buy-in from the residents of both localities. You need to bring the schools boards to the table to make decisions that are in the best interest of the kids, because they are the subject matter experts, and state statutes separate from the reversion statutes dictate how you "shall" consolidate schools. The Commission on Local Government suggested both localities should work harder to encourage community involvement and discussion in the matter going forward. Two separate organizations in the past week have publicly stated that residents of both localities do not feel they are heard by their local government. When you feel you aren't being heard to don't bother to engage because your government is going to do whatever it wants. These are the things I hear from the constituents that I serve as an elected official. We have the opportunity to pause and do a reversion right if it is what ALL of the residents want rather than rushing to the courthouse for a shotgun wedding that will likely result in nothing but resentment and bad feelings among both localities. "Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees; and both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people." -- Henry Clay Please vote "yes" on HB173 so we can actually find out what the people want rather than assuming we know best.

Last Name: Martin Locality: Henry

Any decision such as reversion should include giving every citizen a vote on it. This affects every person and every business. Disparaging any legally eligible voter the opportunity to cast a vote on something of this magnitude is simply wrong. I ask that you please give positive consideration of this bill. Thank you.

Last Name: Phillips Locality: Henry County

I ask this committee to please vote "Yes" on Delegate Marshalls bill. It is undeniable that allowing the City of Martinsville's citizenry the opportunity to decide their own cities fate is the most equitable, the most transparent and the most democratic way to finalize the reversion process one way or the other. COVID, on top of all the other devastating effects it has had on our community, also unfortunately allowed the city a readily available and easily abused excuse for a long list of cancelled, rescheduled and last-minute meetings. That allowed them to move this process forward, sadly with little to no public input. I attended and spoke at the CLG hearing held in Martinsville regarding reversion. The overwhelming feedback that was heard in that comment session was: "why has there not been more transparency", "slow down", "wait", "can we not consolidate certain services instead"," what happens to the school system", "I'm against it". There were only three out of the over forty people who made remarks in this session who spoke in favor of reversion. Of those three, two are former City of Martinsville Mayors and one is a current City Council Member. That meeting is available to watch on the CLG's website. I could provide much more information if I felt it was needed in making this decision. But I hope that giving the residents of Martinsville the power to have their voices heard in matters that affect them and their families directly seems like the right thing to do at face value. Because it is. This process in which many in Martinsville feel they were ill-informed, left out of the process, or frankly bullied by the City government over this issue deserves a referendum. I thank you for your service to the Commonwealth. I thank you for taking the time to read my comments. I humbly ask that you give a voice and a vote to the people who reside in the City of Martinsville and let them decide what is best for their city themselves. Respectfully, Eric J. Phillips

Last Name: Pritchett Locality: Martinsville

I am a citizen of Martinsville who supports HB173. I believe the registered voters of a city deserve to have a "Yes" or "No" vote in a referendum on the issue of whether Martinsville should revert from a city to town status. Citizens best express their opinion and voice through a voter ballot. A referendum provides an opportunity for all sides to be heard. The choice of whether Martinsville should become a town should be ultimately decided by its 9,200 registered voters, and not by the five persons sitting on its City Council.

Last Name: Mitchell Locality: Martinsville

I am in agreement and 'VOTE YES" for HB #173 of the 2022 Session, sponsored by Delegate Marshall. In Sec. # 3 concerning placing on the ballot question, "Shall the City of Martinsville become a town?" I agree with this. I am a qualified voter in the city of Martinsville. Also, I served as a school board member in the city. Citizens of Martinsville should have the right to vote on what affects their lives and children.

Last Name: Dewberry Organization: Thomas Jefferson Institute Locality: Arlington

I’m just signing up to listen

Last Name: Cosby Organization: Oxford House- Megdavis Locality: lynchburg

I am a current resistant at the Meg Davis Oxford house in Lynchburg Virginia. I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I was an independent woman and a successful teacher for 16 years until my addiction to alcohol caught up with me. For years, I struggled with fighting this disease on my own until I was introduced to A. A. and the Oxford program. I have been successful in my recovery because of the fellowship and support of the Oxford house program. I have a full time job, pay my bills on time, attend church again, and attend AA meetings daily because of the fellowship of the Oxford program. I have gain meaningful life long relationships through Oxford House. I am able to be independent again in every aspect of my life! Most importantly, I have gain my self worth again that alcohol took away from me. I feel strong in my recovery and my life again thanks to the Oxford House. Sincerely, Kelly Cosby

Last Name: Brunjes Organization: Oxford House Locality: Fairfax

Please vote NO to HB277 and SB622. Back in October, I entered a detox/rehab facility. Since then I have been to a detox center, rehab center and the Behavioral Department of a Hospital. After successfully completing the program I needed some place to stay. The rehab center was instrumental in placing me into an Oxford house. They provided me the referrals I needed to land a spot in several Oxford house. I don't know where I would be if it wasn't for the Oxford house.

Last Name: reese Organization: Oxford Houses Inc. Locality: Vienna

The Oxford House Has saved my life and gives me a place to live and be held accountable for my actions.

Last Name: Martin Locality: Henry County

It is the hope of not only City residents but County as well that this bill passes. Not any reversion in the entire state of Virginia has ever completely left both School Boards out of the equation. Schools are the most important factors in reversion. They are first step in reversion to be addressed. Public input is critical for decisions such as these for they affect every business and every citizen. There has been a serious lack of any public inclusion here. Citizens have grave concerns about their school systems being "dissolved". How does this affect racial diversity in our schools? How does this affect our district lines and which schools are in which district? Allowing the citizens to vote on this is only fair way to address this. When it appears there are only a handful of people being less than forthcoming with any details and appear to be pushing a personal agenda, a referendum is only solution. Thank you. Mary Martin memoo6@comcast.net 276 358 1461

End of Comments