By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
At its May 18th meeting, the Fluvanna Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 to advertise a proposal that would increase its membership by one. Both Chairman John Gooch (Palmyra) and Supervisor Mozell Booker (Fork Union) voted against the expansion.
The proposal is the county’s response to the redistricting requirement necessitated by the 2010 census. After the June 15th public hearing, the Board will vote on a redistricting plan that will then be forwarded to the Justice Department for review.
The seven districts are relatively balanced: the average population is 3,670, with a variance of 343 between the largest and smallest. The Lake Monticello community, the largest in the county, would be split among three districts: Rivanna North, Rivanna South, and a reconfigured Palmyra.
The split effectively would end the opportunity for Lake Monticello voters to elect two at-large supervisors from one district. Further, by splitting Lake Monticello residents into three districts, supervisors have diluted the strength of the Lake constituency.
Supervisor Booker opposed the seven-member Board proposal. Instead, she advocated for a five-member Board, stating that her constituents favored only one seat for Lake Monticello. This was met by silence from her colleagues: Lake Monticello accounts for forty percent of the county’s population and would have been entitled to two seats even in the five-member configuration.
The northwest corner of the county will receive a new seat, tentatively called Zion, carved out of the existing Palmyra district. County officials hope to steer growth to that sector in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan.
No elected officials were redistricted out their seats; and the new districts will be in place for the 2011 county election.
William Des Rochers serves as Free Enterprise Forum’s Fluvanna County Field Officer. The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded public policy organization. If you found this report helpful, please consider financially supporting the Free Enterprise Forum.