Town of Carrollton? Nope

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Civic League toys with concept, but only briefly

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Carrollton Civic League briefly entertained the notion of turning Carrollton into a town Monday night. 

But in the end, “we drove a stake in it,” said Bill Coburn about the idea. 

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Carrollton Civic League President Albert Burckard introduced the suggestion, which played off a statement made by Isle of Wight County Sheriff James Clarke during a pre-election forum. 

Clarke had said that he could see Carrollton turning into a town based on its growth and concentrated population and the number of calls it generates to the sheriff’s office.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The group discussed what constituted Carrollton in the first place, since it does not have defined borders. Burckard suggested it could either be the census designation or include the entire Newport District.

Either way, to qualify for a town, an area must include at least 1,000 people. Under Burckard’s interpretation, either version would suffice, as the populations ranged from about 4,500 to more than 7,000. 

The group touched on history of Carrollton, which at one time was marked by a general store, post office and school. 

The post office remains, but is now located along Route 17, a distance from the original location. The school and general store are gone. 

Some in the group wanted to know what benefits being a town would bring, and Newport District Supervisor William McCarty said that the taxes necessary to establish a town would overburden its residents. 

In the towns of Smithfield and Windsor, residents pay county and town taxes and in return enjoy water and sewer service, trash pickup and a police force. 

The towns are also governed by a Town Council and run by a paid staff. 

Isle of Wight County Administrator Randy Keaton came to the meeting prepared with information on the process of becoming a town. 

It was rather lengthy and sounded like a lot of work. 

The process includes getting a petition with 100 signatures, creating a plat of the town’s proposed boundaries, and the involvement of three courts, the local circuit court, the state Supreme Court and a special court designated by the Supreme Court, said Keaton.

A hearing is held and if the request is reasonable and meets various criteria, it is sent to the Virginia General Assembly for its blessing, said Keaton.

One criteria is that the county in which the proposed town would reside is not providing the desired services, said Keaton. 

All of that gave the group pause. 

Jose Hernandez suggested bypassing the town idea and instead turn Isle of Wight into a city.

That idea had been floated many years ago and did not prevail, obviously. 

Most of those at the meeting were concerned with the additional layers of taxes and regulation. 

McCarty was particularly against the added taxes. 

“It would be a fast sinking quicksand for our citizens,” he said.

There was some discussion about redistricting, and changing the voting districts from five to seven or nine. 

Jim Henderson, who lives in Carrollton but is located in the Windsor District, said he has felt unrepresented since the redistricting several years ago removed him from the Newport District. 

Anticipating the negative response, Burckard passed out a resolution that basically said the Carrollton Civic League didn’t want to do anything about making Carrollton a town — which most dismissed as pointless to ratify — and the group moved on to the next topic.  {/mprestriction}