A Diversity of Ideas and Solutions for Albemarle County

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Thank you! For the past nine months I have visited thousands of homes, spoken to numerous organizations, and had many insightful conversations regarding the future of Albemarle County. Each person I spoke with was polite and encouraging, even if we may not have agreed on all the issues. I appreciate them taking the time to share their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions with me on how Albemarle County can be an even better environment in which to live and work.

Currently all six members of the Board of Supervisors share the same political persuasion and are members of the same political party. Our county needs a diversity of ideas and solutions as we prepare to meet future challenges. I want to put my 40 years of financial management experience, problem solving skills, and community involvement to work for the residents of the Samuel Miller District and Albemarle County. Your support and vote will return balance to Albemarle County.

I ask for your support and your vote this Tuesday, November 7th.

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Bring Balance to Albemarle County - Vote Nov. 7th

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I met with Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci yesterday. We discussed his encounter with the Board of Supervisors last week. Last Wednesday, he requested that the Board allocate $28,000.00 to his office to help fund an additional assistant prosecutor. The Board tabled his request until this Wednesday. I agree with Robert that this expense is worthwhile and should have been approved at the last meeting.

During the past four years, the Board has not once had an item on the agenda to review the county expenses. The county’s chief law enforcement officer asks for additional funds, and NOW they’re concerned about looking at expenses. We have accumulated a surplus of over $25,000,000.00 by needlessly raising real estate assessments and taxes, but we can’t approve funds to assist our county’s prosecutor? It is this antiquated, out of balance approach to the county’s finances that has fueled my campaign. I ask for your vote on November 7th, so that balance can be restored to the Board of Supervisors. 

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Press Statement on Fiscal 2017 Surplus Fund Balance - County Office Building

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Good Morning. I am John Lowry, candidate for Board of Supervisors, Samuel Miller District on November 7th. It has been really pleasant to be on the campaign trail since February of this year. Knocking on doors is an uplifting experience – people are so friendly. To be reported on and examined by the press/media has also been a happy experience. Accuracy and fairness is alive and well in our system of free speech.

In the spirit of openness I call attention to all yesterday’s revelation of Fiscal ’17 results by the County Director of Finance. For the year ended June 30th, the County again ended the year in a large surplus fund balance. This year the surplus in the General Fund was $7.75MM. It was referred to yesterday over and over as a “positive variance”. Furthermore the Un-appropriated General Fund Balance was a whopping $14MM. Supervisors will hear more about that next week. But by year’s end, Supervisors will need to decide what to do about the large fund balance.

Last year, remember it was big news the county had an $8 1/2MM surplus.

We have had multi-million dollar surpluses for three years in a row. During the last four years the BOS increased taxes between rate increases and assessments by 25% on average. They also have doubled the debt of the county in the last four years. This makes me ask, why? Why did they not know there would be multi-million dollar surpluses in each of these years? Why did they not propose giving a portion of the surplus back to taxpayers? Why did they borrow so much in debt when there were surpluses each year?

If only the general government fund surplus of $7 ¾ MM for the year ended June 30th was returned to taxpayers it would amount to 5 cents off the 83.9 cent rate being collected. For most homeowners this would be several hundred dollars less paid in taxes.

Now we are into 2018 year with both the last 2 cent increase and a 2.9% increase in assessments beginning this tax year. Do the Supervisors not see it will happen again this year?

Words need to be said about expenses. Two years ago the BOS assembled a Blue Ribbon group to suggest to the Board how to raise revenues. In its report to the Board the spokesman for the group said in fairness that the Supervisors should also look at ways to trim expenses. In fact, in the last four years there has not been one agenda item on all the Board agendas about how expenses could be less.

I will open this up for questions now but I want to say I look forward to stepping in, ready to serve in January. I can better serve the interests of the voters of Samuel Miller district by better managing the county finances. Thank you.

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Rural Areas Access to High Speed Internet Service meeting at Yancey School

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I attended the first meeting of Rural Areas Access to High Speed Internet Service at Yancey School yesterday.

Albemarle County won a grant application funded by the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative allowing four additions to Century Link High Speed Internet Access in areas previously not served. I attended the meeting along with Mike Culp, head of IT for Albemarle County. Mike was the writer of the grant application which will be used to fund the project. Mike connected residents near Yancey School with two Century Link engineers. The “hub” now in place will allow service to be expanded to “the last mile.”

Other areas lacking high speed internet service are applying for Virginia grant money, which will be partly matched by Century Link. This will provide the internet service needed so that our children can have the tools necessary to prepare them for 21st century jobs, our police and first responders will be able to more efficiently serve our community and start up and small businesses will be able to grow their business and increase their profitability.

Many thanks to Mike Culp for leading this effort!

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Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® Endorse John Lowry For the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

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The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) formally endorsed John Lowry for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to represent the Samuel Miller District.  The endorsement comes after candidate interviews and deliberations by both the Candidate Funding Project Team and the CAAR Board of Directors. Albemarle County’s Samuel Miller District challenger, John Lowry was singled out for his efforts to move forward balanced approach to government and vision for economic development. As a retired finance professional, his fiscal acumen will assist as Albemarle seeks innovative ways to fund government services. Lowry's significant service to the community on the Economic Development Authority, Board of Equalization and Airports Authority were also factors in CAAR's endorsement.

"I greatly appreciate CAAR’s endorsement. Their relationships with their clients provide them the opportunity to learn firsthand the challenges many Albemarle County homeowners face. They know the difficulties home builders encounter in developing neighborhoods where young or senior homeowners want to live but cannot afford to", said Lowry. Having a balanced approach to our land use policies, finances, and economic development will help to solve these challenges, Lowry continued.

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CBS19 Interview

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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Val Thompson with CBS 19 to discuss the strengths of Albemarle County and its challenges. Please click on the below link to watch the interview. I appreciate Val and CBS 19 for providing this important community service.   

http://www.newsplex.com/content/misc/John-Lowry-R-446180543.html

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Community Picnic in North Garden

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A beautiful day for a community picnic - Community Day in North Garden included lots of locals, food and fun. At the site for Farmers Market at Red Hill which is open each Thursday from 3:00 – 7:00 pm on 29 South.

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First Day of School at Red Hill School

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It was great being at Red Hill School to greet the students for the beginning of their school year. A third of former Yancey Elementary students are first year at RHS. I enjoyed being with Principal Art Stow. At he same time Scottsville students were greeted by Samuel Miller School Board representative Graham Paige. Our future leaders deserve the finest education possible!

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Message from John Lowry

The events of Saturday weigh heavily on my heart today, as they must on yours. Our beautiful community has been dragged into the national spotlight by individuals who are driven by hate, violence and racism. Their actions must never be tolerated. They are greatly mistaken if they think that they will weaken us. We are a strong, diverse community who will not be defined by those who came from different areas on Friday and Saturday to cast a dark shadow on our home.

I am thankful for our Law Enforcement officers and other First Responders who kept a horrible situation from becoming worse.

Let us share heartfelt grief for the families of the young woman who lost her life and the State Police officers who died protecting our community.

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Connecting with Voters

When going door to door to meet voters, I find that almost every door is answered by someone full of interest and courtesy. In politics, the best way to find what is on voter’s minds is to knock at their doors and ask them.

I am quite used to contacting the community this way!  My Mom made me knock on doors to sell flower seeds for Scouts when I was young. When I first lived in Charlottesville, Marshall Pryor (of The Young Men’s Shop) and I were the champion door to door light bulb sellers for the JAYCEES.

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