Charlottesville City Council (2012-2013)

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The two-year term of the Charlottesville City Council (2012-2013) ran from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013. City Council members included two first-time candidates and more women serving than in any time in its history. Of the three seats that expired, Satyendra Huja[1] was the sole incumbent to seek re-election. The two members of the council whose terms did not expire this year were Kristin Szakos and Dave Norris.


Downtown Mall

  • April – Five ambassadors, the “eyes and ears of the Charlottesville Police Department,” start patrolling the Downtown Mall. Chief Timothy J. Longo had requested more officers for the mall, but Council settled on a part-time liaison program. [2]
  • May – The Council authorized a Downtown Mall Ambassadors program which hired tour guides to help visitors and also to alert police to crime. [3]

Form of government

Council–manager government



  • Councilors made $18,000 a year and the mayor made $20,000 a year; the maximum range allowed under state guidelines.[4]

Fringe benefits

Credit card account: Mayor Satyendra Huja’s was issued a credit card with a monthly limit of $2,500. Records dating back to 2009 also show that former Mayor Dave Norris, who was in the post from 2008 to 2011, also had a credit card.

City budget

FY 2011 Budget: The City Council Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2011 – $140.75 million, a 1.19% reduction from the one adopted the previous year. FY 2012 Budget: City Council Adopted Budget for Fiscal Year 2011–2012, a total General Fund Budget of $143,306,538; a 1.82% increase over FY 2011.

2011 election

Three seats occupied by David Brown, Holly Edwards, and Satyendra Huja were up for the November election. The Charlottesville Democratic Committee held a firehouse primary on August 20, 2011 to choose three candidates to run in the November 8, 2011 election. Incumbents Edwards and Brown did not seek re-election. Huja, Galvin, and Smith won this nomination wherein 2,524 ballots were cast, including 284 absentee votes, which surpassed the 2009 election record of 1,609.[5] The results caused Mayor Dave Norris and others to criticize the process for not resulting in any candidates who are African-American. [6] [7]

Organizational meeting January 3, 2012

Satyendra Huja was elected mayor for the next two years. Kristin Szakos was chosen as vice-mayor.

Regular meetings

Regular council meetings were held in City Hall on the first and third Monday of the month.

2012 Noteworthy events

  • January 17 - Council voted 4-0 to pass a resolution stating its opposition to war against Iran. That resolution also cited a 2011 U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution that decried the nation’s military spending.[8]
  • January 17 - Council adopted a revised Critical Slopes ordinance granting the council the ability to waive, (and impose conditions on the granting of a waiver), the critical slopes ordinance's prohibition on development if: the benefits to the public of disturbing the slope outweigh the benefits of an undisturbed slope; the ordinance would unreasonably restrict the use of a property.[9]
  • May 2 – Fringe benefits: Councilors voted to include themselves in the city’s employee medical and dental insurance coverage plans.[13]
  • June 3 - Council passed a resolution condemning the Supreme Court's decision in the case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission as harmful to the democratic process. Although the citizen-proposed resolution was not directly linked to Occupy Charlottesville, several key members of Occupy Charlottesville helped push the resolution and City Council.[14]
  • December 3Flats at West Village: On a 4-1 vote, council approved a special use permit (SUP) for Increased Density & Height for the Plaza on Main (later know as the Flats at West Village), despite concerns that the 595-bedroom mixed-used development on the 2.25 acre lot would negatively impact the character of West Main Street.[15] On motion by Szakos, seconded by Norris, the resolution passed. (Ayes: Szakos, Norris, Galvin, Huja; Noes: Smith.)

2013 Noteworthy events

  • February 4 - By a 3-2 vote, the council adopted a resolution, drafted by the Rutherford Institute, ordering a two-year moratorium on the citywide use of unmanned aircraft. Charlottesville became the first city in the country to pass a drone resolution. [16]The measure comes in response to the previous year’s congressional mandate to integrate the nation’s airspace with robotic aircraft by September 2015. Mayor Satyendra Singh Huja said federal law would trump the city’s resolution, but the council pushed ahead anyway. “We cannot make federal law,” he said. “We can only make resolutions, so that’s what we did.”[17]
  • February 19Stormwater Utility Fee: Council voted 4-1 to enact a utility fee on all property owners. The fee (referred to as a “Rain Tax’’ by detractors) is intended to increase funding for the city’s water resources protection program from $945,000 a year to more than $2.5 million. On motion by Ms. Szakos, seconded by Ms. Smith, the ordinance passed. (Ayes: Szakos, Smith, Huja, Galvin; Noes: Norris.)

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2012 Retreat

Council frequently holds strategic retreats to address the City Council vision. While no votes are taken at these meetings, staff acts on priorities identified at these meetings.

  • February 2012 retreat at Wintergreen [18] [19]
  • September 2012 retreat in Staunton [20] [21]

Council Vision Statement

Council discussed their priorities and decided to work to narrow the list to four or five items for specific focus over the next two years.[22]

  1. Reduce poverty by increasing sustainable employment among less skilled and educated residents
  2. Provide comprehensive support system for children
  3. Build interconnected network of multi-modal transportation, including bikeways,trails, transit system
  4. Develop City Market District Downtown
  5. Redevelop City corridors
  6. Cultivate healthy streams and rivers through effective stormwater management practices

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  1. Web. Charlottesville City Council Member Huja Seeks Re-Election,, WVIR, Mar 25, 2011
  2. Web. Timeline: Major Downtown Mall developments, Staff reports, News Article, The Daily Progress, retrieved September 19, 2020.
  3. Web. Ambassadors a second set of eyes and ears on the Downtown Mall, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, May 6, 2013, retrieved May 6, 2013.
  5. Web. Huja, Galvin, Smith get council nods, Graham Moomaw, The Daily Progress, 20 August 2011, retrieved 22 August 2011.
  6. Web. City could have its first Council in 30 years with no black members, Graham Moomaw, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, August 23, 2011, retrieved August 23, 2011.
  7. Web. Democrats nominate Huja, Galvin and Smith for City Council, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, August 21, 2011, retrieved April 22, 2018.
  9. Web. Adopted Ordinance, City of Charlottesville, 17 Jan 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2013.
  10. Web. Historian talks Civil War as councilor wonders if statues should be torn down, Ted Strong, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 22, 2012, retrieved April 10, 2012.
  11. Web. City's Civil War statues remind us of our past, Daily Progress, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, March 27, 2012, retrieved March 10, 2019.
  12. Web. Szakos decries response to statue comments, Graham Moomaw, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, retrieved April 10, 2012.
  13. Web. City Council approves pay raise, taking its salaries to maximum, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, May 2, 2017, retrieved October 25, 2019.
  15. Web. Council OKs controversial student-oriented housing project for West Main, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, 4 Dec 2012, retrieved 2 July 2013.
  16. | Charlottesville Becomes First U.S. City to Pass Anti-Drone Resolution | Posted: Feb 05, 2013 12:04 AM EST Updated: Mar 11, 2013 4:42 PM EDT
  17. City in Virginia passes anti-drone resolution | Posted: Feb 6, 2013 | Los Angeles Times City in Virginia passes anti-drone resolution | By W.J. Hennigan | Accessed June 10, 2020
  18. Web. Council discusses city vision at retreat, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, February 4, 2012, retrieved January 18, 2018.
  19. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, February 3, 2012.
  20. Web. Council debates ‘new reality’ at retreat, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 2012, retrieved November 5, 2015.
  21. Web. City Council Retreat - Informal Notes, Paige Barfield, City Council Minutes, City of Charlottesville, retrieved November 13, 2017.

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