There are many ways to measure progress. More often than not, progress is made behind the scenes, or it is one of a series of steps over many years that will eventually lead to identifiable accomplishments. For Stafford County, 2018 has several visible achievements that took a considerable amount of effort and planning to position Stafford County for a bright future.
“This has been a year of self-examination and thoughtful, deliberate planning by this Board of Supervisors as well as staff. Truly, everyone has gone above and beyond. I am very proud of the body of work we have achieved together this year,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke, Falmouth District. “We advocated for and received our third AAA bond rating, we built a new Animal Shelter, we completed a road study to help us be proactive with transportation, and we created a Vision and a Strategic Plan for Stafford County with measurable steps to help move us toward the future.”
Stafford invested in public safety this year. Officials broke ground in March on a cutting-edge fire station to replace the temporary trailer at Station 14. A state-of-the-art Animal Shelter with features that have boosted adoptions and increased volunteerism opened in June. The Board of Supervisors funded a School Protection Officer program for elementary schools that was devised by Sheriff David Decatur and a special committee to respond to school violence. Five additional deputies were hired and 12 new Fire and Rescue personnel.
At the same time, Stafford worked to prepare for the continuous boost in population by investing in utilities infrastructure to ensure the County can meet the water needs of citizens and businesses. A new high school and elementary school were added to the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) to handle the additional students that will be generated by the many young families who live in Stafford.
Plans for “Downtown Stafford” began in earnest this year. The project calls for a mixed-use development where citizens can live and walk to work, shopping and recreational opportunities – with a hometown feel. The project coincides with the renovation of the Courthouse Road exit off Interstate 95. A four-lane road will be built to Stafford Hospital, increasing access to the area around Stafford Courthouse, and improving traffic flow in the area.
“Transportation is a huge priority for this Board as well as the boards that came before us. We have been very proactive for the last eight years, dedicating County funds to projects we initiated to alleviate congestion and improve safety,” said Chairman Meg Bohmke. “Stafford has invested $57,000,000 to date, and we plan to do more in the future with our Comprehensive Evaluation of County Roads.”
Perhaps the most crowning achievement this year was Stafford’s receipt of a third AAA bond rating. This accomplishment was the result of careful and deliberate planning. Stafford joins just 47 counties and 33 cities across the nation that have achieved this distinction. Having three AAA bond ratings reflects the confidence financial rating agencies have in Stafford’s financial practices and economic stability.
The County could not have achieved any of this without the support and input of citizens. Last year, the many citizen volunteers in Stafford’s Citizens Assistance Office served for 30,000 hours, a $1,000,000 value. On top of that, more than 180 people served on one of its boards, authorities, commissions and committees.
To watch more about Stafford’s 2018 accomplishments, visit the “State of the County” video on Stafford’s website www.staffordcountyva.gov and hear Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke provide a more comprehensive detailing of the year.