Outgoing Chairman of the Stafford Board of Supervisors Gary Snellings, Hartwood District, summed up a year of accomplishments in a “State of the County” video released recently. Chairman Snellings emphasized the work completed by the Board in the last year on healthy growth and transportation as well as the County’s advancements in public safety, education and parks.
“The biggest challenge we are facing in the County is transportation. Our citizens voted for a $50 million transportation bond referendum that we will use to leverage more than $140 in state and federal monies for eight major projects and 35 road widening and safety improvements projects. I am very proud of the work done on this effort,” said Chairman Gary Snellings. “As well, our crime rate per 100 citizens has gone down 18 percent, continuing to make Stafford a safe and growing community.”
In addition to the Stafford transportation bond funding, VDOT is investing more than $1 billion in projects that will benefit our area. VDOT completed the diverging diamond intersection at the Stafford I-95 intersection, significantly improving the look and function of the exit. Work continues on the widening of Courthouse Road, and Stafford completed the safety improvements to Brooke Road.
Chairman Snellings recognizes our public safety personnel and their efficiency and professionalism as the main reason for the lowered crime rate. The new public safety pay plan adopted by the Board will help retain those valuable Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue personnel, assisting Stafford in competing with higher-paying northern counties. Funding was also provided last year to add 24-hour fire engine staffing at Falmouth and Hartwood fire stations along with 24-hour emergency medical services transport staffing at Brooke Fire Station increasing response and preparedness for our community.
Stafford’s population hit 150,000 in 2019. The community is projected to continue to grow by 2 percent every year, or approximately 3,000 new citizens. The Board of Supervisors spent a considerable amount of time last year gathering input from the public on healthy growth initiatives. They will use the information to inform their decisions as they form policy in the coming months.
In the area of education, Stafford continues to shine. With over 30,000 students, the system is ranked as one of the best in the Commonwealth. Stafford has the best on-time graduation rate in the region. Continuing the commitment to our Schools, the Board also funded a 5 percent pay raise for teachers and support staff.
Stafford’s parks continue to flourish, with more tournaments and swim meets added last year to Stafford’s many facilities. The County is also collaborating with the Patawomeck Tribe for them to build a reproduction of a working village at Duff Park. Additionally, work was completed on the fourth phase of the Belmont-Ferry Farm Trail – a section of trail that connects Stafford County to the City of Fredericksburg.
To watch more about Stafford’s 2019 accomplishments, visit the “State of the County” video on Stafford’s website www.staffordcountyva.gov or at the link below.