Albemarle will resume some in-person meetings from Wednesday | local government

On Wednesday, the public will be able to see all members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors live and in person for the first time in more than two years.

The board will hold a budget business session and its first regular meeting beginning at noon in the Lane Auditorium of the McIntire Road County Office Building. The meeting will be hybrid with all Board members attending in person with members of the public while others can still watch and speak virtually during public comment periods.

Albemarle is one of the last localities in the region to resume in-person meetings since the COVID-19 pandemic moved local government public gatherings online in 2020. As more community members have been vaccinated and local hospitals are seeing fewer COVID-19 patients, the county decided to bring meetings of the Board of Supervisors, Planning Board, and School Board back to the COB.

“I’m so excited to come back because I get my energy from being around people, and Hollywood Squares is not a good way to get your energy,” the board chair said. Donna Price.

People also read…

But things will be a little different inside the Lane Auditorium.

Community members will now need to enter the auditorium through the central door at the back of the auditorium. As a rule, this door was closed and members of the community entered through the two side entrances. This door will be occupied by an “ambassador”, who works for RMC Events.

“The ambassador will let people know about the mask of the day rule and then also explain the seating situation,” Albemarle spokeswoman Emily Kilroy said during a visit by Lane.

Masks are currently optional in the county office building. Kilroy said Albemarle doesn’t have “a set formula,” but looks to business best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC community levels, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and new case and vaccination data, among other metrics, and evaluate building posture decisions weekly.

The CDC’s community levels are determined by looking at new COVID-related hospital admissions over the previous week, the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and new cases per 100,000 people over a seven day period.

As of last week, Albemarle has been at the CDC’s mid level and Charlottesville, where the McIntire Road County Office Building is located, is at the low level. For mid-tier counties, the CDC recommends talking to a doctor about mask use if someone is at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

But the data the CDC uses for this area is misleading because the Blue Ridge Health District is cleaning up the area’s old COVID-19 case data to attribute cases to the correct locality, resulting in negative cases in Charlottesville and high numbers in Albemarle.

As for seating, half of the lane’s first floor will be open seating, while half will be physically distanced seating. According to this seating arrangement, approximately 200 people can fit on the first floor of Lane, and an additional 100 seats are on the balcony if necessary.

At least two new faces will be on stage – supervisor Jim Andrews, who started in January, and Cynthia Hudson, an attorney with Richmond-based law firm Sands Anderson, who has a 90-day contract as a acting county attorney. Former county attorney Greg Kamptner retired on April 1.

Neil Williamson, president of the Free Enterprise Forum, is a regular at supervisory board meetings. He said he was happy to be going back, but he was also happy that the county seemed to be trying to find a way to get elected and elected officials to meet in person and keep the county engaged. audience made at the time of Zoom.

“Local government is best done in person,” he said. “You miss so much between recess times, as well as the eye rolling that you don’t see because you’re not focused on the proper Hollywood Square,” he said. “I think the idea of ​​Zoom, while incredibly effective, may not be the best thing for the government, but the increased participation has been very strong.”

Kilroy said community members who choose to watch and talk on Zoom will just see their names appear on camera, not their faces.

“At the moment the plan is that if you present [in person] what we will see on Zoom are just the slides,” she said.

On Wednesday noon, the board will hold a budget work session on the stabilization of the workforce. The regular meeting will begin around 1 p.m., where the board is expected to get updates and information on specific transportation-related projects. There are five public hearings scheduled after 6 p.m.

In June, county staff will present to council their recommendation to move the next group of county boards – including the Broadband Authority and the Architecture Review Board – to hybrid meetings and a update on when the final group of councils and commissions will meet again in person.

More information about the meetings is available on the county’s website at albemarle.org.