My name is Jeff Irvine, and I am running for re-election for Clifton Forge Town Council. The future of Clifton Forge will be riding on this election.
Either we go forward and move in the right direction, or we go back to the past when things are done in the “so called by the special interest group ways,” where the everyday, average citizens are left out.
We need to make sure Clifton Forge and its everyday, average, hard-working citizens are still going to be taken care of after Nov. 3.
I ask you as a citizen of Clifton Forge: Is this what direction you want to go in the future, letting special interest groups make your decisions?
Let me remind you what a special interest group is — a group of people or an organization seeking or receiving special advantages, typically through political lobbying. This is exactly what is going on by backing two candidates of their preference and spending a lot of money on getting them elected and me out.
Ask yourself, why is all of this money being spent just to get out one person if there wasn’t a reason behind it.
Don’t you think that the citizens are not going to see through this and will not be taken in by special groups using dirty political mud slinging tactics to remove a council person?
How come in nine years or council, that only now has the mud slinging started?
Nothing about my policies in the past, but let us remember when it all started, in 2019 when the town manager’s contract was not renewed.
A lot has been said about my leadership, if it was so bad, how did the Armory Fund go from $0 to $20,000 and a venue that is booked almost fully every month?
As mayor, the first thing we wanted was for the police to have a new office and town stickers to be replaced, both were done.
A new business at the old railroad property, a new town manager was put in place, there are more, but all of these things have been steps in a positive direction for our town, to make Clifton Forge a great place to live, work and visit.
But none of this was possible by just one person, it takes a team.
I work diligently to overcome differences with all council members for the betterment of our community and strive to bring the council together with the common goal of making Clifton Forge the best it can be.
If elected, I will continue as I have in the last nine years to serve this town and its citizens in this position with truth and honesty.
These are some of my goals if re-elected to council to make Clifton Forge better and to help get business in our town.
First, I want to revisit and revise the water bill, to where if you don’t use 5,000 gallons, you pay less or a revised rate. You pay for what you use and not for what you don’t.
Next, I would want to see water bills paid online or by phone.
Third, we could put an amusement tax on tickets from events to generate money.
On getting new businesses, if a new business wants to come into Clifton Forge, the town requires that business to get a business license as always, but the first two years, the license fee is waived, even though money is lost on the front, but really not that much.
It will give business owners a chance to get off of their feet and the feeling the town “wants” them.
If a new business opens and improves their building, the property taxes on that building and equipment would remain the same for a period, of say, five years, as original taxes, this would give that business the incentive to clean up their building and area.
It would also give that business confidence, they would not be subjected to higher taxes and penalized for making improvements.
It would also show anyone considering opening a business that they are welcome and the town is willing to support them.
For housing, continue to file for housing and HUD grants, but in the meantime, if a homeowner improves their property keep their property taxes the same for three to five years.
This will allow the owner to take pride in their home and feel like they are doing something now, if you make improvements, it is a negative feeling because their taxes will go up.
For newly purchasing an older home, if an owner purchases a distressed home and they physically live in that home full-time and does renovations, say $20,000, give them a break on the property taxes for three to five years.
If they sell that home in that period, they must pay back the tax credits.
For rental homes, if a landlord makes improvements to bring a home up to code, they get the proper license, but that fee is waived if landlords make $20,000 in improvements, and in turn, the property value increases and leaves the existing taxes as they were before improvements for two to four years.
This gives the landlord a break and hopefully they can pass it on to the renter as a savings to the renter.
If they sell the home or flip the home, they pay back the taxes.
I am an experienced leader and have this town’s best interest at heart, because this is my town too.
If I receive your vote, I will work hard on the upcoming issues and do my best to make Clifton Forge the best small town in Virginia.
Sometimes casting a no vote on difficult issues comes at a price, but please know that I do not make these decisions lightly and that I always have your best interest at heart.
If re-elected, I will work to build professional courtesy and better relationships and avoid the tearing down of personal character.
I look forward to serving you for the next four years.
Remember, every vote counts, so on Nov. 3, 2020, make yours count for a better Clifton Forge, and God bless you all!
I am one of you, I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 3.
Mayor Jeff Irvine
Commercial Avenue, Clifton Forge
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.