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Koontz & Mansfield in favor of lowering or eliminating boat tax

by Tom Chillemi

The Deltaville Community Association (DCA) sponsored a candidate forum on October 5.

However, only two of four candidates for the Middlesex Board of Supervisors (BOS) showed up. Attending the forum were challenger John Koontz Jr., who is seeking the Hartfield District seat, and Saluda District incumbent Pete Mansfield, who is seeking a third term.

Mansfield told the DCA audience a “boycott” of the forum by Hartfield District incumbent Bob LeBoeuf and Saluda District challenger Marcia Jones “is truly a slap in the face not only to the dedicated people of the DCA who worked so hard to provide this information, but to all of the citizens of our county.”

Koontz said it was “abysmal” that the other two candidates did not attend the forum.

LeBoeuf and Jones, who is the retired Assistant Middlesex County Administrator but is still working for the county administration, put a paid political ad in the October 5 Southside Sentinel stating they had told DCA officials several weeks ago they would not attend the forum.

Middlesex School Board candidates on the ballot, who are running unopposed, attended and spoke (see story in October 19 Sentinel).

Mansfield said in his opening statement the county must stop the use of what he called “single source purchasing, which has cost our county over $2 million in the last five years.” He has argued against the Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) process. Mansfield said issuing a request for proposals (RFP) is a better purchasing process.

Mansfield also called for protection of the Potomac Aquifer by limiting withdrawals of large industrial users, and injecting clean water back into the aquifer.

Mansfield said he favors restoring YMCA funding by the county, at a cost of $15,000, and paying teachers a “competitive wage.”

Koontz, in his opening statement, said he is employed by a firm that builds commercial solar plants and is in charge of procurement and construction. Koontz said he would “be an asset” for county projects, such as the proposed water system for the eastern half of the county.

He pledged more “transparency” and said he favors changing the BOS meeting time so more of the public can attend.

Koontz encouraged citizens to talk among themselves about what is going on in the county.

He also said creating employment opportunities in Middlesex should be a focus. He said of the 3,300 fulltime workers in Middlesex, 86% commute out of the county to work.

Koontz added that the BOS should fund school training programs for students who are not going to college.

Questions were submitted in advance and pared down from two pages to a few that were asked by moderator Eddie Harrow.

One question asked, “What are the short-term and long-term problems and how would you deal with them?”

Mansfield, a retired engineer, responded first, stating that saving water is both a long-term and a short-term goal, and he developed a plan to save Rock Tenn 12.7 billion gallons of water over 10 years. He noted his plan was not accepted.

Koontz, who operates the water system at the Coves of Wilton Creek, said the test wells are getting shallower.

Koontz said training young people for marina related jobs is “an investment, not an expense.”

In the short term, said Koontz, the Hartfield District seat is “critical.” He also said the BOS does not listen to those “with experience from around the world.” Further, Koontz said he “got talked down to” when he addressed the BOS.

The next question asked was: “On what factors would you base decisions as a BOS member?”

Koontz responded the board needs to be “flexible” and to get information from the people they represent. The BOS should remember “somebody has to pay” when decisions involve spending, he added. 

Mansfield agreed the BOS “must learn to listen to our people.” He said that if the boat tax were lowered it would raise the real estate tax levy 2 cents. He added the Middlesex boating industry contributes $50 million in economic activity. Mansfield said the “economic decline is self-inflicted,” caused by “not following through to stop the exodus of boats.”

Koontz said, “leadership and involvement” are needed especially when it comes to developing training for marina workers. “Someone’s got to pick up the pieces and make it work.”

Koontz also called for eliminating the boat tax. He said that economic activity would increase and offset some of the tax revenue that is lost. Marinas “are the only industry we have of any size.”

The entire forum was video recorded by Stephen Blue and can be viewed onYoutube at

posted 10.11.2017

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