, 2014


IRVINGTON VOTES: Meet the candidates

Compiled by Audrey Thomasson
by Audrey Thomasson

Irvington voters will elect three council members to regular four-year terms on May 6 and one council member to fill the remaining two years of an unexpired term.

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Three candidates are seeking to complete the unexpired term. They are:

Frances E. Westbrook of 395 King Carter Drive. Westbrook moved to Irvington with her husband, Dr. Robert Westbrook, in 1998 from Ashland where she managed the set-off debt program for the town treasurer, was the treasurer of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia’s Region 11 and served on the vestry of St. James the Less.

Currently, she is the office manager in her husband’s dental practice. She is an active member and treasurer of the Village Improvement Association and past chairman of Irvington’s lighted boat parade.

As an avid cook, she attended the Food Enthusiasts Program at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has two children and five grandchildren.

Michelle Lybarger of 242 The Lane. Lybarger is a licensed physical therapist who moved to Irvington in 1998 from Rocky Mount, N.C. She is the head of the Rehabilitation Services Department at Rappahannock General Hospital.

As an avid long-distance runner, she competed in all 50 states and is the organizer of the Village Improvement Association’s Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, which has grown to over 600 runners.

She is serving her third term as board president of the Northern Neck Orchestra, is active with YMCA Stripers Master Swim team and co-founder of the Northern Neck She Crabs Triathlon Club.

William James “Jim” Haynie III of 81 Cedardale Lane. Haynie spent many childhood summers visiting his grandfather in Irvington. He moved to Irvington in 2011 upon retiring as technology professor at North Carolina State University where he prepared technology teachers for the classroom and wrote textbooks.

He has also worked in many aspects of construction. He is an organist and cantor at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and occasionally is substitute organist and soloist at Irvington United Methodist Church.

The grandson of the town’s first mayor, Haynie enjoys sailing, music, electric trains, construction, ice skating and antique restoration.

Questions & Answers

Why do you want to be on town council?

Westbrook: The main reason is the Thomas property. I want to have some influence on how it’s developed. I wasn’t enthused with what was presented and how long it took to get to this point.

Lybarger: I love Irvington and its residents and it would be an honor and a privilege to serve this community. I want to be involved in planning for its future. Given my professional and volunteer experience, I would work hard to protect the safety and health of our citizens.

Haynie: My grandfather William James Haynie Sr. was the first mayor. His service made such an impression on me that you could serve the community in some way. Serving on council is a good use of my time and talents in retirement. I really do love the town. It’s meant so much to me.

Given the economic conditions, do you foresee additional or higher taxes to supplement Irvington’s occupancy tax? If not, how would you address a declining revenue?

Westbrook: Council has been able to stay within a tight budget each year. I’m not inclined to seek more revenue on the back of the Tides Inn. I’m not a tax person. I’m not a politician. I just want to preserve our community. Irvington is such a sweet place, but to maintain it we may need a fair and equal tax, such as a real estate tax.

Lybarger: We have one of the lowest occupancy taxes in the state. But taxing isn’t the only revenue source. We need to pursue other revenue sources like federal and state grants, department of transportation enhancement grants for sidewalks and streets, trusts and private trusts.

Haynie: From the last council meeting and talk of a windfall in sales tax, it may not be necessary. If the occupancy tax fell short, we would have to consider implementing a tax. If you raise the occupancy tax, people won’t stay in Irvington. Raise the sales tax and people would buy other places. I don’t want to drive out residents with a real estate tax.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue in Irvington?

Westbrook: Our source of revenue. Without that we aren’t going to develop the Thomas property. There’s no money in the budget right now to develop the property. Also, maintaining the town’s character. So many of us have had the good fortune to choose to live here. We need to maintain the character we fell in love with.

Lybarger: Infrastruture and tourism. The Thomas property is in focus right now. We need to plan carefully to enhance the commons for recreation and a possible location for the town office and Village Improvement Association.

Haynie: Maintaining economic stability in Irvington is important, maybe not now but in the future. I think traffic control is an important issue. People in Irvington slow down because they’re going to stop somewhere here, but those passing through don’t. Also, we need to maintain the town’s quaintness which is why people come here. As we grow, we need to remain the town that people like to come to.

Unopposed candidates

Bill Evans of Irvington announced this week he is withdrawing from the town council election for medical reasons.

With Evans out of the running, there are now three incumbents seeking the three full-term seats. They are:

Michael Merrill of 954 King Carter Drive. Merrill is a retired litigator whose law career culminated in a “precedent-setting victory” in the U.S. Supreme Court. He and his wife moved to Irvington in 2004 and became volunteers for the Village Improvement Association (VIA) taking care of flower beds and pots, sweeping streets, painting the storage shed and helping at the farmers’ markets and USAF band concerts. He is the current vice president of VIA.

Wayne Nunnally of 183 King Carter Drive. Nunnally is a graduate of The College of William and Mary. He received his law degree from Stetson Law School and practices law in the Northern Neck and Tidewater area. A member of Irvington Baptist Church, he is chairman of the board of trustees, deacon and occasional Sunday school teacher. He is married to the former Frances Robertson Lumpkin.

Jerry Latell of 370 King Carter Drive. Latell moved to Irvington from Richmond in 1999 after finishing graduate school. He worked for Lancaster County School District teaching technology at the middle school and then as a guidance counselor at the high school before starting a sail making business. He is married with two young boys, 2 and 8 years old. This will be his second term on council.


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