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The city/county thing…
I understand his fascination with the whole independent city thing. I’m a Tar Heel, and when I came for my first newspaper job interview in Virginia, I spent about 20 minutes with a road map in my car before I went in, desperately trying to figure out what county Lynchburg was in (that kind of question is common in newspaper interviews). Fortunately, nobody asked, but as soon as I started covering City Hall there, I learned pretty quick about city-county separation, and what folks up here like and don’t like about it.
UPDATE: In response to Larry’s comment, and to avoid confusion, there is NOT a serious discussion going on about Fredericksburg either annexing more land or reverting to a town. Mayor Tom Tomzak has brought reversion up in his last two forums as sort of a distant threat in the future if the city doesn’t build up its revenue base (The line has been, "We need business development or we’re gonna be a township in Spotsylvania County."). But it’s not something that’s on the table. The reason it’s been mentioned here is because it’s been in the news elsewhere, and if you didn’t grow up in Virginia, city-county separation is weird, and weird things make news.
UPDATE II (9:39 p.m.): In the hour that I’ve been sitting through public comment on Kalahari, I’ve heard more mention of the reversion idea. Former Mayor Lawrence Davies and Former Councilman Joe Wilson have been talking about the bad old days in the 1990s when the city was so broke it could barely make payroll. At that time, according to both speakers, there was talk of the city reverting to town status, making it part of Spotsylvania County. "That, to me, was just not an acceptable position for us to be in," Wilson said. Both brought that up in the process of arguing for Kalahari as being important to the city’s financial future.