Two vie for Fredericksburg’s Ward 4 seat
The Ward 4 race for the City Council pits political newcomer Chuck Frye against incumbent Bea Paolucci, who was elected four years ago as a write-in candidate.
Paolucci, 59, was born in Madrid, Spain, but has lived in Fredericksburg since 1988.
She and her partner, Hamilton G. Palmer, live on Caroline Street. She had a 26-year career with Bank of Virginia/Signet, leaving as vice president of market operations. She is now office manager for Palmer’s company, HGP Inc.
Frye, who is listed on the ballot as Charlie L. “Chuck” Frye Jr., arrived in the city as an infant and never left.
He is a 1996 graduate of James Monroe High School and married to his high school sweetheart, Kisha Frye, who teaches fifth grade at the city’s Lafayette Upper Elementary School.
The couple live in Mayfield with their three children.
Frye, 35, has worked for United Parcel Service as a delivery service provider since 2001. He previously worked for five years at Kaeser Compressors as a custodian, in the shipping department and as a dock worker.
While Paolucci’s activities have focused on the city’s history and service organizations, Frye’s have centered on youth.
He has coached basketball for the city’s parks and recreation department and since 2011 has been youth activities director for the Mayfield Civic Association.
Paolucci said she has served on the city’s Social Services Board and with the Mayfield Civic Association, Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging, Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc., and the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center.
The City Council seats representing all four wards are on the ballot for May 6. Wards 3 and 4 have contested races.
Ward 4 stretches from Celebrate Virginia South through downtown and along Dixon Street.
The Free Lance–Star asked all council candidates to complete a questionnaire about themselves and their key issues, including a question about their view on the real estate tax rate.
The City Council advertised a possible 6-cent increase in the real estate tax rate for the fiscal year starting on July 1. If approved, that would mean an increase of $144.60 annually for the owner of a median-priced home in the city, valued at $241,000.
Frye opposes the tax hike.
“I don’t agree with a real estate tax rate increase because a lot of city residents are already struggling to keep up with their current bills,” he responded.
“While I do understand that tax rate increases are necessary, this issue affects different families in different ways. I hope it’s not the maximum increase of 6 cents.”
Paolucci said in her response last week that it’s “too early in the budget process to announce the rate I would support.”
She wants to hear from the public and consider discussions at the council’s budget work sessions. The next work session is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., followed by a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on the advertised real estate tax rate of 80 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Paolucci wrote that the city has “needs” such as employee benefits, public safety, schools, infrastructure and debt obligations—and “wants” such as around-the-clock Advanced Life Support staffing, a riverfront park and neighborhood improvements.
“The goal is to fund our needs and determine which wants will enhance the quality of life for our citizens to justify a real estate tax increase,” she said.
Paolucci also wants to focus on maintaining the historic downtown while simultaneously focusing on growth in technology and tourism zones.
She also said the city needs to enforce property maintenance and nuisance ordinances, find solutions to a parking shortage and offer more programs to promote home ownership.
Frye said his top issues include seeing that there is “equal representation for all citizens.” He said that in talking with people, he’s discovered that many of them don’t know how to navigate the city bureaucracy when they have needs or how to go about providing their input.
“A lot of people are not informed on how things work,” he said.
Frye, who is black, said his concern is not based on racial issues but said he felt it would be positive for the city to have a more diverse council.
“I do feel we need minority representation on the City Council,” he said, adding that he happens to be the only minority on the ballot in the four City Council contests.
Paolucci was elected in 2010 to succeed Hashmel Turner, creating the first all-white council since 1966. Turner, who is black, had registered to run again this year but withdrew last month.
Frye’s other top priorities are regional transportation issues and addressing the impact of Fredericksburg’s population growth.
His platform also calls for supporting the city schools financially and through outreach so that local children get the best education possible.
“My personal goal is to see to it that our students stay in our schools and out of our new courthouse,” he said.
Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972
CHARLIE L. “CHUCK” FRYE JR.
BIRTHPLACE: Savannah, Ga.
FAMILY: Married, 3 children
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None
OCCUPATION:United Parcel Service, Delivery Service Provider, 2001–present
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT OF ALL MEMBERS OF HOUSEHOLD: Wife Kisha Frye, teacher, Fredericksburg schools
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN THE CITY? Since shortly after birth
EDUCATION: James Monroe High School, Class of ’96
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME? No
COMMUNITY/CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Youth Activities Director, Mayfield Civic Association, 2011 to present. Hosted numerous community events such as movie nights, holiday parties and an annual End of School Block Party, where Career Training Solutions and Germanna Community College helped graduates learn about options to further their education or learn a trade.
Volunteer basketball coach, Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation, 2011 to present.
Breakfast Buddy Mentor, Lafayette Upper Elementary School, 2013 to present. Meet twice weekly for breakfast and mentoring.
THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES:
- Equal representation for all residents in the community.
- The various regional transportation issues combined with the influx of population and council’s responsibility of managing these challenges properly.
- Supporting our city schools through community outreach but most importantly budget needs. We must ensure that our students are provided the best education possible.
BEATRICE R. “BEA” PAOLUCCI
ADDRESS: Caroline Street near Rising Sun Tavern
BIRTHPLACE: Madrid, Spain
FAMILY: Hamilton G. Palmer
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:Elected in 2010 to the Fredericksburg City Council, Ward 4
OCCUPATION: Office Manager, HGP Inc., after 26 years in banking.
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT OF ALL MEMBERS OF HOUSEHOLD: HGP Inc.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN FREDERICKSBURG? Since 1988
EDUCATION: Northern Virginia Community College; American Institute of Banking
MILITARY RECORD: Four years in the U.S. Army Reserves
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME? No
COMMUNITY/CHURCH ACTIVITIES: Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc.; Washington Heritage Museum; Central Rappahannock Heritage Center; Mayfield Civic Association; Friends of the Rappahannock; Social Services Board; Community Policy Management Team; Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging; St. Mary Catholic Church
THREE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES:
- Economic Development—Grow while protecting our valuable heritage. It is vital to maintain the historic downtown, which is what makes Fredericksburg unique. The city should focus more on technology and tourism zones to take advantage of the improving economy and bring sustainable jobs to the city and support the Main Street Initiative to address these issues. The city needs to partner with the many entities during the update of the Comprehensive Plan, which sets the vision for the future and most importantly encourage citizen involvement.
- Downtown/Neighborhoods/Home Ownership—Enforce property maintenance and nuisance ordinances in historic downtown and neighborhoods; find additional parking to meet current and future needs; start programs to promote home ownership.
- Public Safety—Residents need to start acting when they see something that looks “out of place.” The city should increase community policing, and encourage people to take ownership of their block, corner or street.