Maslin, Pons to run in uncontested elections for City Council

jojacobs@vagazette.com

It looks like two men will enter the Williamsburg City Council elections and two men will leave with seats in the Stryker Center.

Newcomer Ted Maslin and incumbent Doug Pons are the only candidates to have filed to run in the City Council elections in May, Williamsburg Voter Registrar Win Sowder said.

The two candidates will run to fill two at-large seats currently occupied by Pons and Vice Mayor Scott Foster. Foster has announced he will not see re-election. Foster’s term ends June 30, as does Pons’.

Pons has served two terms on City Council. If re-elected, Pons would want to encourage greater investment in the Capitol Landing Road area and said he would look forward to continued service to the community.

“This is a town I care about a lot,” Pons said.

On the subject of the sales tax bill awaiting Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature, Pons expressed interest in the idea but said he wanted to dig deeper into the proposal.

“I still want to look at the numbers,” Pons said. “From a general perspective, 1 percent brings a lot of revenue back to the Greater Williamsburg area.”

The General Assembly passed a bill that would increase the sales tax in the Historic Triangle by 1 percent to fund tourism marketing in February. As of Friday afternoon, Northam had not acted on the bill. Half of the total collected would go to the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance to market the region to overnight tourists, while the other half would be allocated to the localities for their use based on where the tax was collected.

In August 2017, City Council voted to create the Tourism Development Fund, which would raise the meals tax, room tax and create a admissions tax to fund tourism projects. The increase in room tax would eliminate the $2 transient occupancy tax currently being collected. The new taxes are scheduled to take effect in July.

The sales tax bill’s most recent fiscal impact statement anticipates the tax increase would generate $24.5 million in fiscal year 2019.

Maslin, a project manager for Riverside Health System, said he would support repeal of the Tourism Development Fund ordinances required to put the sales tax increase into effect.

If elected, Maslin said he would work to improve communications between residents and City Council. He also wants to enhance public safety.

The filing period for the upcoming City Council elections ended Tuesday, Sowder said.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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