County appoints town liaison

When residents of Prince William County’s four towns have a problem or concern they want county officials to address, they now have a person to turn to.

County Executive Craig Gerhart has appointed Sue Roltsch, assistant county executive, as the liaison to officials of Dumfries, Occoquan, Haymarket and Quantico.

“I am trying to supply [the towns] with something that may be helpful,” Gerhart said.

“I’m excited about this,” Roltsch said. “The idea is for the towns to have a point of contact, continuity and a focus on town issues.”

The notion of a town liaison came up during a recent meeting in Dumfries with the Town Council; county Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, R-Dumfries; Gerhart and others.

There were a series of issues relating to both the towns and the county that were discussed at the meeting, Gerhart said.

Instead of having to call around to find out about animal control or available community services, for example, town officials will have a central point of contact,” Gerhart said.

Having a member of his staff familiar with town issues could also be beneficial to the county, Gerhart said.

For example, one issue currently unresolved between the county and the towns is the joint request from the four town mayors for a portion of the federal Homeland Security Grant the county received to help fight terrorism.

The mayors sent a letter to the Board of County Supervisors in September requesting some of the $4.3 million grant money so they can purchase new communication equipment.

The county plans to switch over to a new law enforcement and emergency personnel communication system early next year. Since the towns use the county dispatcher as well, they must also buy the same equipment.

No agreement on the issue has been reached.

Those who attended the Dumfries meeting welcomed the idea of a town liaison.

“I think having a good working relationship between the county and the towns is absolutely essential,” said Caddigan. “Communication is key.”

Caddigan’s district includes the towns of Dumfries and Quantico.

“I think that any liaison or interest we can get from the county, any kind of partnerships, can only be a plus for the town,” said Occoquan Mayor Patricia M. Conway who attended the Dumfries meeting.

“We are so small we need all the friends we can get,” Conway said.

“We have the same types of problems but they are different because the towns are so different,” Conway said.

Dumfries Mayor Melvin “Mel” Bray also is pleased with the town liaison idea.

“I think it is good for the towns and the county to work as a team,” Bray said. “There are a number of things from the county that [Dumfries] is lacking.”

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