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Staunton Voices Legislative Wish List to General Assembly - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Staunton Voices Legislative Wish List to General Assembly

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Staunton City Council members have some strong ideas on what they want the general assembly to do and stop doing. Thursday, council is set to approve its legislative wish list.

Council members will meet face-to-face with state Senator Emmett Hanger to share their legislative agenda.  Near the top are protecting the city's water supply, protecting citizens from what they call "predatory lenders," and protecting the city's own bottom line.

Staunton will join cities and counties all over Virginia in asking the general assembly to end the practice known as "Aid to the Commonwealth."  Councilman Bruce Elder says it began as an emergency measure several years ago, for localities to help the state balance its budget.  Last year it cost Staunton about $250,000 dollars.

"That translates into three firefighters and three teachers, for instance, or three police officers and three firefighters. These are locally collected dollars that we would prefer to use on local personnel or local projects," said Bruce Elder of Staunton City Council.

Staunton City Council will also ask for a moratorium on hydro-fracking, which extracts natural gas from bedrock shale. The city says it could contaminate its groundwater sources in western Augusta County.

Staunton will again ask the general assembly to crack down on high-interest payday lenders. Council says the practice contributes to the "cycle of debt" for struggling families.

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