CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There are still several steps that lie ahead following the Virginia Supreme Court decision to hand over local control of the Civil War statues in Charlottesville.
Right now, Charlottesville is in limbo on its monument situation. City Councilor Lloyd Snook says that’s because the city has only received an opinion from the Supreme Court so far. They are still waiting on an official mandate to move forward.
“Right now, the question is when will the Supreme Court really issue its order? It’s issued an opinion, but the opinion isn’t the same as the order,” Snook said. “We have to wait for the mandate to come down and that may be days, weeks, or months from now.”
Snook estimates the order or mandate will come down within the next three months.
“The mandate could be issued as early as next week, but if the other side says we’re going to ask the court to rehear this matter, it will be longer,” he said. Snook says he doubts that will happen.
“One of the key predictors is whether there was a dissent. There was no dissent, so it’s not likely that they will rehear it but, you know, the Supreme Court does what the Supreme Court does,” Snook said.
In the meantime, Charlottesville City Council is planning to set aside time to hear from the public about the statues.
“We can begin action and we can begin considering those public hearings and so on, even while we wait for the mandate,” Snook said. “So we can begin to do some of this stuff. It just won’t happen instantly.”
Another part of the planning process is money.
“These statues are large, the stone pedestals are immense. It’s going to be very expensive,” Snook said. “I think we’ve tentatively figured it will be maybe $400,000 to remove them.”
Snook says there has been some back and forth about how to pay for it.
“One of the questions that has come up is whether we would allow someone to take it away for free if they offered, would we want to do that?” Snook said. “Some people feel very firmly, no, it doesn’t matter what the cost is, we shouldn’t do that.”
Snook says the city budgeted for the removal of the monuments and has the money set aside.
“But if we don’t have to spend it so much the better,” Snook said. “It’s also been suggested that we shouldn’t allow them to see the light of day ever again in any other place and the way to solve this problem is to have a GoFundMe page to raise $400,000 to cart them away.”
Snook says all of these opinions will be discussed and worked out, but the most important thing is to make sure everything is done legally.
“We’ve waited three years, we can wait three months,” Snook said. “We’re moving in the right direction and things are going the way we want them to go. Let’s do it right, let’s do it carefully, let’s do it slowly and get it done.”