Home Waynesboro takes step to move Voter Registrar office to new permanent location

Waynesboro takes step to move Voter Registrar office to new permanent location

Crystal Graham
(© Gary L Hider – stock.adobe.com)

The Waynesboro Voter Registrar’s Office may soon be on the move again, as Waynesboro City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to allow the city manager to execute a purchase agreement with Valley Star Credit Union at 501 W. Broad St.

City Council members Jim Wood and Kenny Lee voted against the authorization.

Vice Mayor Jim Wood said he could not support the purchase of the building for several reasons.

“I believe the cost is too much,” Wood said. “And I also don’t agree with payment terms. The purchase price is $232,300 over the assessed value. And I know how real estate is, I know you’re going to pay more, but I think that’s a little bit on the too much side.”

Wood said he thinks before council spends the money, the building should be offered to the public, and that should determine the actual value and potentially help the city avoid paying more than the building is worth.

“I understand there’s a deadline to have the office move before the next election cycle that is required by law,” Wood said. “Even though temporary, the current locations has with some adjustments met the needs of the office.

“The library has generously made concessions to accommodate the registrar’s office which has been inconvenient at times,” Wood said. “Sometimes we all must make concessions until a better option is available, and I’m not convinced that the purchase of this building at the cost and terms provided are the best option.”

Waynesboro City Council member Terry Short disagreed. Short said the cost to build a space to accommodate the registrar would likely be far more expensive than the bank purchase.

“While inconvenient, and inconveniently timed … the opportunity cost is real and appropriate to make this purchase at this time,” Short said.

The voter registrar office was relocated from the Gorsuch Building to the lower floor of the Waynesboro Public Library in August 2022. The move was necessary to free up more space for the Circuit Court to improve security.

However, the move was considered temporary as it limits the library’s use of its own building.

The credit union building is 2,207 square feet, and the mutually agreed purchase price is $662,100. According to the Waynesboro City Council briefing, “the drive through, security features and vault make the facility well suited for the registrar’s needs.”

Two additional ordinances were introduced Monday night – an ordinance to move forward with the purchase of the building and an ordinance to formally relocate the registrar office to 501 W. Broad Street. Both ordinances will be up for final consideration at the Dec. 11 council meeting.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.