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February 7, 2020

Brett Hamby seeks second Warrenton council term

Brett A. Hamby
He’s there if you want to talk to him. He’s always willing to help.
— Ward 3 resident Donna Joerger
Brett Allen Hamby
• Age: 44

• Work: Battalion chief, Prince William County Fire and Rescue; employed there since 1995.

• Home: East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton.

• Office sought: Ward 3 seat on Warrenton Town Council; four-year term starts July 1; elected to first term in 2016.

• Experience: Dispatcher, Fauquier emergency communications center, 1993-95.

• Education: Fauquier High School, 1993.

• Organizations: Warrenton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co.; joined as junior member in 1989; Warrenton Planning Commission, March 2015 to 2016.

• Family: Single; parents, Gail and Larry Hamby, live in Fauquier.

• Hobbies: Fishing.
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Staff Journalist
The first-term Warrenton town councilman likes public service.

“I think the best part of this job has been the citizens you’re able to help,” said Brett A. Hamby, who on Friday announced he will seek re-election to represent Ward 3 on the seven-member panel.

Four more years on the council would give him another chance to do more of that.

Another term also would allow him to help complete some unfinished council business, including construction projects, explained the Prince William County fire and rescue battalion chief. He chairs the council’s Public Utilities Committee and serves on the Finance Committee.

“I think that this council has made a lot of progress in the last four years and there’s still more stuff to do,” Mr. Hamby, 44, said.

Meeting the town’s infrastructure demands remains “one of our biggest challenges,” he said of road, water and sewer treatment projects. “It’s tough keeping up on all of that. We’ve had to invest a lot of time and effort to catch up.”

The May 5 election will feature all five ward seats on the council. Warrenton citizens in 2018 elected the two at-large council members and the mayor to four-year terms.

So far, Mr. Hamby alone has declared for the Ward 3 seat. In 2016, he narrowly defeated Ken Henson, getting 51.9 percent of the vote. Mr. Hamby received 135 votes and Dr. Henson 125.

All candidates have until March 3 to file the required paperwork with Fauquier’s General Registrar a 528 Waterloo Road.

Mr. Hamby’s list of council accomplishments during the last four years includes:

• The Nov. 21 purchase of the former BB&T bank at 21 Main St. for a new Town Hall.

“The thought was to consolidate all of our people back into one Town Hall,” Mr. Hamby said of $2.2-million acquisition.

In part, that will allow the town to reduce expenses related to renting office space for staff, he said.

The new Town Hall property also provides onsite parking, which the existing one lacks, Mr. Hamby added.

• Pedestrian and motorist-related safety improvements, including repairs to “dilapidated crosswalks,” the installation of “bump-outs” at Fifth and Main streets and the construction of a roundabout at Falmouth and East Shirley Avenue across from Walmart.

The roundabout “has reduced the overall speed” along that portion of East Shirley Avenue by “about 10 mph,” Mr. Hamby said.

• Numerous technology upgrades. Before the current council took office, the town didn’t broadcast public meetings via its website.

“Now, I feel like we do everything in front of anybody that wants to watch,” Mr. Hamby said.

In his 2016 campaign, he called for greater government “transparency,” particularly in budget review matters.

For example, unlike when he took office, citizens today can read the budget on the town’s website — no longer needing to come Town Hall to get a paper copy of it, he noted.

In an effort to government more citizen-friendly, the council meeting room also has a pair of large wall-mounted monitors that allow citizens to read documents as the panel discusses them, he said.

During the current council’s term, Town Hall got wireless internet service, Mr. Hamby added.

His first campaign for the Ward 3 seat emphasized the value of economic development.

To help promote business growth, the council in the last four years has cut the Business, Professional and Occupational License tax and established an accelerated business permit review process, he said.

Along with Experience Old Town Warrenton, the council generally has helped create a more welcoming business climate, Mr. Hamby suggested.

Partly because of their efforts, Mr. Hamby believes Main Street today has far fewer empty shops.

“When I ran the first time, Main Street had like 12 vacant storefronts,” he noted. “I think right now it has two or three.”

Home Goods also has opened a store in the old Sears building at the Warrenton Village Center — further evidence of the town’s appeal as a place to do business, Mr. Hamby suggested.

Economic development remains a priority for the council, he said.

“We certainly want to continue our commercial base,” he said. “One of the things I just asked for at the last council meeting is a (zoning ordinance) text amendment review for our commercial zoning up and down Broadview Avenue” in response to merchants’ concerns related to current parking, landscaping, buffering and property setback requirements.

Those issues emerged during the study and review of the $8.6-million Broadview Avenue construction project, Mr. Hamby said.

The plan includes the construction of medians and pedestrian crosswalks along almost a mile of Broadview. Work should begin in 2022.

Donna Joerger, who lives in Ward 3, has known the councilman for about five years.

“I think he’s fantastic because of what he’s doing for the town and us,” she said of Mr. Hamby. “We never had a voice” until he joined the council. “We didn’t know who our councilman was, basically.”

Parking problems had plagued her Hillsborough neighborhood along Aviary Street, said Ms. Joerger, 64.

For example, people parked vehicles in unmarked crosswalk areas, inconveniencing pedestrians, she said.

Mr. Hamby met with homeowners to hear their concerns, Ms. Joerger said. Soon after that, town workers painted hash-marked crosswalks to distinguish them from parking spaces, she said.

A broken fence that separates Hillsborough from the Warrenton Branch Greenway also needed repair, said Ms. Joerger, a Fauquier Bank collections specialist.

After Mr. Hamby learned of that, town workers fixed the fence, she said.

Ms. Joerger described the councilman as accessible and responsive.

“He’s there if you want to talk to him,” she said. “He’s always willing to help.”

In October, James N. Hartman announced that he will campaign for the Ward 4 council seat. If elected, he would succeed, Bob Kravetz, who will not seek a third term.

Jerry Wood (Ward 1) will not seek a second term. In August 2014, the council appointed Mr. Wood to the vacant seat. He succeeded Powell Duggan, who resigned the month before to begin a four-year term as mayor.

Incumbents Alec Burnett (Ward 2) and Kevin Carter (Ward 5) have not announced whether they will seek re-election.

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.
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