Augusta County supervisors spend more than $8K on courthouse ads

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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Controversy over an upcoming referendum to move the Augusta County courthouse continues after it's been revealed that board members spent money on referendum ads without a public vote.

One person particularly upset with that board decision is Augusta County Board member Marshall Pattie - the only board member against the courthouse move from Staunton to Verona.

The Chair of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, Carolyn Bragg, told WHSV that more than 30,000 homes were mailed brochures with information about the upcoming courthouse referendum.

She said that it cost around $8,800, but that doesn't include the cost of ads in valley newspapers.

Marshall Pattie said what the board did when it comes to advertising the move isn't right.

"Since I've been on the board for five years, we have never, not once, voted on a substantial amount of money in private," said Pattie. "It's against our policy, and this is something we have never done before and we've never done it for political activities."

Those words came after Pattie found out that six of the seven board members agreed to spend money to spread information about the courthouse referendum without getting a public vote's approval.

Board member Terry Kelley said what they did was legal.

"We did talk to the county attorney to make sure all the information was neutral," Kelley said. "That it was just informing the public of the upcoming referendum."

While Pattie said he doesn't agree with how things were handled, he hopes voters think about all the courthouse facts carefully next Tuesday.

"We can make the courthouse efficient for a lot less money than building a new one. Make it safe, make it reliable, make it efficient.," said Pattie. "But save enough money so that we have other opportunities to improve the county, such as internet, such as roads."

The vote for the courthouse referendum will take place on November 8th during election day. Only those in Augusta County can vote on the courthouse referendum.

You can see the brochure that was mailed out in the 'Related Documents' section of this article.