VINTON–Mike Altizer has been elected to serve as chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors for 2013. This is his third time to serve in that position since he was appointed to the Board in 2002. At that time, Altizer was chosen by the Board to replace Dr. Harry C. Nickens who had resigned to accept a position in Kentucky.
Altizer ran unopposed for the Board in 2003 and 2005. In 2009, he defeated opponent Patrick Patterson, in a close election won by a handful of votes.
His current four-year term on the Board expires on December 31, 2013. In February, he will announce whether he plans to run for re-election in the fall.
Altizer lives in the Mount Pleasant area of the County, which is part of the Vinton Magisterial District. Roanoke County is divided into five districts, each with about 18,000 residents. Lines are redrawn with each census to keep the districts relatively equal in size.
Raised in the Roanoke area, Altizer graduated from Northside High School. He has been married for forty-four years to his wife Barbara. They have four children and 18 grand and great grandchildren at this point.
Altizer retired as Regional Operations Manager for Monroe Muffler and Brake. Finding himself with “too much time on his hands” he has since become a project manager for the Western Virginia Water Authority.
He first became interested in serving on the Board when Mount Pleasant was planning to dismiss its only paid firefighter. He had served as Vice President of the Mount Pleasant Civic League and had always followed community issues.
“I wanted to be a Supervisor to help make things better for the citizens of Roanoke County, and to make the County a better place to live,” said Altizer.
As for being elected Chairman of the Board once again, Altizer says that holding the position doesn’t confer any special influence.
“You only get one vote on issues whether you are Chair or not,” said Altizer. “Being Chair just means you spend more time on the job.”
Altizer estimates that he spends a couple of hours daily on the phone doing Board business in addition to the meetings he attends. As for day to day issues, Altizer speaks with citizens most frequently about issues of significance to them personally—noise in their neighborhoods, street maintenance, and the like.
He currently serves on the Audit, Roanoke County Cable Television, Roanoke Regional Partnership, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Stormwater Management, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Water Policy, Roanoke Valley Regional Cable Television, and School Construction Committees. He is the Legislative Contact for the Virginia Association of Counties and Chairman of the Western Virginia Regional Jail Authority.
In his years on the Board, Altizer feels he has had the most impact on the lives of County residents by his work to build the regional jail during a time when there was a moratorium on the construction of new jails; by saving taxpayer money in helping to create Roanoke County’s own Police Academy to train officers; and by helping to institute “funding formulas” which have enabled the County to complete school renovations. His efforts to push forward the Green Ridge Recreation Center have brought the County increased revenues and public safety has been improved by the hiring of more career firefighters with his encouragement.
As far as Vinton in particular goes, Altizer has been instrumental in forming the partnership between Roanoke County and the Town, which enabled them to purchase of property in downtown Vinton for the construction of a new public library.
In 2011, the Town and County joined together to purchase the Dunman and Peters property within the town limits. Each agreed to pay half of the purchase price of $1,255,000. Vinton will pay $627,500 for the property as its half over a ten year period.
In September 2012, at Altizer’s urging, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors approved funding of $567,900 for the Architectural and Engineering phase of the project. The County is in the process of interviewing and hiring the design firm, and Altizer hopes to see actual construction begin on the project in the latter part of 2013. The county will bear the entire construction cost of the new library building.
The library is an integral part of the newly funded Downtown Revitalization project in Vinton, which Altizer views as vital to drawing new businesses to the area. In addition to the plans for the library, the County Economic Development Authority shares responsibility with the Town for the Façade grant program to improve storefronts in the downtown area.
Altizer is also proud of the partnerships between the County and Town that have resulted in renovations to the Vinton War Memorial, construction of the High Ground Veterans Monument there, establishment of the Roanoke County Emergency Communications Center through a merger of 911 dispatch services, and the construction of the Town’s rescue squad building.
“I humbly take this Chairmanship very seriously,” said Altizer at the Board meeting after his election on January 8. “It’s going to be a challenging year, but with all challenges we have opportunities. I firmly believe that Roanoke County will come out again on top in the end as we always have.”