For a fourth and likely last time, Richard Flora expects to represent the Hollins District on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors.
So far, he is running unopposed for the seat, which is one of three up for election this year. He relishes the additional time to put his imprint on the county.
“Roanoke County has made some great strides in planning for the future,” Flora said while taking a break from his part time job as Craig County Administrator recently. “That has made this slowdown in the economy a whole lot easier for us to deal with. We had a lot of opportunities to make adjustments that really didn’t hurt the primary services.”
That includes schools, which have been able to absorb any state and federal cuts and continue with renovations and upgrades.
The county is moving forward with a recreational facility in North County, which Flora supported. The project, funded as part of a $58 million capital improvement bond issue, will open around Christmas. The project has received criticism, which Flora shrugs off.
“It wasn’t real controversial when we were going through the process,” he said. The facility should open around Christmas.
He also supports construction of a Wal-Mart in the Clearbrook area of the county, another contentious project.
“They will eventually build it,” he said.
He credits Roanoke County’s “diverse economy” with bringing good fortune to the community. “Roanoke has not suffered like the rest of the world,” he said. “We haven’t had rapid growth here. You want managed growth, and I think that’s what we’ve been able to achieve.”
Flora, always upbeat in conversations about his community, calls himself a team player who loves local government. “I’ve got a little over 40 years in Virginia local government,” he said. “I enjoy it and a lot of people think I’m insane.”
Flora first served on the Board of Supervisors for a single term in 1972; he did not return to Roanoke County politics again for 30 years. He served as Director of Operations for Roanoke County Schools for 10 years, a position that he said has gone a long way toward improving the relationship between the school board and county administration. He retired from Roanoke County Schools in 2006.
A graduate of William Byrd High School and Roanoke College, Flora has spent all of his life in north Roanoke County. He raised two children there; a son is with Roanoke City Fire EMS and his daughter works in accounting in Salem.
“This will be the last term that I’ll run,” the 68-year-old said. “I’ll be ready to retire after this.”
The Vinton and Windsor Hills seats on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors are also up for election this year. Incumbents Michael W. Altizer and Joseph P. McNamara will face challengers in their runs for office. To date Patrick Patterson, a William Byrd High School guidance counselor, has filed to run against Altizer (Vinton), and retired engineer Ed Elswick of Bent Mountain has filed to run against McNamara in Windsor Hills.