James S. Artz, who served the town of Louisa as its mayor for eight years and as a council member for seven years, served his last day on Monday, June 30.
While presiding over his final town council meeting on June 17, council members and town employees surprised Artz with two resolutions marking his service to the town, citizens and town employees.
Council member Mary Jane Clarke told Artz she has never served on council without him and didn’t know what she was going to do.
“We appreciate your work and will miss you,” Clarke said.
Artz never saw himself becoming involved in politics until he served on town council in 1995. In 2006, he was approached by former mayor Charles Rosson and fellow council members Pamela H. Stone and Clarke to run for mayor.
He recalls when he, Stone and Clarke rode together to attend a meeting in Richmond. Artz, who was sitting in the backseat, told the ladies he would buy the donuts if they would stop at a local donut shop. Pulling in, he said he tried to get out of the car and asked Stone to unlock the door. She refused until he signed the paperwork to run for mayor.
“So to get donuts, I had to run for mayor,” Artz said laughing.
Artz has enjoyed his eight years as town mayor and says it’s the employees he’ll miss the most. Artz praised town staff for their professionalism and contends they are as good or better than most other town’s employees.
Artz said he will miss working with them on a day-to-day basis, along with visiting the local town’s businesses.
In the resolution to Artz, town employees praised him for his kindness and generosity, saying they felt privileged to call him “boss.”
One accomplishment Artz is extremely proud of is the town’s ability to provide discounts on water and sewer bills for low-income and disabled customers.
Senators Tom Garrett and Bryce Reeves helped Artz get a bill into the senate to allow the town of Louisa the option to offer the discount.
“Because of our size we didn’t qualify, so we had to get a special law passed through the General Assembly,” Artz said.
The Town of Louisa is now the only town of its size of more than 1,500 residents in the state able to give its low-income and disabled customers discounts.
The town set up a fund in the budget that has allowed it to dispense money on an as needed basis to qualified families or individuals to help with payment.
Artz was instrumental in convincing Peebles Department Store to come to Louisa. Along with Rosson, Artz worked on getting Farmers Foods, now Food Depot, to re-open.
To read the entire story, see the July 3 edition of The Central Virginian.