County News Flash GXX

CHATHAM, Va. — Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday evening to discuss revisions to a solar facility and hear concerns about the proposed redistricting.

The Boy Scouts opened the meeting with the pledge of allegiance and Pittsylvania County Finance Director Kim Van Der Hyde presented the Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services (DPCS) report.

The tag line was #DPCSStrong, and she went into more details.

“Throughout social media, the hashtag symbol connects trends and people together where there is a common thread," Van Der Hyde said. "The entire world has lived and experienced the COVID-19 pandemic for nearly two years, and this year is a reflection on and recognition of an entire year of DPCS’s operations providing critical services to our community without waver.”

Van Der Hyde gave another example of this during the height of the pandemic.

“At the height of the pandemic, providing face-to-face services become instantly and chaotically disrupted which quickly turned into a new normal," she continued. "Nonetheless, DPCS services reached 5,000 individuals in clinical treatments and prevention outreach programs.”

Gayle Barts read a letter from Dr. Martha Walker, who could not attend. It was about the "Vote Yes 4 PCS" 1 percent sales tax referendum, which failed by a narrow margin after this month's general election.

The report written by Walker said she was still with the question why the referendum did not pass, so on Nov. 8, an email went out to voters to help explain why roughly 50 percent of the community said no. However, due to the sample size, the results were not statistically significant, but the comments are informative.

“As of this morning, 146 responses were received, the majority voted no because they did not want another tax," Barts read. "Others questioned how Pittsylvania County schools were using the available funds and others reported a lack of trust in the governing body.”

She continued, “Tuesday, Nov. 9, Pittsylvania County school board voted unanimously to request a recount of the election results and if necessary seek permission to place the question on the 2022 ballot.”

Barts also indicated Walker shared 52 percent of the 146 responders would like for Pittsylvania County to be given a second opportunity to vote on the 1 percent sales tax question.

“To me, that shows the percentage may indicate that some voters didn’t fully understand the question that was on the ballot,” she said.

Supervisor Vic Ingram (Tunstall) read a resolution congratulating Hardy Petroleum on 100 years in service. Owner Billy Hardy gave his thanks to the employees and customers.

“The customers make this company. Without y’all, we wouldn’t be here," Ingram said. "It’s the employees that make it go day-to-day operation, and of course without the customers, we wouldn’t have any employees and we wouldn’t have a job. I know my great uncle and my father would be mighty proud.”

The first public hearing was a revision to Pittsylvania County solar farm ordinance. Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale presented with staff recognizing boundaries and buffer zones and wanted to expand said zone from 15 feet to 100 feet plus add language to decommission.

Supervisor Timothy Dudley (Staunton River) made motion and was approved with a 7-0 vote.

The second and last public hearing is about the proposed redistricting. Henry Myers spoke for the NAACP.

Myers gave concerns about the redistricting citing population decreasing since 2010. He mentioned the black population has been scattered all across the county, and as a result, the school needs to look at long-term plans.

“With the trend in decrease in population, the county and school system need to take a good look at their long-term plans and reevaluate based on population trends,” he said.

There were three plans presented that are open to discussion until Nov. 30, and Myers and the NAACP support plan A, citing concerns of not diluting the Black vote.

“It is better for this county to be represented by all of its citizens than for a large group of one citizen to be left out of the decision making process," Myers said. "Plan A allows for the best chance to have blacks to have representation, but it is not a guarantee. It at least gives blacks a fighting chance at representation.”

The board took no action and will not make a decision until after Nov. 30.

Staff Writer

Zach McKnight joined the Star-Tribune from Wadsworth, Ohio, as a staff writer. Zach earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

(1) comment

Rustycorvair

Dr. Walker. We understood the question and "no" means no. Thank you.

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