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Community Services Board gets new director

South Boston News
Donald A. Burge / August 06, 2010
The Southside Community Services Board has a new executive director — Donald A. Burge, who comes to the agency from a private consulting firm in Pittsburgh, PA.

Burge was introduced to the Halifax County Board of Supervisors Monday night by SCSB Interim Director Sarah C. Chipps, who noted Burge’s extensive experience with mental health agencies dealing with both children and adults. Burge’s experience spans staff recruitment, supervision and training, consultation and technical assistance, budget development and implementation, said Capps.

The new director has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida State University, a Master of Science degree in Human Services Administration from Nova Southeastern University and has completed all but his Ph.D. dissertation in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University.

His focus, Burge said, is to ensure individualized, strength based and culturally sensitive services to promote healthy development.

In response to a question from ED-4 Supervisor Doug Bowman about children’s programs, Burge said he is interested in increasing services for children and their families and finding ways to best assist them.

Also, supervisors delayed taking action on a request by Betty Wells of the Halifax County Social Services Department, who asked that her agency be allowed to carry over $41,608 in unspent funds in the previous year’s budget. Wells cited a huge increase in caseloads — for Medicaid, food stamps, fuel assistance and crisis fuel assistance — all resulting in inadequate staffing at her agency. “Many times this agency is their only safety net in these very hard economic times,” she told the Board.

But Board Chairman William I. Fitzgerald interrupted Wells during her presentation, saying that she had ample opportunity to bring that information to the Board prior to approval of the current fiscal year budget, which started in July. Board members indicated they wanted to see final budget figures for the past fiscal year before taking any action on Wells’ request.

In other business Monday night, supervisors approved a $25 fee for zoning permits. County Administrator George Nester advised that Halifax County is one of only a handful of counties that does not charge for such permits, and Nester estimated a zoning permit fee would increase county revenues by about $25,000 annually. He pointed out that both the towns of South Boston and Halifax charge $50 fees for zoning permits.

Supervisors also approved the purchase of a new gauge for the Dan River to replace the one that was installed in the late 1920s. The old gauge has undergone numerous upgrades and repairs but has failed to function properly over the past several years.

The gauge has been used to advise officials and business owners in the Riverdale area of impending flooding. Replacing the equipment will cost $1,500 and $5,000 will be needed for annual maintenance expenses. South Boston and the County of Halifax will be asked to contribute $2,000 with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers furnishing the remaining $3,000.

The Board also named two new members to the County’s Improvement Council — Fay Powell in ED-5 and Barry Tuck in ED-7. They also named Frank E. Coleman to fill the unexpired term of the late Rev. Dr. Roger Ford to the Southside Planning District Commission and re-appointed Carlyle Wimbish to the Old Dominion RC&D. Supervisor Ronnie Snead will serve as alternate.

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