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Strategic plan has audience tonight / April 15, 2019

Halifax County and town officials will meet tonight for the unveiling of the Community-Wide Strategic Plan, a roadmap for economic growth that will presented by SVHEC executive director Betty Adams and Chamber of Commerce President Mitzi McCormick.

The introduction of the Community Strategic Plan is one of the major items on the agenda for the joint meeting of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors and town councils of South Boston and Halifax. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Bethune Office Complex in Halifax.

Stakeholders in the strategic plan — local government officials, business leaders, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, Sentara Halifax Regional Health, the Hailfax County Chamber of Commerce and others — came together to hire an Atlanta-based consultancy, Main Street Services, to advise a local steering committee on ways to grow Halifax County’s economy and improve the quality of life over coming decades.

Envisioned as a turnaround strategy, the Community-Wide Strategic Plan is expected to lean on the major findings from a community survey conducted by Main Street Services. Those findings highlight the need for better school facilities, a higher level of community educational attainment and stepped-up recruitment of manufacturing jobs.

In remarks January at the SVHEC, Main Street consultant Matt DeVeau advised against trying to “paint around the margins” and said “bold action” is needed to reverse the county’s population decline and shrinking labor force. “What we see are some fairly concerning numbers right off the bat,” said DeVeau of the county’s population trends.

Supervisors and Council members have other major items on tonight’s agenda to hash over:

» They will hear an overview of the county’s new public safety communications system, by digital radio system provider Ron Wells of Motorola.

» They will receive a report on the local YMCA from Anthony Walters, chief strategy officer for the Y.

» Steve Dishman, county emergency services director, will provide an update on Hurricane Michael and FEMA’s response.

» County Administrator Scott Simpson will lead a general discussion of the funding needs of the county’s rescue squads and the status of the county recycling program.

The 6 p.m. meeting is open to the public.

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