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Halifax prepares budget for vote

$100 mil cost cap for proposed Mecklenburg County school complex is elusive goal

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Opinion

The rest of the story

SoVaNow.com / March 05, 2015

Dear Viewpoint:

Regarding the article in the Wednesday Feb. 25, 2015 edition of The Gazette Virginian, I feel that several important and cogent points were left out.

First, it is important that the public be made fully aware of why the individual elected to the Chairmanship of the Board of Supervisors is so significant. The Chairman appoints committee chairman and members of each of the operating committees who are responsible for the running of Halifax County business. This has a tremendous affect upon the direction in which Halifax County moves. These committee chairmen, such as the finance committee chairman, can and do influence the expenditures of county funds for such entities as the IDA, Tourism, Library, Prizery, YMCA, etc., as well as influencing the awarding of contracts for construction projects.

Secondly, with regards to the failure of the House Bill 2319 to add an additional Supervisor, even if the Bill had passed, the election of an at Large Supervisor would not have taken place until the November 2015 election and the individual would not assume the Office until Jan. 1, 2016. In addition, Halifax County is under an agreement with the Department of Justice until 2021 and is restricted by this agreement from changing Districts and minority influence on elections.

Third, I contacted Mr. Edmund’s office and expressed my disapproval of Bill 2319 which he had introduced into the House. In your article, Mr. Edmunds admits that he was contacted directly by two supervisors, Bowman and Claiborne, and indirectly by Giordano, none of whom supported House Bill 2319. The Supervisors are elected by the voters to conduct the business of the Halifax County. Even though a “ton” of citizens had contacted Delegate Edmunds regarding have an odd number of Supervisors on the Board, Members of the Board are responsible for initiating any such requests to the Legislature.

Fourth, the Offices of both Senators Ruff and Stanley were contacted by me prior to the vote in the Senate on Monday Feb. 23. I indicated to both that an e-mail had been sent by Mr. Claiborne and signed by Nunn, Pannell, Claiborne and me to Senator McEachin indicating that we wished him to oppose the legislation “because local matters should be decided by the local people and not by state government.” Senator Stanley returned my phone call and indicated that the sentiment in the Senate was that the State should not get involved in local politics. The full Senate killed the legislation. Fact is that if the Legislature becomes involved in local politics, then the State Government will want full control.

Finally, at every Board Reorganization meeting in January of each year, the subject of the Election of an at large tie breaker has been voted on and rejected. At the last several meetings, the tie Breaker had been discussed and rejected, usually by the full board.

Knowledge of the facts surrounding the dispute over the election of a chairman is not fully known by many in the county. The lack of such knowledge and interest in county government by citizens is in my estimation of why Halifax is in the situation it finds itself. It has been said the “citizens get the government they want.”

Barry Bank

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