By Cory L. Higgs
The Patrick County Board of Supervisors is experiencing a shift, with three new members joining the ranks in January.
Oncoming board members include Denise Stirewalt of the Peters Creek District, Clayton Kendrick of the Mayo River District, and Clyde Deloach of the Blue Ridge District. Accompanying them are Crystal Harris, of the Smith River District and Jane Fulk, of the Dan River District.
Harris said her resolutions for the new year include helping to forge a united and cooperative front for Patrick County.
“I want to develop good working relations between the Board of Supervisors and good relations with the School Board and other newly elected and appointed member of Patrick County government,” she said.
Harris said that while there are a lot of projects on her radar for the new year; her top priority is working to balance the budget and help address the financial issues plaguing the county.
“The issue wasn’t created overnight, and I doubt it will be resolved as such. We will take it one step, and one bite, at a time,” she said.
Harris is looking forward to the potential cooperation of the board and other aspects of the local government.
If asked for a statement to encapsulate the board’s work in the coming year, Harris said “I hope that we tried our hardest. We are going forward to do our best for the people.”
She jokingly added that she never makes personal resolutions because she hates to break them.
Deloach’s resolutions echo his desire to be the best supervisor possible. Deloach said that 2020 would be a year of learning, and from that, he hopes to serve the community in a more informed manner.
“I want to be the best supervisor that I can be. Therefore, I intend to spend 2020 learning all that I can about the job. I have already attended one seminar offered by Davenport Associates. I will attend a seminar offered by VACO (Virginia Association of Counties) in March and will look for other opportunities” to learn, he said.
“Of course, I will learn from the county government, my fellow supervisors and the public,” he said.
If asked about his top priority, Deloach said he is unable to narrow it down to one, but will try to address three main issues: the budget crisis, health care, and transparency.
Deloach said he is optimistic about the upcoming year, and that he has the utmost confidence in his new board colleagues and their ability to work together with more experienced board members to make much-needed changes.
“It will not happen overnight, but we must start somewhere and move forward with confidence,” he said.
Deloach noted that he also is looking forward to the challenges and the new path of being a supervisor.
“It is an honor to be chosen as a supervisor. I look forward to using my unique blend of talents and gifts to do the best job possible for Patrick County. It will be exciting to seek out other individuals who have a similar passion,” he said.
Like many people, Deloach has a few personal resolutions he’d like to make a reality. Still, his main focus is working on taking better care of his self physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Deloach’s statement for the year is, “Do your best, and if you do so, do not allow negative circumstances or negative messages to get you down. Work with others, since no one person can do everything well. Finally, be patient with yourself and your circumstances. Problems take a while to develop, and they take time to solve,” he said.
Stirewalt has set her sight on bettering her county, with goals that include finding revenue-generating resources to offset a real estate tax increase in 2020; implementing a 24 hour healthcare plan within the next two years; holding monthly community outreach meetings in her district to gather concerns and ideas; improving employee morale and lastly, “to complete an updated Employee Handbook and ensure that all employees understand policies and procedures, and are held accountable if those policies and procedures are not followed,” she said.
Like other board members, Stirewalt said she can’t limit the list to just one priority. The budget, health care, and researching state mandates to lessen burdens on small communities are among her top priorities.
With vigor and excitement, Stirewalt said she is “Optimistic. I’m confident the current board and the board elect will be able to work diligently together to resolve some of the issues facing our county.”
Stirewalt said she never makes resolutions; instead, she prays daily for the Lord to guide her on her journey.
“A question I will ask myself next January is, ‘Did you do everything you possibly could to implement procedures to strengthen the county’s financial state, to gain the confidence of the citizens, and to work towards repairing the county’s reputation to make our county a place new business wants to be in the future,” Stirewalt said.
Kendrick resolves to work hard and look forward with optimism. His goals for the year are working with his constituents to better work with and serve the people of the county. “My top priority for 2020 is to improve Patrick County by listening to the people and working together with all the departments of our county government and state agencies,” Kendrick said.
He is looking forward to settling into his new post and balancing the county’s upcoming budget.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Kendrick said, and noted that Patrick County’s problems also will not be solved overnight.
Kendrick said his personal resolution is to strive to prove himself to the people who have placed confidence in him this past election.
Kendrick’s statement for the upcoming year is: “I want the people and myself to remember that any potential decisions and sacrifices we may make are for the good of the county.”
At the end of the year, he plans to review the board’s work.
“I hope we steered it in the right direction so it can be better preserved for our children and grandchildren for generations to come. We have a great county and great people. We need to keep it that way.”
Fulk was unavailable for comment.