<img class="alignright wp-image-36215 size-thumbnail" src="https:\/\/theenterprise.net\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/23\/2020\/06\/meeting_1593439499-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="150" height="150" \/>By Taylor Boyd\r\n\r\nThe Patrick County Board of Supervisors set nine goals as part of its strategic plan at a July 23 retreat. The goals are to be completed before the end of the year.\r\n\r\nCharles Hargrove, director of Virginia Student Government at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia (UVA), facilitated the retreat.\r\n\r\nHe said the goals can be accomplished in six-months and will help with the board\u2019s long-term goals.\r\n\r\n\u201cOnce you get through all of this, you\u2019ll be better for it,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nThe goals can be broken down into three categories: finances, board-committee relationships, and healthcare.\r\n\r\n<strong>Finance<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe board plans to create a financial policy to prepare for the upcoming fiscal year.\r\n\r\nClyde DeLoach, of the Blue Ridge District, said the policy will include a contingency plan and will define what an emergency point is and when the emergency funds can be used.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe don\u2019t want it to get as bad as it was,\u201d Crystal Harris, of the Smith River District, added.\r\n\r\nDenise Stirewalt, of the Peters Creek District, said another goal is to review the option of a cigarette tax. \u201cThis would raise more taxes for the county\u201d and would raise funds for future budgets, she said.\r\n\r\n<strong>Board-committee relationships<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe board plans to do some internal housekeeping in the upcoming months and develop some standards of conduct for its employees and committees. The group also consented that a policy on the accountability and expectation of the appointed boards is needed.\r\n\r\nHargrove said the supervisors also wish to implement a workplace culture change. He said the change is a long time coming that County Administrator Geri Hazelwood hasn\u2019t had time to start yet.\r\n\r\n\u201cGeri hasn\u2019t had much time to be here in her role, and also there\u2019s the business of the pandemic that\u2019s taken a lot of time and energy on everyone\u2019s part,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nClayton Kendrick, of the Mayo River District, said this goal should be easy to accomplish because the county now has an employee dedicated solely to human resources.\r\n\r\nStirewalt said the board plans to restructure the roles of some of the departments, with the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) being at the forefront of that goal.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe EDA has the mindset that they\u2019re going to run the board of supervisors, and you\u2019re going to do what we want you to do. That\u2019s a struggle for me, is not feeling like we\u2019re players on both sides of the issue,\u201d Stirewalt said.\r\n\r\nShe added that some members of TAC are upset at the supervisors because long-term committee members were not reappointed to various boards.\r\n\r\n<strong>Healthcare<\/strong>\r\n\r\nThe board\u2019s main concern right now is improving healthcare in the county.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are working on telehealth to see if we can use each fire and rescue building to get people to that far that can\u2019t go in, or are afraid to go into a doctor\u2019s office,\u201d Harris said.\r\n\r\nA vital part of healthcare is approving the county\u2019s comprehensive plan, which looks at demographics, trends, and resources, and projects what they will look like in the future. The plan will also provide information for infrastructure and other long-term projects.\r\n\r\nJane Fulk, of the Dan River District, said the Planning Committee and the West Piedmont Health District (WPHD) are currently working on the plan and hope to bring it before the board for a public hearing before the end of the year.\r\n\r\nHargrove suggested the board reenergize its plans and look for other partners to help with healthcare. \u201cWe\u2019re going to come up with a board-approved legislative plan. So, we can share that with our state and federal partners and say, \u2018these are the most important thing for Patrick County,\u2019\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nHealthcare transportation is also needs to take priority, Stirewalt said.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe can\u2019t rely totally on the volunteers for this because not a lot of people can volunteer since they work fulltime, and we have less paid staff than what\u2019s needed,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nStirewalt said the board could do an incentive plan to get people to volunteer or join the EMS career or restructure the department to ensure the county could have paid staff to cover what the volunteers can\u2019t.\r\n\r\nHargrove said the board should also talk to neighboring counties about doing a regionalized approach to fire and EMS.\r\n\r\n\u201cHonestly, you sort of have to band together\u201d since geography and distance are the biggest challenge for rural counties, he said.\r\n\r\nIn other matters, the board:\r\n\r\n*Discussed its strengths, identified as communication between the board, staff, and administrator, and day-to-day planning. It\u2019s one weakness was planning.\r\n\r\n*Discussed long-term goals, including broadband, improved infrastructure, and tourism, and attracting local businesses.