By Nancy Lindsey
The Patrick County Board of Supervisors kicked off the 2016 calendar year with one of the briefest meetings in recent memory (an hour and a half, in contrast to the typical three to four hours) and a less-than-unanimous vote for the new chairmanship.
Dan River District Supervisor Roger Hayden was elected chairman Monday by a vote of 4 to 1, after being nominated by Smith River District Supervisor Crystal Harris.
All members voted in favor of Hayden’s election except Blue Ridge District Supervisor Karl Weiss, outgoing chairman.
“The last time you were chairman, you removed me from every committee I was on except one,” Weiss told Hayden. “I’m voting no.”
Weiss nominated Harris as vice chairman, and the motion was approved unanimously.
County Administrator Tom Rose presided over the meeting until the chairman was elected.
Newly-elected Mayo River District Supervisor Lock Boyce made a motion declaring Robert’s Rules of Order to be the board’s rules of governance for the coming year. It was approved unanimously.
The board also approved Boyce’s motion that the meeting schedule be kept as it is, with the board meeting at 6 p.m. on the second Monday of each month and the fourth Monday if there is sufficient businesses to warrant a meeting.
“We also reserve the right to hold special called meetings,” Boyce said.
The next item on the agenda was appointment of supervisors to committees and commissions. Hayden said he was planning to make some changes in the current appointments, and would do that at the next meeting, set for Feb. 8.
County Attorney Alan Black said the board needed to appoint a supervisor to the Patrick County Planning Commission because a meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night, Jan. 12.
“I’m going to take that myself,” Hayden said. “I was kicked off a couple of years ago.”
Hayden said he would make arrangements to be sworn in the following day.
Other committees needing supervisor representation include the broadband taskforce, Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA), E-911 Committee, personnel committee, Patrick County Public Service Authority (PSA), school board liaison committee, skateboard park committee, social services board, solid waste committee, Support to Eliminate Poverty (STEP) board, Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC), town-county liaison committee, Virginia Association of Counties (VACO), and West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC).
The meeting agenda was approved except for Rose’s recommendation that an item under old business, the coyote population, be deleted.
“So we’re taking no action on coyote control?” Boyce asked. Rose said that was correct.
The board voted unanimously to adopt a list of comprehensive economic development strategy priority projects (see related story).
That left nothing on the agenda except the opening ceremony, routine business such as payment of bills, presentation of a “click it or ticket” award to the Patrick County Sheriff’s Office (see related story), and executive session.
A delegation of representatives of the Vesta Rescue Squad attended the meeting, apparently expecting some conversation about paid emergency medical services (EMS) or quick response vehicle (QRV) discussed last month.
Boyce told the board that a volunteer protection law recently passed that gives fire and rescue volunteers full protection from liability under the county’s sovereign immunity status.
Charles Vivier asked if the law applies to members of the new Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in the county. Boyce said CERT is specifically mentioned in the law.
“Are we going to discuss paid fire and rescue tonight?” Weiss asked.
“There will be no discussion about EMS,” Hayden said, adding that it should be placed on the agenda and publicized before the board discusses it again.
Hayden and other board members welcomed the EMS volunteers at the meeting and Hayden also commended Boyce on his election as the Mayo River District supervisor.
“Thank you, I was re-elected too, and so was Mr. Fulcher (Peters Creek District supervisor),” Weiss said.
Rose said the board will get into “heavier” meetings as budget season gets underway after the first of February, with a goal of approving the budget by the end of March.