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Pittsylvania County is making efforts to strategically focus the purpose of boards and commissions while improving training opportunities.
"We are working to improve the resources and guidance available to every Pittsylvania County board and commission to ensure that each is well-positioned to make significant positive impacts on our community," said Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman. “Pittsylvania County wants every board and commission to have a clearly defined purpose and the necessary tools and knowledge to carry out its responsibilities.”
Pittsylvania County has a wide range of citizen-led boards and commissions that range in function from providing guidance to making financial decisions in economic development to making recommendations. The members of each of these boards and commissions are appointed.
The Community Development Department, which works closely with the Planning Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals, has implemented a new pay-scale that incentivizes certification for both boards. An in-person training that will allow members of both boards to get certified began earlier this week. Currently, all board members make $200 per meeting - except for the chairman who makes $250 - but under the new guidelines that the Board of Supervisors implemented those who haven't been certified will receive $100 per meeting.
"These Boards have tremendous responsibility for guiding the development of our community," said Pittsylvania County Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale. "Since their decisions could have lasting impacts, it is our obligation to provide awareness to the applicable codes and ordinances that govern their decision-making."
The Planning Commission and Board of Zoning appeals oversee and make the final decisions on special use permits for everything from gaming parlors to utility-scale solar projects, all of which can impact future developments and adjacent property owners. The Planning Commission also makes recommendations on rezoning requests, which then go before the Board of Supervisors.
Regional economic development arms such as the Pittsylvania County Industrial Development Authority, the Danville-Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority (RIFA) and the Staunton River RIFA, which also includes the Town of Hurt, will be guided by a recently adopted regional economic development plan. Adopted by a recently formed regional economic development alliance between the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and several area institutions, this comprehensive plan focuses on collaboration and coordination and formalizes the partnership between the two localities.
“Economic development is a regional effort,” said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “These official partnerships and strategic plans will help guide the efforts of our RIFA boards and Industrial Development Authority to improve our county and entire region.”
The Pittsylvania County Fire and Rescue Commission, which was formally established in the beginning of this year, has been working closely with county administration, public safety personnel, and volunteer fire and rescue agencies to establish a strategic plan that will guide fire and rescue decision-making moving forward.The commission was established to work with the Public Safety Department to provide recommendations and oversee strategic planning for all fire and emergency medical services provided in Pittsylvania County.
"We have a great group of experienced fire and rescue personnel and informed citizens on the commission, and we believe that we have defined the group's purpose to best benefit our entire public safety system," said Ron Scearce, Vice-Chairman of the Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors and a member of the Fire and Rescue Commission.