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The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors held a busy day of meetings on Tuesday afternoon and evening. Below are some of the highlights.
The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency in preparation for the severe winter weather that is anticipated to hit our region beginning on February 18. This comes after severe winter weather and ice slammed our region Friday night into Saturday, downing trees and power lines.
"We saw how significant the impact that this past weekend's ice and winter weather had on our community, and we want to enable our emergency department to respond as needed in the coming days," said Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
The National Weather Service is currently projecting that the majority of Pittsylvania County could be hit with over half an inch of ice, and future updates could feature higher amounts. Ice accumulations are expected to lead to downed trees and power lines, just as they did with the winter weather on February 13.
"Pittsylvania County Public Safety is doing everything it can to prepare for the upcoming ice storm, which is projected to be just as bad if not worse than this past weekend's winter weather," said Chris Slemp, Pittsylvania County Public Safety Director. "We are working closely with external agencies and the utility providers, and our emergency responders, both career and volunteer, are on standby to help the community however they can during this difficult time."
Due to the widespread power outages in the territory of all five of the utility providers that operate in Pittsylvania County, some of which are still in effect, many Pittsylvania County volunteer fire departments have been opening their doors to the public. You can keep up with which stations are open on the Pittsylvania County Public Safety Facebook page.
As a result of the winter weather from last weekend and the upcoming storm, the Board of Supervisors also elected to waive tipping fees at the Pittsylvania County landfill for all county citizens depositing storm debris for the next 90 days.
The Board of Supervisors approved new apparatus uniform standards that will govern all future purchases of apparatus by Pittsylvania County volunteer fire and rescue agencies.
"We're trying to get everyone towards some type of minimum standard on fire trucks," said Public Safety Director Chris Slemp.
This policy includes many technical speculations, such as minimum tank and cab size, pumping capacity, and safety standards for the purchase of new fire engines, pumpers, fire tankers, and brush trucks.
Pittsylvania County is protected by many volunteer fire and rescue stations, which raise funds among their communities and receive funding from Pittsylvania County. Previously there was no minimum or comprehensive policy guiding the purchase of these new fire trucks and ambulances. These standards were also unanimously approved by the Fire and Rescue Association, which is comprised of station chiefs, and the Fire and Rescue Commission, an advisory body that works with Pittsylvania County Public Safety, the volunteer stations, and the Board of Supervisors.
At the recommendation of Banister District Supervisor Charles Miller, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution extending employer-paid health insurance by 12 weeks for Pittsylvania County employees that exhaust all earned benefits resulting from a COVID-19-related illness. This extension of health-insurance is available for employees that filed a worker's compensation claim after contracting COVID-19 on the job.
Pittsylvania County has already taken steps to accommodate employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by extending the use of the Employee Sick Bank for COVID-19 related illnesses and granting all employees 80 hours of COVID-19 leave until March 31, 2021. The approved extra 12 weeks of employer-paid health insurance can be applied retroactively effective to February 1, 2021 and will end on December 31, 2021.
The Board of Supervisors approved its 2021 priorities for Pittsylvania County Government. These priorities ranged from continuing to find new revenue streams to improving services to enhancing public infrastructure like convenience centers. Some of the highlights include: