County Board of Sup. Responses
2023 Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors Responses to Public Questions
The Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce asked the public to submit questions for candidates running for seats on the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. The responses listed below came directly from the candidates and have not been altered or revised in any way.
Kell Stone (Bannister District) and Debra Davis (Staunton River District) did not submit responses.
1. What are your qualifications for the Board of Supervisors, and what issue or policy position would best define the difference(s) between you and your opponents?
Dan River District
Eanes: My qualifications for the Boad of Supervisors ae: currently serving as Interim Dan River District Supervisor since June 20, 2023, Department of Social Services 5 years and last 2 serving as Chair, Volunteering not only in the Schools for over 50 years (children and grandchildren) but also with the City of Danville Parks and Recreation over 12 years, IDA Idea chosen for Economic Development Daville Virginia for redevelopment of downtown Danville.
Policy difference; Community and Volunteer Service where ever needed, honesty, Integrity, not hiding reasons behind leaving a former job and will not allow the public to hear the truth.
Hite: I have spent over 38 years working in the financial sector and I have a good grasp on the financial side of the county operations. I was on the Pittsylvania County Industrial Authority for 10 years with the last 8 as Chairman, so I have a lot of experience working with the county on economic development projects. I have been a lifelong community volunteer with many different organizations.
Fox: I bring the most tested experience is business and civic engagement in Pittsylvania County and plan to
use those legislative relationships for positive outcomes.
Jennings: I have more than a few qualifiers for this public office: #1 I am not a carreer politician.
I have lived within Pittsylvania County’s outer boundaries my whole life. My wife and I have raised two successful young adults and all of us have completed college level degress or trade programs. I am a graduate of DCC from within our region. I have extensive experience in retail, government regulations, business operations, budgeting, leading a team of employees, and dealing with Federal/State agencies. This experience will bring a fresh perspective to making Pittsylvania County a great place to live, operate a business, and create jobs. I also worked for USPS for 8 years and served as steward, Vice President, & President of the APWU chapter there as well; guiding a team is not something I shy away from. I served as the OSHA/PEG Coordinator at USPS during my employment; these programs ensured both safety of employees and kept costs low through proactive approaches to workplace hazards; abating a issue to prevent accidents also curtailed fines from OSHA, Fire Marshalls, or internal corrective actions. My work experience has had major components dealing with public service with customer satisfaction being a high priority; this approach to ensuring each voter is heard will benefit our county greatly. I believe that Pittsylvania County’s best days are ahead, not behind us – I hope to help make that statement a reality with my experience.
Bowman: Over the past 20 years, I’ve served on various boards and commissions at the local government and regional level. Most recently I retired as the County Manager / Economic Development Director for Camden County, NC after serving 5 years. During this period the Finance Director and I prepared and submitted 5 Annual Budgets. At the end of every year there were unused funds returned to the fund balance (savings account). The EDA and I also recruited 3 mid-size companies to the County Commerce Park which did not have a single business until I arrived. Under my watch a new $4.5M Library / Board Room was built for the community. I have first-hand knowledge of how local government operates and the many issues the full-time staff face on a daily basis. I was elected to serve as a member of the York County, VA Board of Supervisors where I held the position of Chairman and Vice-Chairman. During this timeframe I served on multiple boards and commissions throughout the Hampton Roads area. I have also had the privilege to serve as the Economic Development Director in Pittsylvania County, VA and Warren County, NC recruiting and retaining local business and industry.
My approach to decision making is to gather as many facts as possible, vetting the findings with other decisions makers and providing a solid recommendation / action plan for moving forward. I have the depth of understanding how government operates and the skill set to get things done which sets me apart from others running for this seat.
Ingram: I think my first qualification is that I am a lifelong resident of Pittsylvania County. This is where I was married, built a home and raised a family.
After serving this county with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office for 30 years I retired in 2009. I later answered the call to run for the Board of Supervisors. I started my campaign in 2019 and was elected as your supervisor for the Tunstall District. I must add that it has been one of the highlights of my life.
My whole life has been one of service. From the age of 17 as a volunteer fireman to serving in the United States Air Force to 34 years in law enforcement. Not to mention the numerous civic boards that I've served on over a span of 50 years. I am a lifetime member of the Danville-Pittsylvania Cancer Association.
Rockingham County School Board
- Elected for the 2012-2016 term
- Dealt with budgets for schools
North Carolina Department of Transportation
- Employed 23 years
- Supervise Employees and Oversee Contractors during the Construction Process
- Inspect Structures and Building Materials
- Instruct Classes
Ruffin, NC Volunteer Fire Department
- Member 20 years
- State Certified Firefighter & EMT
- Line Officer
- Treasurer for past 5 years
Rockingham County Fire & Rescue Association
- President several terms
- Assisted in Organizing Fundraisers
Ruffin Community Wach Group
- President several terms
- Assisted in Organization of Community Safety and Awareness Programs
The issue or policy position that most defines the difference between myself and my opponent is
the idea of how the county is going to grow in the future. Will it be managed growth with the
involvement of the citizens and how that growth will affect their daily lives or growth regardless
of the effects on the citizens? As a representative of the Tunstall District on the Board of
Supervisors, I will listen to all input and make decisions based on the input of the citizens.
Tucker: I am currently the incumbent in the race and I am ready to lead on day one. I will not need to be trained to conduct the County’s business. I believe that a sum total of my experience in business, leadership in the Church and education has prepared me for this moment. I have over 25 years of management experience in the business sector. I am the Senior Pastor of the Sunflower Baptist Church in Halifax County, where I just celebrated 24 years of service. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree from Averett University in Business Administration. I am a proud U.S. Army Veteran, where I served faithfully until I received an Honorable Discharge. I support Law Enforcement, First Responders and Fire and Rescue. I am running on a platform of Economic Development for this County. I support Education and funding for not only the schools but also teachers and staff. I stand for fiscal responsibility, which includes balancing the budget and protecting tax payers’ money. I support Agriculture and small business in the County and I will champion their cause. I will provide leadership with conservative values guided by my faith with integrity.
Ramsey: Whether incumbent or candidate, we seek the board position by volunteering on our own or by being approached by a neighbor or friend who sees qualities about us that reflect the values they want for their representative. Regardless, it is an absolute honor to serve in this role, and anyone fortunate enough to be chosen by the people to serve should do so with humility, dignity, and respect.I stand out from others due to my varied overall experience of over thirty years as an educator in the county, in addition to my leadership experience as a businesswoman, a counselor, and advisor to young students, a poll worker, and an advocate for older adults, among other responsibilities. In addition to practical experience, I have the important intangible qualities that make me best suited for the position. Those attributes are strong listening skills, truthfulness, honesty, level-headedness, professionalism, dedication, openness, availability, responsiveness, civil, and collaboration, all necessary to move this county to much-needed growth and development. These are characteristics all county residents should not only expect from their representatives, but they should also DEMAND them.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I have 28 Years in Public Relations experience with a local Power Company, I also have 4 Years of experience serving on the Pittsylvania Count Planning Commision, of which every case other than Special use permits that go to the Board of Zoning Appeals, comes to the BOS. I have the experience as an incumbent working for the past 4 Years. I believe it is Vital to have a good Working Relationship with fire and rescue, along with Good Relationships with the local Farmers in the County simply because it is our Largest Industry in Pittsylvania County.
I received the local GOP nomination. I have served on SR RIFA, which brought in the New Plant at the old Klopman Site in Hurt. I Lobbied in Richmond and Washington DC with Action Committee for Rural Electrification. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I started a Feeding Program for local Students of Hurt, Mt Airy, and Gretna Elementary Schools, while students were at home, feeding over 3800 Meals. I have a Good working relationship with the Schools in Pittsylvania County. I have a Great Working relationship with Jay Craddock, the resident Engineer for VDOT. I initiated and Completed the Road widening project for Mansion Road that previous BOS attempted to fix, in which I worked with Virginia State Police Craig Worsham and several others. I have recently been asked to serve on a Sub-Committee for Danville Regional Foundation to work for Grants to Improve all I can for the Northern Portion of Pittsylvania County in which I serve.
Other Committees I serve on is the DSS Board, Finance Committee, Building Committee, Solid Waste Committee, Roanoke River Basin Association.
The Difference of Myself and my opponent is I have served on the BOS and am very aware of how the County daily operations work, I fully understand the Mechanics of Meetings and Currently Serve as Vice Chairman of the Board.
Scearce: As the Republican nominee for the Westover District, my conservative credentials are extensive and I can show a 16 year history of supporting conservative candidates and initiatives.
I spent 22 year honorably serving in the US Air Force where I managed 10’s of millions of dollars in equipment and budgets over that period. For the past 8 years I have been serving as the Westover District Supervisor managing the latest county budget of $247 million and insuring our tax rate has remained constant at .62 per $100 of assessed value since 2018.
I have a very long track record of working for this county and have worked tirelessly to increase job opportunities to allow our young people the incentive to stay in our region. Since 2018, there has been over $1.25 billion in economic investment in our area creating well over 4200 new jobs. I served on the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority during most of that growth and worked directly with Morgan Olson, Aerofarms, and Tyson Foods to ensure those companies were given a home in Southside Virginia.
As Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors I went to RiverStreet Networks headquarters in North Carolina along with county leadership to iron out a partnership deal to provide a fiber optic network throughout the county. This project will provide internet to county residents at a speed of one gigabyte at a discounted rate when completed and fills a critical need for service for over 14,000 residents that have no Internet Service Provider (ISP) availability. This fiber network will cover over 95% of the county when completed by 2025 and some of the first customers are already connecting to the service!
Whittle: In the early 60’s my father created Whittle Plywood in Chatham. It created hundreds of jobs over the years. I was involved and worked there for 26 years So I understand economic development from a personal viewpoint. I recently retired and felt I wanted to give back to the community. I could bring a new prospective to the Board Of Supervisors.
2. The current Board has had substantial conflict and in-fighting among the supervisors. How will that improve if you are elected? For incumbents, what will you do differently if re-elected to the Board of Supervisors?
Dan River District
Eanes: Having the right people elected to the Board in place will make all the difference. I’ve been told that I bring a balance to the Board and there needs to be a womans perspective to the Board. Women should not be excluded in decisions that affect all people.
Hite: I truly believe if we all work together we can overcome our differences for the better of the county. It is time to put personal agendas and personal conflicts aside and put the success of Pittsylvania County first. Being a minister it has always been one of my jobs to build bridges and I will continue to do that if elected.
Fox: I am a collaborative leader, not a confrontational one. Differences of opinion do not translate into personal attacks and finger pointing.
Jennings: Our board has become known far & wide for all the wrong reasons. I have been appalled by the fact that when I have mentioned I was from Pittsylvania County, the first comment has often been: “Oh, that’s the county with the board that cannot get along.” This type of statement is an entirely unacceptable comment to have associated with our great county. As a board member, I would make it my goal to ensure that our County will not be known for board in-fighting. Any disagreements should be handled both professionally and in closed session if needed. Its time to have a stable board which is conducive to attracting new business and maintaining fiscally responsible budgeting. Solving problems and disputes quietly and equitably is paramount to maintaining a stable board. Disagreements between the board and departments should not be publicly fought; our community should not have to worry that funding is inadequate or that county agencies will not be available. I will strive to prevent misunderstandings & disputes from becoming a topic for social media, newspaper articles, or overt displays of turmoil; our board needs to work together to put forward the best presentation for our community; our futures depend on this! A stable board will aid in guiding this county forward with new jobs, new growth, and stable budgets while protecting the industries, agriculture, and hard working citizenry Pittsylvania County is known for!
Bowman: I’ve always had the ability to work with everyone and where necessary reach compromise when needed. I will not engage in verbal combat in public and will treat everyone with respect and dignity especially the public and other elected officials. Throughout my career I’ve worked with many different leaders and staff with great success. Through my leadership I will do my part to make sure Pittsylvania County is once again viewed as a place to live and do business.
Ingram: Sadly, there has been conflict and in house fighting within our board. I've advocated for an updated Code of Ethics and to keep our differences behind closed doors. Sadly, some of my colleagues refused to sign the code and desire to continue to air our dirty laundry in public. A board is like an athletic team, you must work together for the common good of all if you want to win. Our citizens deserve much better than what's been going on.
Austin: In my 23-year career with NCDOT, I have faced multiple situations that required working with
employees and contractors to solve issues on projects, and with property owners and the traveling public to lessen the impact of projects on their daily lives. I plan to work with other board members and have positive discussions that includes all parties involved.
Tucker: I said from day one that we need to listen to one another and respect one another. I believe I have brought a sense of professionalism and compromise. I believe our elected officials need to remember the people put us on the Board to take care of county business. People want to see their elected officials working together for the people and the greater good of the County at large. I believe I have a good relationship with most on the current Board and I will continue to reach out to future Boards. Remember I was able to use my seat to bring two opposing factions to the center of the table and began working together.
Ramsey: I will lead by example based on the core values, the majority of which were instilled in me by my parents. I’ve had considerable experience demonstrating these values/standards in every aspect of my life. I will endeavor to utilize a collaborative approach in all decisions made for the good of the people.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I will work with anyone elected, regardless of party or beliefs, to better the County. I made a Commitment to Darrel Dalton the Board Chairman along with the rest of the BOS to do all I could to head off any problems that may raise its head during our Public Meetings.
Scearce: Until last year, most conflicts were handled behind closed doors and away from the public eye. Starting in 2022, the unethical actions of one supervisor led to most of the conflicts and those unethical actions needed to be pointed out. Unfortunately, that supervisor has suspended/unsuspended his campaign, which reinforces the calamity he brings to the table. Regardless of how this election turns out, I am sure the people of his district will decide to take a different route and the normalcy of where conflicts are settled before we are in the public eye will be reinstituted. Disagreements over policy are normal, manipulative unethical behavior is not.
Whittle: As a supervisor over the years I have dealt with disagreements between workers, but we always worked together to come to a solution. I would try to bring civility back to the Board Of Supervisor. As I have been going door to door and meeting with voters in the Westover District they have been saying they are tired of all the controversy and want someone that will bring professionalism back to the county.
3. Employers are in a pinch amid a hiring crisis that stems from the effects of the pandemic. Workers are leaving their jobs due to the lack of childcare, transportation barriers, and changing values. As an elected official, what would you propose as a solution(s) for employers challenged by hiring qualified applicants?
Dan River District
Eanes: Solutions for employers challenged by hiring qualified applicants:
Childcare: Listing of all Childcare Centers in advance for new hires, set up a mother/grandparent volunteer program to have reading, pampering, rocking, etc. children with the Childcare Centers, some business may want their own childcare center in place near the location; this cuts down on travel time for the workers and readily available in emergencies. This can be a drawing point to any business offering close proximity childcare to the employees and also keeping the monies in the district. Sign on Bonus and good benefits, reduced childcare rates for working parents.
Transportation barriers: Work with the City/County for providing transportation to local companies for new hires and maybe companies some type of reimbursement to employees. Having our own transport services in place would create more jobs in the County and workers coulrd car pool which would cut cost for employees, provide transportation for employees who do not own a vehicle and having this in place would encourage employees to work daily.
Hiring Qualified Applicants: Have a strict screening process; all former job reference checks, background checks for all places they have lived. Get skill set for ALL jobs that applicants have worked or volunteered at. Ask for close friends and what they liked to do together-this will show their quality, dedication and team work.
Hite: We need to explore private, public partnerships that could possibly help reduce some of these burdens. If we can identify and cultivate these partnerships, hopefully we can help ease these burdens that are faced by many.
Fox: Having served three terms on the Board of Directors for the Chamber, I have always supported programs that provide a ready workforce for business. I plan on engaging monthly with my School Board counterpart, Mark Shields, to advocate initiatives for employee development skills.
Jennings: This problem has been ubiquitous in most regions; ensuring populations are well equipped with infratructure and job oportunties will solve most of the issues related to employment, transporation, & child care; for every problem, an opportunity for business exists; rather than looking at how the county can solve each individual issue on its own, it would be my hope to ensure our county government sets the tone for business to open and serve the needs of our community. By focusing on removing the hurdles that prevent businesses from opening and operating, our County Board of Supervisors can take both a funding and regulatory approach to fixing these issues; creating avenues for opportunity by exploring grants, zoning changes, legislative advocacy at the state/federal levels, and taking advantage of state/federal programs designed to spur commerce will make these concerns much more manageable; each District’s Supervisor should act as a liason to the state/federal legislators to ensure his/her district’s problems are solved. I would work to make the Pittyslvania County Board of Supervisors known for solving community problems which make current or prospective employers successful!
Bowman: Companies have many unique challenges to overcome since the pandemic. Learning how to deal with these challenges is new territory and requires them to be open minded and creative as they move forward. One of the areas that may help is to provide training and development opportunities in the company. Organizations should look at the resources they have in place to help employees reach their full potential. Once these resources are in place, be sure they are communicated effectively to applicants. Another is to upskill employees by providing training and development resources that provide them the knowledge, skills, and abilities to take on new duties and responsibilities. Another option is to identify employees that can work remote. Many remote-capable employees have continued to work from home following the height of the pandemic lockdowns. Lastly, when advertising for employees make it very clear in the first sentence of the job description what sets the company apart. Clear communication is especially important for those individuals browsing for job opportunities on their cell phone.
Ingram: Regarding the hiring crisis I will continue to support the establishment of childcare programs in both public and private arena. I will continue to support the expansion of county wide internet service. This is desperately needed at this moment for our students and for those who work from home. I will continue to work for higher paying jobs. Better jobs will help to provide for solutions to childcare and transportation issues.
I will continue to support funding for the STEM programs that support our counties renowned advanced manufacturing workforce programs. I'm grateful that our Career and Technical training Center continues to inspire and train our future generation.
I will support programs that reward companies for upskilling and retraining employees while continuing to invest in new technologies and cutting-edge automation.
While serving as chairman of the Regional Industry Facility Authority we worked with the United States Navy on a 53-milliondollar investment to train welders for the next generation submarines. This is just one of many projects that I had a part in.
Austin: We do have a hiring issue not only in the county, but all over this state and country. Our local
government has little control over these issues outside of maintaining lower taxes and allowing the citizens to keep more of their money. Ideally, some solutions the Board could explore include:
- Tax incentives and grants for small business owners that enable them to be more
competitive with larger companies, and increase pay and benefits to attract and retain
- Continued support Work Force Training in the county
- Explore possible tax breaks for small business owners and farmers
I would seek ways to work with our state representatives to help reduce cost to employers and
allow those employers to potentially offer better benefits to their employees.
Tucker: First off, I would be in favor of offering some types of tax credits to retain small businesses in the County. Employers must start with open and honest communication with their current employees to ascertain their concerns. Employers also must have a paradigm shift in the way they view benefits. We have a completely different and younger work force than we had in the past. I would suggest employers start creating flexible schedules to accommodate changing life styles. The pandemic caused workers that were at retirement age to leave the work force and I believe they need to find creative ways to get that experienced worker back.
Ramsey: A consequence of Covid-19 has presented many challenges for employers nationwide, and at every level, to successfully recruit and train employees. Future recruitment and hiring practices might need to be revised by doing the following:Employers already experiencing challenges recruiting strong candidates to hire for open positions have seen this challenge only become more exasperated by the pandemic. Employers are reviewing their hiring practices and adjusting, where possible. Some employers including governmental agencies have, where possible, dropped a college degree requirement for some positions. A review and assessment of specific job requirements to determine if changes could be made, not to lower requirements but rather, to consider a longer on- the-job learning/training program might be necessary. HR hiring representatives might want to form a local business group and meet on a regular basis and share common experiences and their own best practices that have generated success. Future hiring decisions might also need to be based on more in-depth, state-of-the-art selection interviews. In this scenario, hiring decisions would be based on the candidate with the best potential to acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform the job in lieu of not having a candidate already with requisite skills to perform the job. Small businesses might want to identify area retired HR leaders especially from the corporate area and call on them for guidance and advice. Further, reference and background checks might also need to be strengthened.
I would encourage businesses to adopt human resource policies that support economic and social diversity including active outreach to vulnerable and marginalized populations, through career fairs, diversity training, and targeted strategies and initiatives that encourage and support living wages. After researching ways to help improve job growth, here are a few encouraging ways to create job growth in Pittsylvania County.
-Teach entrepreneurship at every level. … Let us empower young people to be self-reliant and experience free enterprise opportunities. Why shouldn’t teachers everywhere engage students in entrepreneurship education with experiences and skills building K-16?
-Boost startup opportunities. ...Make it easy and accessible for a college graduate to work for a startup as it is now to join an investment bank or consulting firm.
- Encourage risk-taking. ...Encourage students to act on their ideas. Also, be sure to support young Entrepreneurs by doing business with them.
- Develop 21st-century skills. ...The schools are providing a broad experience for students with technology and preparing them for careers in the fastest growing sector in our economy.
- Scale entrepreneurship education with technology. ...Encourage development of experiential entrepreneurship programs.
- Look at community colleges. ...Encourage correlation between what is being taught in the classroom and the role the entrepreneurs play.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I’m committed to a Strong Economic Development, I’m committed to increased Housing to accompany our Industrial parks, especially Berryhill Park. I believe we are going to soon land a Great industry at this Park, with Great Paying Jobs.
Scearce: Education and training are the most important factors in finding good paying jobs. We have made huge investments in work force development for various fields, precision machining, welding, and Information Technology to name a few, that is the model for the rest of the state and even nation. Leaders from around the country come here to learn how to do what we are doing.
We have tried to fund our school system with more money every year and made sure $1 million was provided to deliver our teachers a much needed pay increase in the budget passed for this current year. Our teachers are key to awards like the 2023 Blue Ribbon Schools. Out of roughly 2915 schools in Virgina, only 10 awards were given statewide This year, and of those winners, Pittsylvania County has two in Union Hall Elementary and Southside Elementary. Just shows the level of excellence we have in our county school system.
Whittle: We have a nation wide employment crisis. We should continue to push for people to train at Vo-Tech or any other trade programs.
4. If elected, would you support an increase in the property tax rate for county residents? Why or why not?
Dan River District
Eanes: NO, I would only support a property tax increase if it is absolutely no other way to meet the budget needs. Citizens are being taxed to death. We have very intelligent, qualified Finance staff in place that can work wonders when it comes to Budgets.
Hite: We need to always examine our budget carefully and make the tax burden on our citizens as small as possible. None of us know what the future holds as far as tax increases, so I cannot say I will not vote to increase taxes. If I vote for an increase you can be assured that I will examine every possible way not to raise them before doing so.
Fox: No, I would not support a property tax rate increase. Our citizens are feeling the effects of inflation
and interest rates, and we as elected officials need to provide relief.
Jennings: I am not in favor of raising taxes; as every American is now feeling the pinch of inflation, we all need to be looking at ways of augmenting our budgets without taxing both our residents and businesses to insolvency. By bringing a focus on growth, our county can mitigate shortfalls through new revenue sources rather than though the property tax rates and assessments -- which act as a back door tax increases. For too long, local governments make tax rates and assessments the sole focus for growth of the county coffers. Protecting current industries and spurring new business growth, Pittsylvania County can overcome budget issues without raising taxes; new jobs, new businesses, and stronger communities will make this possible. Businesses and county residents alike depend on predictable taxation costs to manage their finances; ensuring that these costs are maintained at a manageable level is a goal worth persuing.
Bowman: No. The Pearson Group has just completed the latest assessment for the County and the property values have increased on average 50%. A tax increase at this time will have a detrimental financial impact on the citizens during a time when everyone is struggling to adjust to the out of control inflation. I would recommend the Board of Supervisors review the upcoming budget and make adjustments as needed by identifying and considering cuts. I would also consider some type of tax relief for personal property. The leadership of the county cannot continue to tax the citizens. They must be more creative and find ways to reduce the cost of doing business.
Ingram: I will not vote for any tax increase because we are already taxed too much. There are other options within county government where we look to help keep the tax rate low.
Austin: NO!!!! Simple I don’t like paying more taxes! Citizens are overtaxed as it is. I am a fiscal conservative and I commit to being responsible with the taxpayer dollars and ensuring funds are used
judiciously for the betterment of all citizens with an eye towards minimizing waste and
Tucker: I would not support a tax increase on county residents. The new reassessment will increase property values approximately 48% and the new Board will be tasked with lowering the actual tax rate to be fair to the residents across the board. I would support creating economic growth and retaining a strong labor force. More People employed means more people paying taxes consequently more revenue for the county.
Ramsey: A critical focus for the board is to conduct an annual assessment of the county budget. My vote for any tax increase will be based solely on objective, clearly analyzed data that would suggest such a vote is the sole option.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I’m a Republican and a fiscal conservative and generally don’t support tax increases. If I were to ever vote for a tax increase, County Staff would have to sufficiently justify the need to additional revenue, and I would demand a review of efficiencies and a strict fiscal plan with real accountability going forward.
Scearce: I have made a commitment to keep property taxes as low as possible. The county has maintained a consistent .62 cents of $100 of assessed value since 2018. While my goal had been to lower that rate over the years, last year, a mistake in leadership led to the wasteful spending of over $2.5 million, and this board was unable to meet that goal of lowering the tax rate. With the new reassessment by the Pearson Group which has resulted in a 50% increase in property values across the county, having someone experienced in dealing with the tax rate and a $247 plus million budget will be critical. Per state code, the county can only raise the tax revenues we garner from the real estate tax by 1% after a reassessment year, so those elected to the board in November will have a huge impact on trying to meet the needs of all county departments while being restrained by state law. Holding spending down in the 2024/25 budget will be a must.
Whittle: I don’t support raising taxes. I believe that working with Danny Marshall and Governor Youngkin to fill the industrial parks with higher paying jobs to add to the tax base.
5. If elected, would you commit to having regular open meetings with the residents of your district? Why or why not?
Dan River District
Eanes: Yes, I would definitely like to have open meetings in my district. Citizen input and ideas make the district stronger and I welcome the citizen input. An informed district is a vital aspect to our county operations.
Hite: I will have quarterly meetings in order to keep the residents informed and to get input from the people.
Fox: Yes, if there are topics related to my district that would provide information on the subjects to our residents. I would look for ways to provide opportunities to meet outside of the regular BOS meetings.
Jennings: Absoluetly! Our county government already has monthly meetings, business sessions, and committee meetings open to the public as prescribed by law. If there is a need and scheduling can create an open forum or better understanding for residents seeking answers to questions, our local board should be available. That said, every elected official should strive for both open government and responsive- ness to constituents. Open flow of ideas and information will make Pittsylvania County a stronger and more vibrant commuinity!
Bowman: Yes, absolutely. I will plan on at least one town hall per year to be conducted at various locations within the Chatham-Blairs District. These meeting will be in the Fall of the year prior to start of the budget process. This will give the citizens an opportunity to speak on issues important to them and provide input on the budget. I’m a firm believer in communication, keeping the public informed, listening to their concerns on topics important to them, and finding answers to their questions.
Ingram: When elected I started a weekly Cable TV show to keep my constituents aware of issues of importance which ended with the sale of the cable system. I would be more than happy to have regular open meetings and conduct additional Facebook live broadcasts.
Austin: Absolutely! I believe in our government, as it was founded, for the people by the people and holding regular meetings with citizens keeps them informed and included in the business of their government.
We too often take for granted the type of government we have. The founders gave citizens the opportunity to be involved and citizens should take every advantage we have to do so! I will continue to utilize email and social media to communicate with citizens. In addition, I will meet with citizens of the district regularly to receive their input on issues. Finally, I will be available to any and all phone calls I receive.
Tucker: I committed to have regular town hall style meetings with the residents of my District after I was appointed to the position. I believe all elected officials have a responsibility to communicate with and be held accountable by their constituents.
Ramsey: I strongly believe effective communications/ interactions with elected officials and constituents are essential. If elected, my plans are to conduct regular meetings on a mutually agreed upon schedule with District members to foster and promote an open and fair dialogue between banister residents and me.
Staunton River District
Dudley: Yes. I believe in public transparency. I always listen to and answer my constituent concerns and questions I’m a working Supervisor.
Scearce: I love meeting with my constituents and would gladly participate in any forum as I have over the past 8 years. Another more important part of being in this leadership position is answering a phone call or email from a concerned citizen. Problems do arise and having someone that quickly reacts to those issues should be a top priority for those seeking a position on the Board of Supervisors.
Whittle: I have already told all voters I have spoken with I will have an open door policy.I have spoken with our Fire and Recue volunteers and have said I will speak with them on a regular basis about their needs.
6. Recent controversy surrounding the mixed-use development project coming to the Axton community sparked concern regarding a lack of transparency in the early phases of the project. If elected, describe specifically what you will do to ensure that community input from all stakeholders is sought at the inception of any future urbanized development?
Dan River District
Eanes: To ensure the community input from all stakeholders, I would like to have a County wide Meeting so “ALL Citizens” can have input into the project(s). Citizens pay their share of taxes, Citizens should be allowed to speak freely and work on solutions that will be beneficial to all. Be open, honest with what is being proposed. Get questions and/or concerns answered in the beginning of any project.
Hite: More advertising is the only other thing that I feel could have been done.
Fox: This can be avoided by using all media forms of communication zoning requests that would trigger development. I would also like to know what input was received by any developers from citizens as they present their requests.
Jennings: The Axton Development project is a prime example of how board infighting and weaponized public opinion can potentially end development and growth in Pittsylvania County. Fear never brings happiness or growth to a region. I suspect that if the sitting board had worked together to foster a better understanding and outcome, this issue would not have been as divisive. The facts have been confused with concerns of excessive growth, higher taxation, and runaway development. Growth is necessary for our county to remain economically viable – especially with the 3:1 over 60 to over 30 ratio we are seeing in our county demographics. We will need to overcome loss of population to ensure that local tax programs that protect agriculture remain available while maintaining reasonable growth that is necessary; we do not want to be Loudon County, nor will we be. The new board would do well to adhere to the notifications required by state law and county codes; should the scope of a project be large enough, additional meetings similar to the community meetings of the Axton Development project certainly would be encouraged; though I suspect more notice would have been beneficial to the public regarding such a planned event. Zoning cases are often the most divisive; I will work to ensure that pertinent information is shared timely to those effected in my district.
Bowman: First of all the County Administrator, Economic Development Director, Planning Director, and County Attorney should be heavily involved at the outset of any potential project locating within the County boundaries. Regular meetings with the developer and other agencies should take place and preliminary details such as water / sewer / broadband / roadways and impacts on the local government resources should be addressed. Once staff has vetted the proposal the project should be brought to the entire Board of Supervisors membership for discussion and for planning the way forward. If the above areas have been addressed then members of the BoS along with the Developer should host one or more public meetings to hear from the citizens and address their concerns / questions. Working together with members of the Community and the Developer is critical to the success of any project.
Ingram: Regarding the housing development in Axton once the program was introduced to the county the process was very transparent and supported by 6 community meetings which I organized and a 7th that I help coordinate. I don't honestly know what more we could have done any differently. I went above the standard legal requirements of informing the public by giving them additional opportunities to voice their concerns and opposition in this process. County Administrator Stuart Turille said that what I organized should be a model for the county for any future zoning issues. I think that we could increase the signage at the area to be rezoned and an extended advertisement period.
Austin: I commit to working with the different departments to find ways to protect everyone’s interest as new projects are brought to the county. I would support a charrette style of discussions with the developers and area landowners to reach a consensus on a design that would be beneficial to
community growth while preserving the natural beauty and privacy of the area. This model has been used successfully in other areas of the state.
Tucker: I believe all stakeholders should be at the table for any project or development in my District. This requires principled leadership on the part of the Supervisor. Proper notice should be given for meetings early on. Communication is the key in helping people understanding the proposed project. All the information should be research driven and supported by data. This data must be shared with the residents to get buy in early from the residents. I believe smaller groups throughout the District should be set up to help communicate the process.
Ramsey: I will promote community involvement through: - Engaging the community in small or large projects. - Make every effort to ensure projects respond to local needs. - Understand the Community Context. - Consultation Goals and Methods. - Ask great questions.
Staunton River District
Dudley: We are currently working on Changes and Policy Public Notifications along with Complete Transparency. Community open houses, Protecting our Good Citizens of our County is in the utmost Importance to the County Administration along with the Board of Supervisors.
Scearce: The problem with the Axton project was the inability of the Tunstall supervisor to listen to the people he was representing. Concessions were eventually made by the developers of that project and while those adjustments did not completely satisfy the residents that will be directly impacted by the project, it did make the situation a little more palatable. Over the past eight years that I have served on the Board of Supervisors, I have made the input of the citizens my priority. While someone should have the ability to develop their property, when it comes to safety, quality of life, or traffic concerns, the input of the citizens that will be directly affected by a project will always be given more weight by me.
Whittle: I would make every effort to make sure all constituents know about future projects as soon as the public can be notified. I will update my Facebook page with information for everyone.
7. Which of the following positions do you consider as your strategy for the district you will represent and how will you support the position?
Dan River District
Eanes: I would consider: Planned Growth
All development within our county needs to be planned ahead. The Citizens should be “First” to speak and have their voices heard, to ask questions regarding what will take place. Let the Citizens be heard. Then work on a solution that will be beneficial for the growth and development. Give the Citizens something that they can be proud of in their district, Not take their voice, land, safety, health and quality of life away. Together we will stand, divided we will fall. We all are created to be heard.
Hite: I am very Pro-growth but that growth needs to be planned. If elected the board needs to look at the comprehensive plan and have that updated. We need to have a road map of where we would like the county to be in the future.
Fox: I support planned growth and await the results of the IDA Economic Development Strategy Initiative, currently approved by the BOS for creation.
Jennings: There is an old addage in business; if you aren’t growing, you are dying; our county is no different. Spurring economic growth is one of the items that every board member should make a focal point. By utilizing a natural and planned growth curve, Pittsylvania County can mitigate budgets crises, ensure a better quality of living for our citizenry, and protect existing industries without jeopardizing prospective
businesses and job oportunities for our region. Our region is primed for growth given the long term investments in training programs, education, infrastructure, and available industrial/commercial sites that Pittsylvania County currently possesses. It would not be good stewardship to ignore these investments and sacrifices that gifted our county’s people with such resources.
Bowman: Planned Growth. First of all the Comprehensive Plan is outdated and needs to be reviewed and updated. The comprehensive plan essentially outlines the long-term plan for creating a broad, long-term vision for future land uses and the build out of all districts within the County. It also identifies clusters, or Nodes, throughout the County where infrastructure is already located so it can be easily extended to support new development. Pittsylvania County’s comprehensive plan contains a map of future land uses addressing all of the physical elements in the area, for a long time period (usually around 20 years). This document also lays the foundation for zoning codes, the legal tool for implementing the vision of the future. The current document is over 12 years old and the recommendation from the State is to update every 5 years. If this document had been updated in a timely manner, it is possible many of the items brought up by the citizens would have already been addressed. When updating of the Comprehensive Plan starts, the public will have plenty of opportunities to attend the meetings and provide input on how they would like to see the County grow in the future. I would recommend this take place as soon as possible.
Ingram: My position on future growth is a mix between pro and planned growth. We must provide housing for both our citizens as well as new neighbors. Without adequate housing the chance for growth is nonexistent. We must embrace growth for the future of our children and grandchildren
Austin: I support planned and managed growth in all aspects. I will work with each department in the county to encourage dialogue between investors and those that have already invested in the area. Our Economic and Community Development Departments work with businesses to bring growth
to the county, and the Board representatives place is to represent the citizens of the district.
Tucker: I am for planned growth in my District. I believe everyone wants growth, but we have to be smart about. I look forward to helping update our County’s Economic Long-Term Plan. I will continue to work closely with our Economic Development Team to bring the right type of industries and small businesses to the district. At the same time there must be balance to preserve the beautiful landscape of our farming community and protect our environment.
Ramsey: The best approach for a small local community may depend on its vision, values, and needs. Some communities may prefer a more pro-growth approach to boost their economy and vitality. Others may prefer a more planned growth approach to protect their environment and character. Some communities may try to balance both approaches by adopting smart growth principles that aim to create livable, prosperous, and resilient places. Time, planning, and community involvement will play a significant role in what is best and respectful collaboration will have to take place in the decision making.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I believe in planned growth. I voted for the Axton housing development project. I have charged Staff with seeking professional assistance with Comprehensive Plan revisions. I support marshalling the County’s resources and utilities to identify logical growth nodes we can steer development to.
Scearce: With the Southern Va Mega Site at Berry Hill located in my district, my stance is obviously pro-growth. Over the past eight years the county has made developing that site a priority. Even though the site has been in existence since 2008, it wasn’t until there was a regime change in Washington DC in 2017 that enabled us to receive permitting from the Army Corp of Engineers to proceed with development. This has allowed the city and county to install water and sewer lines, two graded pads for development (one 210 acres, another 60 acres), the 29-bypass connector road that should be completed soon, and power line upgrades. Overall, this has been an investment of $290 million with only $33 million coming from the city and county. With the workforce development we have in the IT, industrial maintenance, and precision machining fields, Southside Va is on the cusp of some huge growth. When you look at the numbers for economic development since 2018, we have enjoyed over $1.25 billion in investment and 4228 jobs created. Our economic development team and partnership with the City of Danville has already had great success!
Whittle: Pro Growth, Work with RIFA and the Economic Development team in order to get more projects in our Industrail parks.
8. If elected, how will you balance commitment to entrepreneurial start-ups and main street businesses with the need to attract and retain larger existing industry partners and industrial park prospects from small to mega in size?
Dan River District
Eanes: To balance commitment to entrepreneurial start-ups and main street business to attract and retain larger existing industry partners and industrial park prospects from small to mega in size:
First seek Citizen input of what they would like to come to their district. Affordable family restaurants, focusing on local grown fruits and vegetables, nice community markets where citizens or travelers can make purchases of local home grown vegetables, fruits, honey, jams/jellies and crafts that are made right here in the community. These local products will help sale your business and bring interest to the area for the offerings and availability. People will come if you have what they like.
Food, entertainment, jobs. A large scale Restaurant focusing on Family. A childcare traveling center with Hotels for short to long stay, family gaming place to have a gym for workouts, treadmills, ping pong, bowling for adults as well as children, outside put-put course, basketball courts, tennis court, swings for all age groups, a walking path in close proximity of these areas to have identifiable trees, shrubs, flowers with identification markings with a maze type setting, spelling family. Have a separate layover place for truckers but in short distance where they can walk to these start up places or stay at the hotels.
With ALL the suggestions, I would want Citizen input before being placed for a vote. We are here to listen and serve the citizens , not for what they do not want.
I believe that 29 would be an ideal place to have the startup of this project. Travelers and Business employees from Danville, Pittsylvania County, North Carolina, Lynchburg, Roanoke as well as others would be traveling on 29. It would even have local citizens who just want a weekend get away or prime location in bad weather for travelers. The location will keep monies spent in our County.
Hite: The county is doing a good job with economic development and we need to continue that work. We need to work together to promote small businesses as well as big businesses. Working together we can make Pittsylvania County a destination spot for businesses to locate and people to move to.
Fox: Whether it is an incubator start up or a large industrial park prospect, any opportunity that presents itself should have the full assistance of the Economic Development Department with regular reports to the BOS. Housing has long been recognized as the impediment in Pittsylvania County to attract business, along with the perception that the BOS is pointlessly divided.
Jennings: Pittsylvania County needs every possible good job and every current & prospective business available to provide our citizens with these good jobs. We cannot ignore the small to medium businesses in our county with a sole focus on new industry. By working to keep taxes low & predictable, limit regulation that hinders growth, and taking oportunities to network existing partnerships with current businesses, the board can spur new avenues for growth for both existing and prospective firms; businesses should be comfortable reaching out to our local board to highlight both areas of shortfall and success. Fostering entrepreneurial activities in our existing community helps everyone win. Our small local businesses offer a great network of support for prospective members of our business community. By bringing a focus on keeping a strong local economy rich with well trained community members, Pittsylvania County can ensure that no business is left behind.
Bowman: My background and experience in economic development has prepared me for this opportunity and will serve the business community well, whether working with local businesses needing assistance or negotiating, as a member of a group, with large companies looking to locate within the region. I already have a relationship with many of the local agencies that provide the services required and can direct start-ups and small businesses to the appropriate people.
It has always been my belief that retaining companies is much easier then recruiting new ones. I plan to
support the Economic Development department and participate on boards and commissions as required.
I will make the time to attend regular meetings of the Regional Industrial Facilities Authority, the Danville-Pittsylvania County Business Development Center, the West Piedmont Planning District, the Longwood Small Business Center and any other functions or events that may require my attendance in order to stay abreastof the potential projects that are in the pipeline.
Ingram: And if re-elected I will continue to work to support a businessfriendly community for both the large and small businesses while maintaining a fiscally conservative, low-cost environment. I will continue to support small startup businesses through programs like the Chamber's Rev-up program.
As I promised four years ago, I will continue to support education, public safety and economic development. While business growth is vitally important, I believe that we need to do a better job in supporting our teachers, our law enforcement and our first responders. I'd look at ways to inspire volunteerism, programs that promote retention and provide increased funding for our teachers as well as our 21-volunteer fire and rescue agencies. These men and women are the backbone of our community, they deserve better.
It's been an honor to serve the citizens of the Tunstall District and I'd greatly appreciate your support on November 7th, thank you.
Austin: We have excellent leadership in our Economic Development Department that works to bring business to our industrial parks. But I believe we need more focus on smaller businesses. No one likes the idea of seeing businesses downsize or close completely, especially when it is a large employer, but we have seen it happen way too often. I believe that by not only offering incentives to the large businesses, but also finding ways to assist new or existing small businesses that are interested in growing, we can find that balance. I would also like to work with our agricultural leaders to bring more opportunities for our current and future farmers to grow and promote the largest industry in this state!
Tucker: There can be balance between industry and small businesses based on the amount of attention given to each. Again, I will search for tax credits to help prop up small businesses and revitalize main streets in the Banister District and county wide. I am committed to help bring more focus to the need of revitalizing our small towns. I am currently serving on two Boards where in this is our main focus. The Danville Pittsylvania County Regional Industrial Facility Authority on the southern end of the county. Staunton River RIFA on the northern end of the county. I believe we are making progress in creating job opportunities for all of Pittsylvania County. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when we will land the right economic fit for Pittsylvania County. I humbly ask for your vote on November 7ht, 2023 so that I can continue to fight for you the voters, our children and the future of Banister District and Pittsylvania County wide.
Ramsey: It depends on the vision, values, preferences, and priorities. It will also depend on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It will take strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluating.
Staunton River District
Dudley: I will continue to seek Grants to make all industrial Parks Shovel ready. I would commit to Main Street Grants that will benefit all Business from Small to Mega Businesses. Continue Relationships with any size business from the Country store to mega Industry, I will do this through SRRIFA of which I currently serve on. I will work for the absolute best for the County as a Whole.
Scearce: Low regulation and simpler standardized codes are important to all businesses. The county has taken the initiative to completely revamp our county codes, so they are in line with state law in an effort to provide a more stable environment for everyone. This will be an ongoing process through next year with public hearings for all the updated codes. I also believe seeing a greater focus on our partnerships with local companies to ensure our workforce development initiatives are meeting their needs will also be critical.
Whittle: I will work with local small business to help them succeed as well as working with RIFA to help develop Industrial parks.