Transition time for Isle of Wight board

Published 10:43 am Saturday, December 31, 2011

As we turn the page to January 2012, we enter into a transition for most all boards.

Throughout Virginia, new local officials will be sworn in and take their seats. It will mark beginning chapters across the Commonwealth as elected citizens begin their duties of representing particular districts and endeavoring to make the best decisions for their cities and counties. The learning curve for many will be steep, for they will be required to dive in immediately to the challenges that await them.

Isle of Wight is no different.

Though I was sworn in two months ago, I am still a newcomer and will be joined in January by other first-timers “Dee Dee” Darden representing the Windsor District and “Buzz” Bailey representing the Newport District. We will join Al Casteen representing the Smithfield District and JoAnn Hall representing the Hardy District.

We five supervisors are given the task of determining the future direction of Isle of Wight County.

Our very first meeting together is 5 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Isle of Wight Courthouse. The agenda includes organizing ourselves so as to operate more efficiently. A chairman and vice chairman will be elected and appointments will be made to various committees, authorities and councils, including the Social Services Board, Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority, Windsor Intergovernmental Relations Committee, Joint Tourism Committee, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Western Tidewater Water Authority and others, just to name a few!

As you can see, the board seeks to give and receive input from all sorts of groups that interact with our county as it relates to utilities, tourism, economic development, social services and the like.

I suggest that no government, including Isle of Wight’s, is completely autonomous. Our decisions affect other surrounding counties and cities and vice-versa. Likewise, when the state makes decisions concerning the Port of Virginia, a new highway or funding initiatives, it directly affects our county and its citizens.

If a new 460 bypass is built, it will affect our county and its citizens. If the Port of Virginia is enlarged, it has local ramifications. If Virginia reduces funding for education, it directly affects the citizens of Isle of Wight County and presents challenges for its local government.

It is therefore imperative that we as local officials engage both those in the county and outside through various boards and authorities so voices, arising from the local level, might be heard.

Our meetings are televised through the local cable channel or via the Internet at the Isle of Wight County website. Or feel free to attend; sign in to speak during the public comment time and address your concerns to the board.

I am confident I speak for the entire board in saying you are always welcome.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is