IOW Board aims to balance residents’ needs

Published 10:38 am Saturday, February 18, 2012

The new Board of Supervisors for Isle of Wight County had its second meeting of 2012 on Thursday evening.

As with all boards across Virginia with a majority of new members, including Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, the challenge lies in gaining as much knowledge as possible about county affairs in as short a time as possible.

As many of you know, I have farmed in southern Isle of Wight all my life. Stepping into the role of Supervisor has opened a whole new world of which I am honored to be a part. This role necessarily exposes one to many people, organizations and activities one would not otherwise encounter.

It involves making decisions that affect people, families, jobs, businesses, education, the environment, transportation and overall quality of life. I would consider it a privilege to share this journey with you, the citizens. Permit me to share a few thoughts with you, having served a mere four months.

We will not always get it right! Sitting on the podium and listening to citizens and their concerns, we are called to be as unbiased as possible.

But, to be frank, sometimes both sides of a particular issue make equal sense. We listen to other board members and their comments. We ask our county staff to weigh in. Yet ultimately, and generally pretty quickly, a decision needs to be made that night.

Of this I promise — we will do our best. And of this I am sure — if we don’t, you will let us know!

Isle of Wight has a huge number of residents who care deeply about our county. I have been amazed at the hundreds — yes hundreds — of volunteers that give their time for great causes.

Our rescue squads, fire departments, the county fair, historical committees, volunteers in schools, free medical clinics, beautification committees, civic organizations and the list goes on.

These people spend thousands of hours giving of themselves to causes bigger than themselves to enrich the quality of life in our county. Let me say, on behalf of our county, thank you for all you do!

We have a tremendous county staff. I will be the first to tell you, I have not thought about planning the land-use of a county most of my life.

But we have people who spend long hours considering the implications of a particular development, or the impact of a certain business as it pertains to the big picture.

I have not spent days, weeks and months pondering how to help existing businesses and attract new ones. But we have people on staff who are passionate about such things and know what it takes to bring attractive industries. and therefore jobs, to Isle of Wight.

I have never had to map out sewer connections, but we have staff who are experts in pump stations, water mains, water systems, etc., who provide advice and guidance.

The list goes on.

Budgeting, parks and recreation, tourism and law enforcement to name a few. It is a privilege to work with these people, and I am looking forward to learning much from them.

In closing, let me say there is a tendency of the human heart to survey the landscape for what is wrong. One may lean in that direction and find much fuel for criticism, much fodder for pessimism.

This free country we so enjoy provides one the right to do so. I say let us use our freedom to praise what we find good and commend what we find right. I am proud to plant my feet on this triangular shaped land called Isle of Wight County and call it home.

REX ALPHIN is an Isle of Wight County Supervisor for the Carrsville District and can be reached at