Supervisor candidates – Boykins/Branchville District
Published 1:47 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Two men seek the office of supervisor for the Boykins/Branchville District in Southampton County. The Tidewater News asked them the following questions: 1. Full name and district you are running in; 2. What qualities and experience do you possess that make you a good candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors? 3. What are the most pressing issues facing the Board of Supervisors, and what would you propose to specifically address those issues? 4. What do you see as the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Southampton County, and what specifically would you propose to take advantage of those opportunities?
1. Carl J. Faison for the Boykins/Branchville District
2. I am a good listener with concern for all of the citizens of Southampton County. I am a man of honesty, integrity and sound judgment. I have served the citizens of Southampton County for many years as a supervisor. During the time that I have been on the Board of Supervisors, the Board has made many accomplishments.
Among those accomplishments are: the completion of the Thomaston Road (Newsoms) water and sewer improvements; completion of the improvements of the Boykins water system; construction of Riverdale Elementary School; development of the Turner Tract Industrial Park; negotiation of an agreement with Enviva Pellets, which paved the way for development of a new $91 million pellet mill at the Turner Track Industrial Park.
3. A. Renovating the courthouse. It is mandated that we provide a courthouse that meets the requirements of the Virginia Courthouse Facility Guidelines and the Virginia Supreme Court. To do this, it has been decided that we will renovate the existing courthouse instead of building a new courthouse. This is a very expensive endeavor, so we have to determine the most cost-effective way to renovate the courthouse and provide a facility that satisfies the needs of all users of the courthouse. This process is currently underway and we must see it through to fruition.
B. Attracting new industry to the county. We need to attract more industry into the county to relieve our citizens of the tax burden that we ask them to bear. We compete with every other locality that is as hungry for new industry as we are. Therefore, we have to make ourselves competitive with other localities by offering the incentives that industries are looking for.
C. Maintaining good schools. Our schools produce students who compete with other students from all over the country. We need to do all that we can to ensure that our schools continue to have the quality educators and resources that they need to maintain this performance. Therefore, we must fund our school to our greatest extent. When industries seek places in which to locate, the quality of the school system is high on their agenda. Maintaining good schools enhances our ability to attract more industry and help to relieve the tax burden discussed above.
4. Our land is one of our greatest resources. We have to communicate to probable industries that Southampton County has land on which to locate, and we need to prepare sites on which industries can locate.
Alternative energy production is very real to 21st-century life, and we need to recognize this. The sunshine in Southampton County makes our county conducive to the production of solar energy. Therefore, we may receive more requests from solar energy companies to locate solar farms here. This is a fact of life. As we entertain such developments, we have to keep in mind the interests of everyone involved: The land owner who chooses to devote his/her land to the production of solar energy; the farmer who needs the open land to grow his/her crops; and the solar company desiring to locate a solar farm in Southampton County. Actually, we are all stakeholders in the production of alternative energy sources because we all need clean and healthy air to breathe. I am concerned that such a small percentage of the profits received through alternative energy production comes to the locality where the solar farm is located.
Farming is a very important industry in Southampton because it provides the livelihood for many of our citizens. We must also recognize that farming supports many other businesses, including the trucking business, retail businesses and other businesses. It is through farming that we have food, clothing and other needed resources. As we consider other industries, we must consider the impact they have on the availability of farm land.
Recently, we have seen the expansion of several existing businesses. As we try to bring new businesses into the county, we must also continue to do all that we can to ensure the health and growth of our existing businesses.
In Southampton County we have many small businesses. Certainly, we want to attract large businesses that can help relieve the tax burden that our citizens bear, but we must also recognize the important role that our small businesses play in the economy of Southampton, and we must do whatever we can to help ensure their survival.
1. Robert “Chet” Poland. Candidate for the Board of Supervisors – Boykins/Branchville District
2. Qualities/experiences that make me a good candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors:
• Interested in the future of Southampton County and its ability to handle the fiscal needs in a responsible manner for our citizens, and the children and grandchildren who will bear the burden of the debts we create in this generation.
• Concerned about working with the City of Franklin on the shared indebtedness to renovate the [Southampton County] Courthouse in a responsible manner.
• As the manager of Koppers Industries, I have had years of experience dealing with planning, budgeting, logistics and management. The experiences with Koppers and its former owners Atlantic Wood Products and Cox Industries have given me a strong business background.
• As a lifetime resident of this county, I believe that we need to do more for the youth of Southampton County. Giving money to the country club is not the best way to reach out to all of the children in a fair and equitable manner. We need to do more to help provide recreation opportunities for the children in the county in the areas where they live.
3. The most pressing issues facing the Board of Supervisors and what I would propose to address these issues are:
• Working together with the City of Franklin to renovate the Southampton County Courthouse in a financially responsible manner that shares the indebtedness and builds stronger relations between shared services for the city and the county to save on duplicated expenses.
• Work closely on the budget process with all county agencies so that needs are met and excess wants are removed from the budget at a time when there is little flexibility in the budget.
• Look for ways to build on the strong agricultural background that Southampton has always had and search for industries that relate to agriculture. Also, as a major corridor between Interstate 95 and the Hampton Roads, I believe that we should look for ways to keep the roads safe in spite of the large amount of traffic each and every day on Route 58 that passes by schools, businesses, and through neighborhoods.
4. The greatest opportunities for economic growth in Southampton County are:
• To bring in industry that will build job opportunities for the future of the county so that our young people will have a reason to stay here to live and raise their families. This is the only way we will have a tax base for the future. We must have economic opportunities for jobs that meet the needs of the future and not rely on the same industries that we have always relied on.
• The possibility of expanding food crops as a way increasing the economy through agriculture?
• We need career and technical education opportunities that do not require a four-year college degree because research is showing a trend in employers looking for people who have skills.