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Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors – LIVE! (12/15/15)

Hey hey! It’s something different here at SouthsideCentral! We were LIVE! at Tuesday’s Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors meeting in Chatham. This article is now complete, so enjoy the recap and photos. We’ve outdone ourselves on this one.

I’m sort of ashamed to say that this is the first Board of Supervisors meeting that I’ve ever covered here at SouthsideCentral. Both the Board of Supervisors & Danville City Council meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 7PM, so I’m having to miss Danville City Council tonight. Sorry, folks. 🙁

For those who don’t know, the board meets in the General District courtroom. There’s plenty of seating and a good sound system here. It’s a weird seating arrangement with the county attorney and county administrator sitting at the prosecution’s table and the zoning administrator at the defense table. Or maybe I’ve got the prosecution and defense sides reversed. Anyway, there’s the witness box in the middle of everything to make it look bizarre. Honestly, the county needs to build a specific room for board meetings so that it could be used at any time.

County Attorney Vaden Hunt and County Administrator Clarence Monday sit perpendicular to the board members.

County Administrator Clarence Monday is also clerk of the board, so he has to record motions & votes. Or so it seems. Deputy Clerk Rebecca Flippen site at the far right in the photo above. If I’m wrong on this, she’ll correct me. We heart Rebecca Flippen. Every time I throw her a quick question about anything county related, she’s got the answer ready to go.

There’s plenty of seating here.

All righty… after that introduction let’s get to business. Chairman Brenda Bowman calls the meeting to order and everybody’s here tonight. Since the board is under a permanent injunction against leading a prayer, they observe a moment of silence. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the agenda is approved and we’re ready to go. The “Hearing of Citizens” segment is next, but that’s misnamed because unless you’re a resident or landowner of Pittsylvania County, you’re not allowed to address the board. That stinks and should be changed.

We’ve got two people signed up for the public comment section. One’s a pastor who urges the board to establish a prayer policy that would pass federal court review (and that’s not going to happen) and uses the rest of his three minute time limit to lead a prayer. That’s one way to get around the “no board-led prayer” court mandate.

Hey! Let’s get a prayer in anyway.

The last speaker is outgoing school board member Wayne Robertson. He says his goodbyes to the board and Brenda Bowman notes that Robertson never missed a Board of Supervisors meeting in his four years on the school board.

Wayne Robertson makes his last speech to the board as a school board member.

Brenda Bowman recognizes people in the audience in the meeting, including incoming board members Ron Scearce and Bob Warren. Incoming board member Joe Davis gets to the meeting later. Bowman surprises me by welcoming me to my first meeting and all I can think of doing is bow to her. Heh. Bowman also recognizes new school superintendent Mark Jones and invites him to speak at the podium.


New Pittsylvania County school superintendent Mark Jones makes a brief speech.

Now we get to business, and the consent agenda is first. That includes recognitions and honorary resolutions, allowing retiring deputy Ronnie Simpson to purchase his service weapon for $1 (according to state law), and allowing outgoing supervisors to buy their county-issued laptops & cellphones for $1. Coy Harville asks to pull the last item and the rest are approved 7-0. Now that the resolutions are approved, it’s time for all of the ceremony. All of the board members come down down the floor and Bowman starts with honoring Commissioner of the Revenue Sam Swanson for his 16 years in office.

Sam Swanson, come on down!

Brenda Bowman reads the resolution honoring Sam Swanson.

Sam Swanson makes a brief speech thanking everybody.

Next, it’s time to honor outgoing Treasurer Kate Berger.

Everybody hearts Kate Berger.

Kate Berger gives us one of the best “Not Bad” looks we’ve ever seen. Heh.

Kate Berger’s husband takes a few parting shots by saying that Kate collected more back taxes than all other treasurers combined. Outgoing Clerk of Court H.F. Haymore was out of town for tonight’s meeting, so he got his recognitions in a Circuit Court ceremony on Monday. Now we move to some fun stuff. Coy Harville takes the floor and reads letters of recognition to Stony Mill elementary students Luke & Hunter Mills for winning 1st Runner-Up in the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ contest held in Delaware.

Here’s your Punkin’ Chunkin’ champions, folks.

Hunter Mills also got the his own letter of recognition. Next, Chatham High School junior Hunter Shelton won the Virginia High School League 2A golf championship and gets honored for that.

Golf champion Hunter Mills gets his recognition with his parents and coach standing beside him.

Here’s one side of the courtroom gallery. As you can see, there’s plenty of seats.

And here’s the side of the courtroom. John Crane has that “In Deep Thought” look and he pulls it off perfectly.

But wait, there’s more recognitions. This is the last meeting for James Snead, Coy Harville and Brenda Bowman so they will be honored for their service. First up is James Snead. Vice-Chairman Elton Blackstock reads the plaque given to Snead.

Elton Blackstock honors James Snead. Brenda Bowman hasn’t ran away, she’s just out of this photo to the left.

And now, James Snead sings a famous hit by Cee-Lo Green. No, not really. His voice is giving out so he gets the microphone to help him out.

Next, it’s time for Coy Harville’s time in the spotlight. Elton Blackstock does the honors again.

Coy Harville with his wife and daughter.

And finally, it’s Brenda Bowman’s turn to be honored.

Jessie Barksdale reads Brenda Bowman’s plaque. Ken, Brenda’s husband, drove in from Warren County (NC). Lindsey, Brenda’s daughter, drove in from Nashville as a surprise.

Some members of the audience give Brenda Bowman a standing ovation. Some are not impressed. One appears to be eating his glasses.

Not impressed.

Eating his glasses.

And here’s the group photo.

We now have five zoning cases on the agenda. Four of them are approved, and the board goes against the Planning Commission’s recommendation in denying a rezoning for a truck loading station in the Brosville district. Here’s another thing that I find odd about the board’s procedures. Whoever is the supervisor representing the district where a rezoning case is located makes the motion for approval/denial and then states that they have visited the property and find everything to be acceptable. Obviously that makes it so much better. Huh?

Dear lord, we’re already at 90 minutes at 1300 words.

The Arc of Southside asks and gets tax exemption on their properties after nobody speaks at the public hearing. A group of residents successfully get a “no loose dogs” provision put on their subdivision in the Staunton River district. None of the residents seemed to know to get up and talk while the public hearing was open, so Brenda Bowman reopens the hearing for them.

The board approves a low interest loan for the school system on an energy efficiency project. We get the quarterly attendance report from the Community Policy Management Team.

It’s Pittsylvania County Human Resources director Liz Jordan! Hee hee.

Moving along, there’s a little debate about the county’s new program for buying and installing “Watch For Children” signs. Coy Harville makes a motion to table the discussion saying that more information needs to come out against this program. The rest of the board gives Harville the proper respect that he deserves by bulldozing right over top of him and passing the measure anyway.

Finally, the board votes to refund Owens-Brockway $130,000 from a business property tax overpayment. They had discussed this in a closed session in the previous meeting. The county worked out a settlement with Owens-Brockway on this number.

We move to the around-the-horn session and the spotlight is Brenda Bowman’s final speech where she thanks everybody but then pulls out a Brenda Bowman doll and gives it to Coy Harville so that he’ll always remember her. Priceless!

Whew! What a night! Thanks for reading the most comprehensive recap ever done on a Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors meeting. This won’t be the last one that we do, that’s for sure!

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