The Southside Planning District Commission is proposing to change their membership for each county. Mecklenburg would go from having eight members of a 28 member Board to having five members of 15 member Board.
Wayne Carter, M.J. Colgate, Jr., Andy Hargrove, Executive Committee, Charles Jones, Angie Kellett, Charlie Simmons, Executive Committee, Glanzy Spain, Executive Committee, and Tom Tanner currently represent Mecklenburg.
“Many members of the Planning District Commission felt that the Board was too large for open discussions,” said Carter.
“With having 28 members it was more just going through the motions. There was really no discussion as to what the needs were [from each county]. They are trying to be able to have more of an open discussion about what is going on. Anybody knows that when you have a large group of people it’s hard to have an open discussion,” said Board Member and Planning Commission representative Tom Tanner.
Glen Barbour asked if all of the Planning Commission Board members present were comfortable with the change. Hargrove said that they all generally agreed to the change and recommended adopting the resolution. The Board unanimously agreed to the change.
The Meherrin River Regional jail is still struggling with staffing despite a starting salary increase earlier in the year.
Wayne Carter says that as soon as they get someone hired, another will leave. “Corrections is a difficult field because you have to remember one thing, you’re back in that jail too, so it’s not for everybody. A lot of people don’t realize it until they have had their training.”
Until the employment numbers are up and guards are fully trained, the Mecklenburg facility on Prison Road in Boydton, which has been shut down for a year, will remain closed.
“I talk to the new Board Chairman, Kevin Massingil, every couple of weeks and we’re willing to try anything. It’s just an issue across the board and it’s not just here.”
According to Carter, the inmate population has stayed steady throughout the pandemic.
Joe Stewart, a resident of Wray Road in Brodnax, asked the Board for an explanation as to why VDOT had begun paving Wray Road, but had left the site without finishing. Later in the meeting, a VDOT representative said that the first segment of the road was on a previous 6-year plan that was nearly complete.
“The second segment of the road is on the 2022-2028 6-year plan. The funding for that package will not open until Spring of 2022 and the second segment is scheduled for construction in 2023. We are following the priority that was approved by the Board from the secondary road committee.”
Stewart said that his concern is that he has been told for the past 20 years that the road is on the next 6 year plan and that it did not make since to complete a mile at a time.
Chairman Barbour remindedStewart that the funds for road construction comes from the state and that the county has to follow was is given to them to the best of their ability.
School Superintendent Paul Nichols provided the Board with an update on the new school facility, which is still on track to be fully completed by the start of the 2022/2023 school year.
To date, the middle school trusses have been completed, the auditorium roof is being constructed, steel work is about 95% complete, the curtain walls in the cafeterias are near completion, and the bus loop canopy is underway.
“Everything is moving along right on schedule,” said Nichols.
Vice Chairman Glanzy Spain asked Nichols to clarify why he heard two different completion dates for the schools. Nichols explained that the building itself is scheduled to be finished in June but that the entire facility, including athletic fields and VoTech buildings, would be completed by August.
When asked about delays in shipping of materials, Nichols gave full credit to Cleveland Construction for being able to find ways to keep construction moving forward in spite of any delays.