For the second time in as many years, Adam Kidd has been elected to serve as chairman of the Bland County Board of Supervisors. He previously served as chairman in 2018.
Traditionally, the board rotates the chairmanship each year.
“Some members simply did not want to do it this year and so placed their faith in me to lead us into the new decade,” Kidd said. “It is an honor to have been elected to serve as chair and lead the county into the new decade. 2020 will be a year of decisive action as we continue to address our school facility needs, economic development, internet expansion, and many other issues that we face.”
Kidd said the board’s biggest challenges are economic development, school facilities (which includes a declining student population), lack of water/sewer infrastructure in many communities and overall population numbers.
Regarding school facilities – always of major concern in Bland – Kidd said the discussion must continue regarding renovations of existing facilities versus new construction.
“The can has been kicked so far down the road, for so long, it has resulted in our existing facilities being severely neglected. Fortunately, both the board of supervisors and school board have worked very well together over the past several years in making the needed repairs to ensure they are safe for students and staff,” Kidd said.
Economic development will continue as a top priority for the board this year.
“We are always in communication with prospective businesses as well as with existing businesses to foster organic growth,” the board chairman said, adding that what happens in this year’s General Assembly with regard to minimum wage, funding for broadband projects and other issues will be critical to the county’s success moving forward.
Regarding broadband, Kidd said the county continues to work to complete the Hollybrook expansion project which has been delayed because of challenges with beaming signal and the county's topography.
The county is also working on an Appalachian Regional Commission project to lay fiber optic cable along Route 52. It is a project that will make the county a leader in the area for broadband deployment, Kidd said.
This year, the county will assist with the 2020 Census.
“It is crucial everyone participates,” Kidd said. “For every person not counted, the county loses an estimated $2,000 per person in state and federal grants, funding, etc. That's $20,000/decade for each person.”
Census workers spoke to the board late last year and encouraged the community to form a Complete County Committee. Anyone willing to help out can join the committee to help inform people of the importance of the Census and encourage participation.
Another issue for supervisors is how the new Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly will impact the county in terms of unfunded mandates and other requirements by the state, Kidd said.
Kidd was first elected to the board in 2015 and re-elected in 2019.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 5 p.m., at the Bland County Courthouse, 612 Main St.
To reach Millie Rothrock, call 276-228-6611, ext. 35, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.