Who’s in charge in Surry County?
Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
I attended a meeting of the Surry County Board of Supervisors on May 12. The agenda consisted of three items: 1) public hearing on the proposed real estate tax increase, 2) public hearing on the FY 22-23 county administrator’s proposed budget, and 3) an old business item on the hiring of a county attorney.
My first comment on the meeting is that it is obvious that neither the board nor county administration were interested in public comments because they limited public comments to three minutes. How does a citizen limit comments to three minutes when dealing with the proposed 2022 budget when the information posted on the county’s website is more than 100 pages long?
However, after the public comments on both the proposed real estate tax increase and the proposed budget, it became obvious that two of the board members were not ready to support the county administration proposals and stated so and requested additional time for review and an additional working session meeting for comment and review by board members.
In the ensuing comments from the board members the county administrator talked over board members, attempting to take over the meeting and telling them additional time for review and comment was not necessary because all the necessary information had been provided and discussed, thus the board should move forward and approve the proposed tax and budget as currently scheduled. The board chair finally noted that the additional review and comment time would be allowed and that there would be an additional working session.
This meeting revealed a couple profoundly serious scenarios occurring in our county. The first is it became obvious that the county administrator is attempting to usurp the board and the second is the board is not taking action to correct this.