Last month Carl Nordstrom addressed you expressing severe disappointment that you, the Board of Supervisors have not acted on the pressing issues facing the County. I am going to expand on the substandard performance report he presented.
You have made little to no progress in addressing the major county-wide concerns expressed repeatedly by citizens, and community organizations. You have not even addressed the professional studies including the one you commissioned and paid for with our tax dollars. You have done nothing to replace the loss of local emergency services when the hospital moves from Nassawadox. You perpetuate deteriorating relationships with the towns. You preside over the huge void of a prepared workforce. Internet broadband is available in the County but you have done little to support extending its services to the majority of the county for businesses and to other areas where internet service is poor. You continue to refuse to address with solutions the declining enrollment in the public schools. The blindness you show to the stranglehold the lack of parental involvement has over the educational system is astounding.
Editors Note: This letter by Robert Meyers was read into the Board of Supervisors, Northampton County, Virginia Public Record for the August 11, 2015 Public Meeting
Your County Staff without effective guidance has made excessive use of county Staff time and county resources on projects that had no buy-in from the community. The sewer projects, specifically your Southern Node pipe dream proposed by the PSA, have dragged on for years, with tens of thousands of county dollars spent on useless engineering for which you still have an open contract. And yet, when a citizen group exercised their initiative to break the $600,000 USDA logjam that the Staff was incapable of doing, the Staff complained about their interference.
The proposed county rezoning has been ongoing for over two years and is still severely flawed. It also does not reflect the desires of the County residents and it continues to generate extensive community opposition. County Staff appears to pursue projects on their own, direct policy, set Agendas and create time lines. The series of expensive architects’ plans generated for the Middle School by the Staff proceeded with no real strategy in place. The Economic Development department has not produced economic development to date and the Planning Department under it continues to spend a large amount of their energy on your rezoning proposal that has never been justified with any supporting data.
Information presented at the last meeting regarding industrial Confined Feeding Operations from a former employee, and now from Accomack, perpetuates the appearance of a lack of transparency between the county and special interest groups such as the poultry industry and real estate development interests. This seems to have resulted in very specific proposed changes in zoning density, lot coverage and land use which would greatly benefit only those industry sectors with total disregard for the residential community. You, as a Board, have permitted a top-down governing policy, shown by consistent refusal to provide opportunities for public participation in forming government plans. The zoning proposal was based only on Board solicited sources, such as staff. Your ad hoc CPAC group was formed to undermine the Planning Commission that contained highly knowledgeable members with whom your desires clashed. It has ONLY been because of subsequent public pressure and community outrage that you have corrected some deficiencies.
The knowledgeable members of the Planning Commission have either not been reappointed or have resigned in disgust. That Commission is now dysfunctional. It has been staffed with those who have expressed openly in meetings that they are trying to provide the language the Board of Supervisors desires instead of using the Planning training they have received at a state level and for which our taxes have paid. Their recommendations are then passed to the Board of Supervisors who have no planning training and are then determining the land use and economic planning for the County. From a citizen’s standpoint, you as a Board of Supervisors are a mirror image of the dysfunction of your own Planning Commission.
Finally, the public has paid for the extravagance in this building including an expensive audio system which you consistently neglect to use properly. The inability of the public to hear clearly what is being discussed at meetings has generated regular public remarks. Transcriptions of meetings have long, indecipherable gaps, caused by 2-3 people speaking at once, with side conversations muffling the speaker and Board members and the County attorneys still ignoring the microphones and speaking away from them.
Why have so many needs of the county residents not been addressed? Why has the county not moved forward aggressively to address the loss of an emergency medical facility? Why has the county not updated its website and started marketing the county’s assets which your own Competitiveness Report advised you to do? Where are the workforce training opportunities the whole community knows we need? Why have you wasted so much of the citizen’s time and not addressed the real priorities of the County even though there is one among you that continually tries to direct your attention to the real needs of the County?
As Mr. Carl Nordstrom stated succinctly at the last meeting, you have caused the loss of a tremendous amount of energy, expertise and staff time and — wasted your time.
Gentlemen, you were elected to govern this county. It seems that you have lost control of the County government and the confidence of the citizens.