VACo traveled to Dinwiddie County on May 30 for its second 2018 Regional Meeting. Around 60 local government leaders from 11 counties attended the joint meeting of VACo Regions 1 & 4. Also in attendance were representatives from VACo Sponsors: the Berkley Group, VACORP, VACo/VML Finance, and NORESCO. The meeting was held at the beautiful Robert and Betty Ragsdale Community Center, which is featured on Page 5 of this newsletter. All attendees were invited to tour the Community Center, and to observe just how important this facility is to Dinwiddie County residents. If you haven’t yet visited the Robert and Betty Ragsdale Community Center – it’s well worth the trip!
The meeting kicked off with each elected official sharing their most pressing issue. With such a large and diverse group of attendees from throughout these two regions, policy discussions were insightful and ranged from solar facility placement, to rural broadband expansion, to workforce readiness, trash disposal, and economic development, just to name a few.
Erik Johnston, Director of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VDHCD), shared information about economic development programs and resources available to counties in Virginia. Attendees gained information about state and federal programs such as the “Opportunity Zones” project, the Virginia Main Street Program, Community Development Block Grants, and the Go Virginia project. Johnston, a VACo staff alum, also answered questions about broadband’s connection to economic development and the most logical and economically sound way to connect the very rural areas with broadband access. Thank you, Erik, for making time to speak with us.
While General Assembly members spent a heavy day working through the budget debate, Senator Frank Ruff, representing portions of Regions 1 & 4, still took time to travel to Dinwiddie County to be with our Members. Senator Ruff shared his perspective of the budget negotiations and the debates in Richmond, and engaged in a Q&A with several local leaders about additional legislative concerns. A big thank you to Senator Ruff for his time on such a busy day.
After hearing from the Senator, the meeting was adjourned, but attendees stayed to talk with each other. We thank Dinwiddie County for being such a wonderful host, and look forward to the summer with more Regional Meetings ahead.
VACo Contact: Angela Inglett