At the Jan.6 Surry County Board of Supervisors meeting, County Administrator Melissa Rollins shared highlights of the State of the County address – Surry County on the Rise - which was held on Dec. 15, 2021.
Rollins introduced the event saying, “We never could have anticipated the greatest challenge of our generation would be an ongoing global pandemic. We have seen a gradual recovery, but we realize COVID-19 is still affecting our businesses, schools and families. While the pandemic is seemingly a part of our everyday lives, we have learned that Surry County remains resilient; we continue along our path of providing unity in the community and seeking and seizing opportunities to improve the quality of life for the citizens of this great county.”
Further information on the state of the county was shared at the event by Board of Supervisors Chair Robert Elliott, Deputy County Administrator David Harrison, Economic Development Director Yoti Jabri, Planning and Community Development Director Horace Wade, Emergency Services Chief Ray Phelps, Valerie Pierce from Health and Human Services, Sheriff Carlos Turner, Surry County Public Schools Superintendent Serbrenia Sims, and Delon Brown from IT and Support Services.
Rollins cited the following as successes during the year 2021:
• Successful public/private partnership with Prince George Electric Cooperative in the county’s broadband initiative.
o 2021 First Virginia Economic Developer Association award for the partnership with Prince George Electric Cooperative - March 2021
o Governor Ralph Northam visit to Surry County on Aug. 26, 2021; praised Surry for broadband progress
o Broadband Education Center
o Participation at Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity to discuss the county’s success story.
• Tourism marketing video Coastal Live and Richmond Area broadcast
• Purchase of prime real estate fronting a major corridor- Grayland Property off Rt. 460
• The administration of COVID-19 vaccinations to Surry citizens
o The partnership with Prince George County Call-in Center
o The Call-In Center at the Emergency Operations Control creating a local hotline due to the inaccessibility of citizens to navigate the state system
o The mobile Hampton University vaccine clinic for Surry students
o The vaccination rate for Surry citizens and dashboard
Rollins also pointed out as examples of unity in the community the following events: 2021 National Night Out, Homecoming parade, Trunk-Or-Treat, Farmers Market, Walk for Diabetes, Local Business Partnership and Town of Surry with the county for pictures with Santa and tree lighting ceremony.
In addition, she listed federal, state and local grant awards including a Federal infrastructure package ($10.0 million approved by Congressman McEachin); EMS grants (Various), local market grant awards such as the Genan Foundation and; Obici, county leverage, tourism grants, workforce development grants and new business announcements.
Under general government administration Rollins listed the Census update, animal control improvements and MOU with the Sheriff, upgrades to the facility, MOU with Sussex County on Inspection Services, Emergency Medical Dispatch implementation, successful 2021 voting process, financial position – GFOA Award, information technology improvements, mobile hotspots, website improvements, citizen participation through live stream (YouTube), countywide improvements to network infrastructure, hiring of 11 web app specialist, key customer service enhancements, open and inviting to the public kiosk and attendant, sanitation site improvements, robust farmers market activities and participation, resolution designating Grays Creek and Marina as a recreational amenity, Parks and Recreation Activities (disc golf, exercise annex, etc.), planned improvements to Parks and Recreation field and outdoor restrooms.
Rollins ended by saying, “Our progress is undeniable. With the support and guidance of the Board of Supervisors and citizens we’ve placed Surry County in a good position to be recognized as a leader in small local government.”