- Last Updated on 07:56 AM 05/08/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Points to ponder
To the editor:
As you are well aware, I am an advocate of attracting retirees to Halifax County. However, there is a difference in the type of retirees, those who are living on Social Security, self savings and a small retirement income and those who retire with a 401(K), investments and other income, i.e., those with little or no disposable income and those with disposable income. The difference is important to the financial and economic health of Halifax County.
We, as a county, must attract the latter type of retiree. Again, the disposable income available to many of the retirees now living in Halifax County is small or nonexistent as evidenced by the outcry when supervisors propose a hike in the personal property and/or real estate tax rates. Many retired and older individuals living here are concerned that they would not be able to afford to eat and pay the taxes.
Some 39 percent of the adults in Halifax County do not possess a high school diploma. Add that to the fact that our school system is inadequate, something which has turned some companies away from Halifax County. Another negative factor includes the fact that shopping and entertainment opportunities are limited.
Fact is that businesses locating in Halifax County would in all likelihood have to bring their own employees with them, particularly those in management positions and would have a very minor effect upon opening job opportunities for young people looking for well paying jobs in the local economy.
My own children relocated to the Raleigh area because of lack of jobs here in Halifax County, and the likelihood of any industry with comparable wage rates to larger areas locating here is very slim.
To be redundant, the best hope for economic growth here is in attracting retiring baby boomers who will bring in the dollars to support growth in local businesses, from real estate, retail, restaurants, travel agencies, construction, accountants, lawyers, to just about any other area of the local economy. These people would also add to the tax base, thus relieving the pressure on the local governing bodies to increase taxes on existing business and individuals.
Halifax County has a niche that must be exploited in order for the area to prosper and offer economic incentive for people growing up in the area to stay. Friendly people, and in comparison to cities north of Halifax County, low tax rates, low cost of living, low crime rates and low cost of housing are factors which lend this area to attracting retirees.
Add to that a mild climate compared to New England, New Jersey and New York, the location just a days drive from the Northeastern States, the proximity of Halifax to major metropolitan areas as Durham, Raleigh and Greensboro with shopping, restaurants, entertainment and major medical facilities nearby makes Halifax an ideal retirement destination. Danville is already taking advantage of this opportunity, as has Mecklenburg County.
Anyone interested in assisting with the formation of a committee to develop a plan to pursue recruitment of retirees to Halifax County, call me at 572-6721 during the day.
Barry A. Bank
Encourage law enforcement
To the editor:
Even though the bombing at the Boston Marathon was about a month ago the thought of it is still disturbing. Those innocent people who died or had to have their limbs amputated because of the bombing breaks my heart.
Thank God for all the law enforcement who were on the scene in Boston and the surrounding area. I understand there were about a thousand officers involved. Can you imagine how much worse things could be without them. We need them to keep order, especially in our country now.
The next time you see a police officer, shake his or her hand and tell them you appreciate them. They need encouragement too.
Contact county school board
To the editor:
I want to address the issue of pay raises in the Halifax County Public School System.
As we all know the state money covers the teachers and some other employees, but it does not include all the employees of the school system. In my opinion the state should have covered all employees because we all work for the same county government.
We are also aware the schools get money from the county, and since the county has found this extra money, it should be used for pay increases for the employees of the school system who were not included in the state funding.
I also commend the school board in its effort to get more funding from the county to include everybody in the pay increase.
The employees who really need this pay increase are the cafeteria workers and the custodians. We have been underpaid even before we stopped getting raises, so I encourage all concerned citizens to contact the school board and voice their opinions on this important issue.
Museum Research Room has answers
To the editor:
This letter is addressed to the public.
Would you like to know more about your family? Do you know who your grandfathers and grandmothers were? Where did they live? What did they do for a living? Who were your great grandparents? What country did your ancestors live in?
The Research Room at the South Boston-Halifax County Museum may be able to help you find some answers to these questions.
The museum is located on Wilborn Avenue across the street from Powell Funeral Home in South Boston. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no admission charge.
It is best to call ahead to see if there is a volunteer to help you at 572-9200.
James N. Sheppard
Cluster Springs Early Learning Center should remain open
To the editor:
Cluster Springs Early Learning Center should remain open for the future of children in Alton, Cluster Springs, Turbeville and Virgilina communities.
It is a wonderful recently renovated facility where young children are educated and prepared for kindergarten. I have personally had grandchildren in this facility and can attest to th fact of the quality education they received at this facility. I have additional grandchildren who I hope to be able to see attend this facility in the future.
It is the perfect setting for young children to begin their school careers. I urge each and everyone in the community to call your school board members and demand this facility remain open.
I am also extremely upset over the way some veteran employees are being treated by this administration and the school board “elected” officials. It is not fair for any veteran employee to have their pay decreased and their contract durations cut for the benefit of giving Central Office employees raises. This is total discrimination.
I hope the board of supervisors will consider not giving you the additional $150,000 when you are doing wrong to your fellow employees.
If they do give you additional funding I would hope it would be with the stipulations that no employee salary is cut, that Cluster Springs Early Learning Center will remain open, and no employee will receive a two percent pay raise unless you can afford to keep all employees at their current level of pay and then raise across the board.