2022 decided to start off with fluctuating weather.

I’m not sure what’s going on with Mother Nature knocking out highs in the 70s over the weekend followed by hail and snow on Monday morning. But, it sure was pretty to watch the snow fall.

I can’t help but wonder if this is foreshadowing of how the year will be, but not necessarily with the weather.

Will there be back and forth on issues going from one extreme to the next?

It should be another interesting year.

Minimum wage has started to climb with its first increase over the weekend on its way to reaching $15 an hour, if the General Assembly continues backing it.

Virginia’s minimum wage increased back in May to $9.50 then on Saturday, it increased to $11, and it should increase again to $12 an hour Jan. 1, 2023. By 2026, it should be up to $15.

While $15 sounds great to every person getting paid by the hour, I fear that small businesses won’t be able to keep up. How will it effect prices? What about the hours that people are given to work? Benefits provided? How will all of that be affected as the minimum wage increases?

Jefferson Policy Journal published an article criticizing the increase that was shared by the Virginia Manufacturers Association that sates, “The increased cost to employers harms the local economy because employers, like workers, spend money in their community. Small business owners spend less on consumption and business investment when minimum wage hikes slash their profits. They buy less equipment, hire fewer people to do construction, and do fewer upgrades and renovations that would have provided jobs for people in their communities.”

I’m just not sure the increase is something that every business can handle while also continuing to invest in their company and make it thrive.

Other headlines that I’m sure will make the front page this year are architect chosen for the high school project, construction process begins on high school project, etc. You get the idea.

Interestingly enough the school board is set to meet this week and next week, and we’ll see if and when they choose to make the next steps in hiring an architect. They were previously set to interview Moseley Architects, RRMM Architects and Grimm + Parker Architects after choosing to reject a PPEA.

Another new board member, Melissa Hicks, is set to join the school board, and I’m interested to see what her opinion will be moving forward.

Also, supervisor’s dropped a bit of a bombshell in their meeting packet for their Monday meeting saying the school board must decide on a specific project for their elementary needs before they can move forward with getting the $25 million supervisors previously approved borrowing for elementary needs.

Meanwhile, the school board hasn’t mentioned elementary school facility projects since their last public hearing on possible consolidation of schools at the end of October.

After all the heat they received at those series of public hearings, I feel like they just wanted to let the chatter from that die down.

There were hints at a previous joint meeting with the school board and supervisors where they talked about the school board being more “fiscally responsible” when it comes to facilities. I can’t help but wonder what they might do with elementary schools, and I feel like if they do try to close any of the schools, the school board will be divided.

Hopefully other headlines this year will include some type of economic development that will provide more jobs other than just the Starbucks set to come in the summer. And, let me say, I’m just as excited as many others to see the new Starbucks.

We’re also supposed to get another building with the SOVA Innovation Labs in the future, as well.

I’m also interested to see the new additions to the Crossing of the Dan this year, and I can’t wait to see what Halifax has in store for their town plans with additions to their parking, seating and the Halifax Marketplace, also known as the Halifax Farmers Market.

Bring on the New Year.

Ashley Conner is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at aconner@gazettevirginian.com

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at ahodge@gazettevirginian.com