Does Floyd need a town manager or even a town government?

The controversy over the hiring of Lance Terpenny as Floyd’s new town manager after Christiansburg dumped him raises a few other questions:

  1. Does Floyd really need a Town Manager?
  2. Does Floyd even need a town government?
  3. Does Floyd, as a town, even need to exist?

With a population of about 436 residents, Floyd is one of the smaller Virginia towns with a formal government. Most towns that small in the Old Dominion fall under county jurisdiction. Perhaps the residents of Floyd (and the county) would be better served if Floyd joined the county in a unified county government.

Virginia has one such all-inclusive county: Arlington, where Amy and I lived for 23 years. No cities or towns exist in Arlington County — the county has governmental responsibility for all residents. It worked very well.

Residents of the Town of Floyd has water, sewer and trash collection — services county residents do not enjoy — but are those services worth the extra cost in taxes to town residents?  A number of those who live inside the county have raised that issue lately.

Floyd does not offer many services that town or city residents normally enjoy. Floyd does not have a police department, a fire department or a rescue squad. Those services come from the county. Most county homes with wells enjoy better water pressure than town residents. Parking enforcement in Floyd is non-existent because, under the town code, only a “town magistrate” can write parking tickets. Floyd hasn’t had a town magistrate for a long time. The town’s only street sweeper is out of service and has been for some time.

Floyd’s population has remained static for 50 years.  It stood at 435 when I left in 1965. It was 434 when I came back in 2004 and stands at 436 today. My granddaddy used to say that Floyd has zero population growth because every time a baby was born some guy left town.

At a time when taxpayers need to get more bang for their bucks, perhaps residents of both the town and county would be better served if the town dissolved its government and merged with the county.

Something to think about.

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9 thoughts on “Does Floyd need a town manager or even a town government?”

  1. Those are questions worth asking since the private sector has been adapting to mean and lean for many years now. How many chiefs does it take to look after a few indians? Does a manager put out fires or light fuses? Is it a leadership role or someone reacting?

    The perfect fit comment still makes me wonder why that was the best choice of possible comments. Chrisitiansburg is a fairly large town, Floyd is a very small town. The only thing I could think of that was common is they are both Towns and the County Seat. I imagine that requires some experience in saying, “That’s not my yob man.”

    In the private sector this would most likely result in a letter a month later saying, “Your skill set doesn’t match our needs. You are overqualified for this position.” It certainly doesn’t justify the Council raising the pay rate for the position and joining what might involve a larger investigation of Terpenny’s previous employment.

    If confidence is truly a major factor in our current events this appears to have all downside and no upside. What’s the rush and are the other applicants really that bad?

  2. For those interested, the next Floyd Town Council meeting is this Thursday, July 15 at 6:30. That information is per a call to the Town of Floyd offices. On previous posts, the time was given as 7:30, but that is incorrect. Please make sure you show up on time!

  3. I have believed for some time that the whole county system in Virginia is out dated. Let’s not stop at the town, lets eliminate the county. Does it make sense to have a county and all the infrastructure to support a county of 16000 people. We would be better off if we went back to be part of Montgomery county. Long gone are the days when we needed a county seat within a day’s horse back ride. Let’s take a look out west and eliminate 80 of the 95 counties in this state. Time for us to move into the modern age of the 21st century.

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