Blue Ridge District Supervisor Tim Tatum has announced he will seek re-election to the Franklin County Board of Supervisors.

Tatum, 53, was first elected to the board of supervisors in 2015. He currently works for the Ferrum College Police Department, and is retired from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve just enjoyed the first four years and hope that the citizens of the Blue Ridge District will see fit to give me a chance for another four years,” Tatum said. The district encompasses the southwest corner of the county and includes the communities of Ferrum, Endicott and Henry.

The supervisor said he was pleased with various accomplishments specific to the Blue Ridge District, including bringing 24/7 emergency medical services coverage to Ferrum and Fork Mountain as membership in volunteer rescue squads dwindles, ensuring the district has enough dumpster sites as the county transitions its waste system and reopening Jamison Mill Park, now under county management.

He also cited the ongoing work of crafting the Ferrum Village Plan.

But, Tatum said “there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done.”

The county faces many challenges, Tatum said, from declining school enrollment to keeping salaries for teachers, sheriff’s deputies and other county employees competitive. He cited two of the county’s biggest projects — the development of the Summit View Business Park and expansion of career and technical education offerings at the high school — as priorities.

Though Summit View predates Tatum’s service on the board, he is supportive .

“I feel that it’s a good venture for the county to go into,” Tatum said. “It’s an investment into our future.”

Tatum said he wants to see more businesses locating in the park, providing good-paying jobs so children born and raised in Franklin County can stay there. He wants fewer people to leave the county for work. Tatum said he’d like to see 500 new jobs created at the park in the next four to five years.

With a hefty price tag on the project at the high school, Tatum said it’s important to approach it carefully. He said the board of supervisors needs to come to an agreement with the school board on the project’s scope and figure out how to pay for it.

“We need to make sure that we do it in a structured way, a responsible way that doesn’t put such a big cost burden on our taxpayers,” Tatum said.

Continuing to build a bridge between the county and Ferrum College is another goal of Tatum’s. When the two partner, he said, everybody wins.

Tatum said he’d also like to see the county ramp up its tourism efforts. He said a campground and RV park the supervisors approved a special-use permit for on Tuesday is a great for tourism. He’d like to see others take on similar projects, particularly at Philpott Lake.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in the Blue Ridge District and I think I’m the right person for the job and I hope that they’ll agree with me,” he said.

Tatum, running again as an independent, is the first to file the paperwork to get his name on the ballot in November for the board of supervisors, according to the county registrar. Four seats will be on the ballot. The filing deadline for candidates seeking a party nomination is March 28, while the deadline for independents is June 11.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County.

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