Phenix fire chief seek BOS seat

Published 6:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2021

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Phenix Volunteer Fire Department Chief Walt Bailey announced earlier this month he will be a candidate for the Board of Supervisors seat representing the Phenix District.

Serving in his 38th year as fire chief, founding member, president of the Charlotte County Fire and Rescue Association, and life member of the Charlotte County Rescue Squad, Bailey said he is no stranger to serving others.

Walt Bailey

“I have devoted my entire life to public service to the residents of this county, as well as working in various positions for the Town of Phenix to try to make the county a better place to live,” Bailey said. “I would now like to channel my time and experience to serve on the Board of Supervisors.”

A lifelong resident of Charlotte County Bailey said planning for the county’s future is a top priority and one that needs to be taken seriously.

“I would like to see more effort placed in planning for the future rather than doing a budget from year to year,” Bailey said. “My goal would be to see budgets projected out for five years at a minimum.  Our children are our greatest asset, so I want to make sure this county continues to have the finest educational opportunities without burdening them with future debt. I have built three profitable businesses and sold each one, so I have created jobs and know the responsibilities of signing paychecks.” 

Bailey said the county must also work for economic opportunities by attracting businesses to the county to expand the tax base. He said an increase in broadband internet access is a big part of that.

Being a member of the volunteer fire service and retired member of the Lynchburg Fire Department, Bailey said he feels he brings a  wide variety of experiences to the position he seeks.

“I oversaw operations in the Lynchburg Fire Department that included close to 200 employees and a budget approaching $15 million,” Bailey said. “On the state level, I was appointed by the governor to the fire services board where we oversaw training, policies, and financial assistance with a budget of more than $40 million.”

According to Bailey, the county has enjoyed volunteer fire and EMS coverage for many years, but due to regulations and the cost of providing this service, the burden is becoming overwhelming to the volunteer departments.

“If we don’t address the needs now, we will be forced to hire career firefighter/EMTs to take the place of our volunteers,” Bailey said. “Every dollar that is spent today to support the continued volunteer operations will save tenfold in future expenses.” 

Bailey is running for the position currently held by Donna Fore. Fore has said she plans to seek reelection.