Todd Dodson officially started his campaign for re-election to the Amsterdam District seat on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors this past week.
Dodson is finishing his first term on the Board of Supervisors, which has been marked by some of the most dynamic growth in the history of Botetourt County, an announcement about his re-election bid said.
After graduating from Lord Botetourt High School in 1981, he earned a degree from Appalachian State University in computer science and immediately entered the U.S. Army. He served for 25 years that included multiple tours of duty in the Middle East. He also earned two Masters degrees, directly commanded several multi-national units, developed national-level policies and strategies, and worked at all levels of the government, the announcement said.
After retiring at the rank of Colonel in 2010, Dodson returned to Botetourt County where his parents still reside. Dodson was elected to the Botetourt Board of Supervisors in 2013 and began his first term on the board in January 2014 where, the announcement said, he has continued to use his experience and leadership.
“As I was campaigning in 2013, I had many people tell me that Botetourt was not a ‘business friendly’ county,” Dodson said in the announcement. “My first actions were to take an assessment of where the county was and the opportunities on which we could capitalize.
“We have a great resource at Greenfield that was a past investment for the county’s taxpayers, with very little to show in return. I discovered that people use those areas but head back to Roanoke to spend money at hotels and restaurants,” said Dodson. “But the VDOT redesign of Exit 150 gives us an opportunity to change all of that.”
During his first year on the board, Dodson pushed to create a long-term strategy that would guide the future growth and development of Botetourt County, according to the announcement. With the support of the other supervisors and with a new energy from the county staff, a new Botetourt Vision was draft in late 2014 and approved by the Board in early 2015.
The Botetourt 2040 Vision takes a 25-year look on how Botetourt County could become a leader in the greater Roanoke Valley.
The key component of the 2040 Vision is the very purposeful and deliberate delineation of two separate developmental strategies, Dodson’s announcement continued.
With the opportunities presented, the 2040 Vision designates the southern half of the county for the main effort of economic development. “We have the resources in water, power, roads and land that sets the conditions for successful economic development in the Amsterdam and Valley (Election) Districts,” said Dodson. “And with the catalyst of Exit 150 and the available land at Greenfield, our efforts will grow our commercial and industrial tax base, which will benefit all citizens in Botetourt County.”
The 2040 Vision includes an agricultural aspect that established a strategy that focuses on a revitalization of Botetourt agricultural economy. “Agriculturally, Botetourt has changed a lot since I graduated from Lord Botetourt. Not that the change is bad, but I wanted the county to be able to help our existing farmers, and set conditions to attract new farmers to this great county,” said Dodson.
The county has recently initiated a search and hiring process for a new Agricultural Development Director. “This new hire will work alongside the county’s Economic Development Director, but will focus on helping our existing farms be more profitable, find new markets which to serve and to set conditions to attract new farmers and companies that will bring the latest agricultural technologies to Botetourt,” the announcement said.
Over the last four years, the county has seen new companies like Eldor and Ballast Point pick Botetourt for new facilities and operations; dramatically improve water quality in the Daleville area by joining the Western Virginia Water Authority, and a key reason Ballast Point chose Botetourt County; set the conditions for the first commercial wind farm in the Commonwealth, soon to be built in Botetourt; and established sound fiscal policy that led to the first balanced budget in many years for the county— a budget that did not have to rely on the county’s General Fund balance, i.e. taking from the county’s savings to make the budget work, the announcement said.
“It has truly been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Botetourt County and the residents of the Amsterdam District,” Dodson continued.
But he is looking forward to another four years to continue the work that has just begun. On his agenda, he said, is the continued development around Exit 150 that includes new hotels, new restaurants and new retail space that will make Exit 150 a destination stop along Interstate 81, and continue to grow the county’s commercial tax base.
He also said in the announcement that a better relationship between the Board of Supervisors and the county’s School Board has developed over the past couple of years.
“By conducting joint work sessions and meetings, the boards have begun to focus on short- and long-term needs and the strategies to meet those needs,” the announcement said. Dodson also worked with the School Board and administration that produced a much-needed teacher and staff pay increase but also a flat FY18 school budget, that required no additional funding from the county, the announcement said.
“There is more work to do, and more opportunities that Botetourt must take advantage of in the future,” he continued. He said his agenda includes infrastructure improvements like better Internet access across the county and improvements along the US 220 corridor, and continued improvements in law enforcement, fire and EMS systems.
Dodson said his focus will remain “on developing a future that will make us all proud.”