Town of Belhaven reflects on successes of 2020

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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The Town of Belhaven faced many unexpected challenges during the year of 2020 but managed to accomplish many goals to progress the town forward.

“I am very pleased with the amount of progress we’ve made. The work done in 2020 will set the tone for more progress and bigger efforts in 2021. We needed to lay the groundwork, and that is what we did,” said Lynn Davis, town manager of Belhaven.

The reliance on digital technology has increased for most of us this year. Belhaven utilized platforms such as Zoom to conduct monthly meetings and allow citizens and council members to participate virtually when in-person attendance became more difficult.

“We had to adapt and learn how to do business a whole new way. Our citizens are very engaged in town efforts, we always have good attendance at our council meetings. Closing Town Hall to the public and converting to remote meetings has been a big challenge,” said Davis. “We continue to strive for transparency in local government. COVID-19 has really challenged that.”

In addition to moving online to conduct town business, the newly launched website for the town, which debuted in Feb. 2020, was instrumental to continuing a line of open communication between the town government and citizens. This transition was not without challenges but was required to ensure access to various public documents.

“I would have to say that getting our administrative and zoning ordinances digitized was the biggest challenge, but likely one of the most important. It was the most challenging because there were so many revisions to review and old records to research to ensure that we had the accurate version of our code of ordinances,” said Davis. “This is basically the bible for how the town operates. Having that available to our citizens and stakeholders is very important.”

Looking forward to 2021, the town of Belhaven hopes to continue to progress on projects started in 2020 in addition to pursuing new projects.

“We will continue to make efforts to improve drainage and resolve some of those long standing issues. This year will also be one where we continue to update and improve our utilities, from mapping to planning,” said Davis. “We will also take the next steps in some of the efforts for 2020, like development of a land use plan and updates to the town’s zoning code. Code enforcement and clean-up of nuisance properties will continue for noticeable improvements to the aesthetics of the town.”