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Hillsville town manager resigns

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By Brian Funk, Editor

HILLSVILLE — Travis Jackson has announced that he will step down as Hillsville’s town manager at the end of this month, after just more than a year on the job.
Jackson submitted his resignation last week, after he was presented with an opportunity to lead a foundation that he has been a part of for several years.

“I’ll be executive director of the Wythe-Bland Foundation, which gives grants to non-profits in Wythe and Bland counties,” Jackson told The Gazette after Monday night’s Hillsville Town Council meeting.
He said he has been involved in the foundation, which as formed after Duke LifePoint’s lease of the hospital in Wytheville. Funds from that transaction were put into a fund, from which grants are awarded to community agencies. Jackson has been a member of the hospital’s board of directors for several years, and served as chairman.
Jackson began work as Hillsville’s town manager on Feb. 1, 2013. He was chosen after a hiring process that took more than six months.
“It was a tough decision to leave,” Jackson said Monday. He indicated there were still some projects in the town that he might stay involved in.
Jackson came to Hillsville after retiring as the area director for USDA Rural Development. He had been with the federal agency for 32 years.
Vice Mayor Ed Terry and council member Greg Yonce wished Jackson the best at Monday’s meeting.
“We appreciate all you’ve done to save us money,” Yonce said, referring back to Jackson’s earlier report about an initiative to locate and repair leaks in town utility lines.
Previously, Jackson’s project undertaken by the city public works crews located a water infiltration problem in the wastewater system that will save the town $40,000 a year.
On Monday, Jackson said crews found another problem, where water was flowing into the system at five gallons per minute.
“This will save the town about $11,000 per year,” he said.
“We appreciate all the rocks you’ve turned over — sometimes literally — to uncover ways to save the town money,” Terry said.
The vice mayor thanked Jackson “for your hard efforts over the past year.”
He noted that Jackson had submitted a draft of a comprehensive plan for Hillsville that night, something many towns have to hire someone to compile.
“I’m quite impressed,” Terry said. “I felt when you were hired that you’d be beneficial to the town. Now, I wish you the best as you traverse on.”
Jackson will be at Hillsville Town Council’s next meeting, on Feb. 24. His first day in the new job is March 3.
Town council did not discuss plans for hiring a new town manager.