Home Local News Whitt retiring from Sandhills Center; commissioners approve tax advertisements, board appointments

Whitt retiring from Sandhills Center; commissioners approve tax advertisements, board appointments

Victoria Whitt addresses the Richmond County Board of Commissioners for the last time as CEO of Sandhills Center. Whitt, a Richmond County native, retires June 30 after more than four decades. Photo by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — After more than four decades of helping serve the mental health needs of residents in Richmond County and the Sandhills, Victoria Whitt is stepping down.

Whitt, CEO of the Sandhills Center, announced her upcoming retirement on June 30 to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners last week.

Anthony Ward, current deputy director, will take her place at the helm. Ward has been with the center since 2012.

A Richmond County native, Whitt began her career locally and, through mergers and expansions, now oversees an 11-county service area, according to Commissioner Dr. Rick Watkins, who is a member of the Sandhills board.

“Anyone who has been committed to a mission like mental health for 43 years” is to be commended, Watkins said of Whitt. “Her work has been exemplary, her character and integrity has been exemplary.

“..she’s always made sure that Richmond County was cared for and looked after, that we have the information that we needed to be successful and to address many of the mental health needs that we have in Richmond County.”

Sandhills Center requests funding from Richmond County and the other counties in the service area.

This year, as in previous years, the center is requesting $132,525. Whitt said that amount hasn’t increased in 19 years.

“I’ll remind you that all of that funding stays right here in Richmond County,” Whitt said. “It is used to support indigent care for folks that do not have Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance.”

According to Ward, adult mental health and substance abuse account for the most services provided by Sandhills Center to Richmond County residents last year. The highest-serving local providers were Daymark Recovery Services and Sandhills Behavioral Care.

Whitt added that the center has been able to “hold the line” on the funding request because, “over the years…we have assumed the management of Medicaid dollars, and that has allowed us to meet the needs of the folks in Richmond County without having to come to you to ask for any additional funding.”

Whitt also thanked the commissioners for appointing Watkins to the Sandhills Center board.

Former commissioner Thad Ussery served on the Sandhills board for more than 20 years, including a decade as chairman.

Dr. Tommy Jarrell, former county health director, also serves on the Sandhills board and chairs the human resources committee.


Those not wanting their names listed in the local print publication for failure to pay property taxes have until June 9, according to Tax Administrator Vagas Jackson.

As of May 2, Jackson said there 2,864 parcels to advertise. At the same time last year, there were more than 3,000.

Those names will be published on June 17.

Jackson said the current collection rate is 96.69% — less than 1% shy of County Manager Bryan Land’s goal of 97.5%.


Commississioner also approved the following local board appointments:

Richmond County Public Library Board
Kristi Robinson

RCPL Board of Trustees
Kathryn Vetter
Peggy Wilkes

Richmond County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council
Tahid Rucker
Melissa Kelly (replacing Mac Steagall)
Dr. Joe Ferrell (replacing Dennis Quick)
Lavonda Jones
Jennifer Brown
Curtis Ingram
Danita McNeill
Phillip Speight
Richard Griffin
Kenda Faries
Laura Perez
Robby Hall

The commissioners also approved proclamations for:

  • Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week
  • Memorial Day
  • Older Americans Month
  • World Multiple Sclerosis Day
  • Clerks to the Board of County Commissioners’ Week

The commissioners will hold a budget work session May 17 at the Richmond County Airport starting at 1 p.m. The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, June 6 in Courtroom C of the Richmond County Judicial Center.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.