Bath Board of Supervisors and Bath School Board discuss saving money by combining expenses
Hot Springs, Va. – In a joint meeting on Monday night, the Bath Board of Supervisors and the Bath School Board considered ways to save money by combining county and school expenses.
Parking lot improvements at the high school have been on the school’s Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP, before and were discussed again Monday night. Improvements include paving, painting parking space lines and installing better lighting. The discussion turned to other improvements too since the high school is used for many community events and has also been used as an emergency shelter. Bath Supervisor and County Emergency Services Director Kevin Fry said there are still no Red Cross certified emergency shelters in Bath County. Fry said he wants to see a generator installed at the high school that would provide electricity for a portion of the building so it could be used as a central shelter.
School Board Chair Amy Gwin asked about establishing a Millboro shelter. Supervisor Fry said he felt the high school certified shelter should be established first and then they could look at shelters for other areas. Supervisor Bruce McWilliams suggested working with neighboring Rockbridge and Augusta counties in a regional effort to possibly establish shelters in areas that could serve residents from two counties.
The two boards also discussed combining school and county fuel purchases in order to get a better price. And along with that, the installation of new pumps at county fuel depots to better monitor fuel usage. The new pumps would be activated by a card that would electronically record the vehicle and fuel amount and that information would be used for reports that would track fuel usage and vehicle mileage.
School Superintendent Sue Hirsh also suggested looking at a cost savings in combining other expenses, such as paving, HVAC maintenance and vehicle maintenance.
Superintendent Hirsh also discussed the upcoming school budget. She said she has asked all directors and principals to put together a budget with level funding. She said the school board has the desire to give employees some sort of a pay increase and the cost of a 1% raise, is $58,000. School Board Chair Amy Gwin added that she’d like to see all county employees get some sort of an increase, not just school employees.
Superintendent Hirsh said that after this budget process, it needs to be decided what might happen in the future that could change plans. She said because of personnel costs, the school budget doesn’t change very much. She said a question that none have really wanted to get into, is what changes will take place if a school drops to 75 students or will they make a commitment to not let that happen. Hirsh said then the question will have been addressed and then they can go on.
In making plans for action on items discussed, Interim County Administrator Bill O’Brien suggested that the school board put the parking lot improvements, new gas tanks and the accounting services in its CIP, with the county sharing in the purchase of bulk fuel.