Bath Board of Supervisors holds February meeting
There was such a crowd Tuesday night when Bath’s Board of Supervisors met that the whole assembly had to be moved upstairs to the Circuit Court Room. Most of the residents there were prepared to make or listen to public comment about staggered terms, and a business license fee, which were on the agenda to be repealed. However, in the first part of the meeting where there is opportunity for public comment, David Jurcak, Chief operating officer of the Omni Homestead, spoke to an issue that will clearly take longer to resolve than the two notable ones voted on that night. He had done some research, on information that is all public record, and determined that the County spent close to fifty three thousand dollars in one year in stipends for board members and citizens who serve on local commissions. Discussion will continue around this issue, as a result of the new board having voted NOT to advertise for these openings due mostly to expense, and lack of response to advertising. So this left the Board of Supervisors, and County staff in the unfortunate position of seeking out individuals (close to 59 of them) to serve on a variety in a variety of roles- a situation whether intended or not, can clearly lead to “cronyism”. As Board Chair, Claire Collins pointed out, local media will do their best notify the public of openings on boards and commissions.
The following, with current term expiration dates are provided here through the end of June, and Allegheny Mountain Radio will offer the rest as they are closer to becoming open: Shenandoah Valley Workforce Investment Board, an at-large business member beginning March 13th, Public Service Authority, a representative from the Millboro district for March 24th, a Cedar Creek representative on the Planning Commission by April 18th, and three representatives needed on the Economic Development Authority, one at-large, and others from Cedar Creek and Valley Springs. The Board of Zoning Appeals also needs three new members, or to retain current ones, by June 1st. Those would be from Cedar Creek, Valley Springs and Warms Springs. And finally, the Williamsville District would like to have representation for the first time ever on the County Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee; and Social Services Board needs an at-large member by June 30th.
For anyone who is at all interested in doing something for your community, please stop by the Bath County Courthouse, and speak to Janet Bryan or Ashton Harrison about what is required for these positions. You can also call them at 839-7221 or 888-823-1710.
Following this strong request for assistance, the board moved through both public hearings. While the comments indicated a leaning towards favor of staggered terms, the board clearly had its mind made up; and with the exception of Eddie Hicklin, Millboro district, who opposed repealing the ordinance, four members voted to undo the work of the previous board, and the county attorney who had done the homework to implement a new code. After the next round of public comments the Board voted 5-0 to take the issue of a business license or fee off the books for the foreseeable future. Many of the public, and some board members agreed there is a definite need for a list or directory of services and facilities in the county. As yet, no one is proposing a way to produce such a voluntary database without expense. Three more public hearings were scheduled for the March meeting as a result of items that came up Tuesday evening. One of the upbeat and grateful notes of the February meeting was a presentation of a resolution to the Omni Homestead in honor of their 250 years in Bath County. David Jurcak, Chief Operating Officer of the Omni Homestead was there to accept the resolution, and he also graciously mentioned the resort’s appreciation of Bath County, its residents, and the Office of Tourism. Finally, after Susan Hammond, Residency Administrator for VDOT, gave an update on road projects in the area, the Board told her how much everyone appreciated the huge amount of snow removal during the season’s big storm.