Bath Board of Supervisors Meeting April 2020
At Bath’s last Board of Supervisors meeting on April 14th, a decision was made about the proposed short term rental ordinance meaning the short-term rental operator needs to register with the commissioner of the revenue within 30 days to allow for assessment and remittance of the transient occupancy taxes. Additionally, there will be a 10 dollar annual registration fee on each registration and a proposed $250 civil penalty for failing to register. This passed 4-1 with Shifflet opposing.
Next, there was a public hearing and public comment regarding the County and the school’s Fiscal Year 2020 to 2021 budgets and input on the tax levies for Fiscal Year 2020 to 2021. Marty Plecker, Glen Criser, Lynn Ellen Black, all opposed the increase of taxes. Jay Trinca and Keswick Phillips wrote letters opposing it as well. Deputy Bryant from the Bath County Sheriff’s Department also commented saying that even when we were in the best of times, the citizens and the old board didn’t want to raise taxes and that year after year they spent a total of 1.8 million dollars out of the general reserve to make budget and it can’t go on like that.
The board spoke in response to the concerns of the tax increase. Supervisor Roy Burns said,
“This is a hard seat to sit in for sure. When we came into the budget this year, we found out that we were already betrothed to quite a bit of debt service for items that had been purchased by the previous boards- 1.8 million dollars out of the general fund to balance the budget..and when we came into this we were pretty optimistic that we could make some cuts and small increases to keep from pulling out of the general fund. Systematically in about 2 years if we continue down the same path, our county will be broke and we will suffer from malfeasance..let me just remind everybody up to date that all of the things that we’ve heard, all the situations, scenarios, possibilities, tax increase rates, they are all formulations of us trying to find the best scenario. Try not to lock on to just one thing because we are still trying to…get as much information as we can get.”
Each member of the board echoed what Burns said. Supervisor Lee Fry said quote,
“For many years we didn’t raise taxes- not even a penny here and penny there and now the chickens have come home. We only get so many ‘get out of jail free’ cards and we’ve about used them up.. We know things are tough, we know people don’t wanna raise taxes but you get to a point where you’re up against it. There were some years like Mr. Bryant was talking about a little while ago, even in the good times they didn’t raise taxes and here we are. We’re gonna do our best.”
Number 5 on the agenda was to set a public hearing to amend Section 15 of the Bath County Code to allow for refunds of erroneously paid taxes. County Administrator, Ashton Harrison said that specifically we have to refund BB&T over 20 thousand dollars for the bank stock tax. He said,
“That’s collected by the state. The state read errors in its collection..that is state-wide. Each county and city is paying back money..the good news is we won’t have to pay back interest. If you don’t have something in your ordinance it’s 10 percent a year; as you’ll notice in this draft ordinance, everyone that pays taxes and we refund them..there’s no interest on it because the error was made through no fault by the county…so again, we’re just asking the board to set a public hearing.”
Roy Burns made a motion and Ronald Shifflet seconded. This passed 5-0.
Next was consideration to abandon a segment of Secondary Route 614 from the secondary system of state highways. This was referred by VDOT. Janet Byan shared this part was previously disposed of and hasn’t been used since 1973.
This also passed 5-0.
The 7th thing of the agenda was an emergency ordinance concerning the continuity of government. Ashton Harrison shared that this allows for electronic meetings and also for the temporary suspension of application deadlines on staff constitutional officers that need to be fulfilled. This passed 5-0.
Board member Shelton Burns made a motion to pass with supervisor Lee Fry seconding the motion. This was followed by number 8 on the agenda which was to consider updates to personnel policies manual. This also passed unanimously.
For Board and Commissions, Cynthia Rudnick was reappointed to the planning commission from Cedar Creek, John Loeffler and Charlie Moore recommended to state health commissioner for appointment to Warm Springs Sanitation Commission, David Hahn to EDA from Valley Springs, Ramona Garcia reappointed to EDA from Cedar Creek, Pat Haynes reappointed to EDA at large and Shawn Puller appointed to EDA at large.
Last was the consent agenda where the board agreed 5-0 to approve permission to give County Administrator, Ashton Harrison, permission to write a letter of intent apply for a Community Development Block Grant or CDBG, with the VA Department of Housing and Community also known as DHCD, to establish a small business emergency grant program.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be on May 12th at 6 o’clock.
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour