Bath Board still (not) addressing grievances

The democratic process was hard at work in the courthouse in Warm Springs on Tuesday night. Election workers were collecting national and district results. And because the meeting was moved upstairs at the last minute again due to crowding, the able sound crew hustled to get equipment set up. There were three members present of the board of Supervisors as we had known it. Matt Ratcliffe, Warm Springs district resigned on November third, and Williamsville district representative, Stuart Hall has been missing in action since his indictment with six felonies two months ago. It took until late in the meeting for Williamsville resident, Bruce McWilliams to bring up this “elephant in the room”.

“I’m a little concerned that my representative has not been at the past two meetings. I have corresponded with you, and the response I have gotten from both the administration and yourself is that ‘We have not heard anything.’ My question is ‘Has Anybody asked?’. I think it’s time for us to know what are the intentions of our supervisor, and will he be attending these meetings, and is he available for representation? I think it’s only fair that this board and this administration ask those questions and get us some answers.”

As of the time of this broadcast, no further information is available.

During the first public comment period, several speakers expressed concern about the lack of a plan for how the property intended for a Visitor’s Center would now be used. They also mentioned the need for a group, or committee with strong roots in tourism to focus on the project. What many Bath residents may not have realized is that just such a group has existed for quite a few years. It regularly welcomes those working in dining and lodging businesses, and is coordinated through the Chamber of Commerce and office of Tourism. After speakers addressed the importance of the Visitors Center moving forward, Richard Bird, Valley Springs district, struggled to describe his change of mind on the issue. He actually never referred to it as a Visitors’ Center, but wavered between “business” and “community” center. In his last meeting as legal counsel with this board, Mike Collins offered a recommendation.

“Could I say, that once you’ve concluded, which I think you have with public input, it’s appropriate for Mr. Bird, if he chooses to make a motion to rescind his previous motion in September because he voted in the affirmative on that, he can now make the motion to rescind it if he choses to.”

All three supervisors present, Eddie Hicklin, Claire Collins, and Richard Bird all voted in favor of rescinding the motion.

Another item of immediate importance Tuesday evening was determining steps to fill the vacancy left by Matt Ratcliffe. Those residents of the Warm Springs district interested in serving as an interim supervisor should contact the County Administrator. The board would like to fill the interim position as promptly as possible. After receiving statements of interest, the board will make the appointment at their December 13th meeting. Then a special election will be held on the second Tuesday in March for a representative to serve the remainder of a four-year term.  Part 2 of this pair of stories describes a new Veteran’s monument in front of the Sherriff’s Office, Bath and Highland’s joint efforts toward improved telecommunications, and a few other topics.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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