Bath Board to start in 2016 sworn in at monthly meeting

Tuesday night’s Bath County Board of Supervisors’ meeting began in a slightly different way than usual.

“I, Rhonda Grimm, I, Cathy Lowry, I, Roy Burns, I, Brian Secoy, I, Eddie Ryder,” All of the recently elected members of the School Board, the Supervisors, and two of the Constitutional officers were sworn in by the current Clerk of the Court Wayne Weinbrenner.  The clerk read the oath,

“You do solemnly swear or affirm that you will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and that you will faithfully and impartially discharge all of the duties incumbent upon me as a member of the Bath County School Board,” and then each of the new School Board members signed for their own district effective January 1st.

Another set of representatives followed that first group.

“I,Richard Byrd, I, Stuart Hall, I, Claire Collins, I, Matthew Ratcliffe, I, Eddie Hicklin” and then Angel Grimm the new Commisioner of the Revenue, and Pam Webb, reelected as County Treasurer took their oaths too.

A little bit later, the meeting mood shifted to a slightly less somber and ceremonial one, while still calling for lots of photo “opp.s”. A large group of nine and ten year old boys, and their coaches, the winners of the Parks and Recreation League Super Bowl, filed in to be given congratulations and recognition by the Supervisors. Parks and Recreation Director Mark Nelson, mentioned some of the football players on the team were even eight years old, as there weren’t quite enough nine an ten year old to fill the roster.

When the time for public comment came, Pat Haynes, Warm Springs district representative complimented his Supervisor, Bart Purdue for a job well done, and also expressed appreciation for Bruce McWilliams’ vision of how to help Bath County to thrive.

Pat Haynes, “ You know the reason for this is, I am deeply concerned.   Bath County is at a tipping point. Most of you know we are loosing population. Most of you know we are an aging population. And for those of you who have tried to own a business, start a business, it is dramatically more difficult than it was thirty years ago. It’s very difficult to find employees; it’s very difficult to find, more importantly skilled employees. And the idea of having a business and meeting payroll is not any fun. It’s a serious challenge. It’s always been difficult, but it’s especially a challenge today. And Bruce, I have to respect Bruce’s vision. We can’t all be on the same page, but you’ve got to have some kind of vision, and how are we going to turn this around. We can’t ignore it; we can’t stick our head in the sand. We gotta be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and the challenges are huge. I would like to think there would be an opportunity for one of my five children, if not all of my five children, but there isn’t at this point in time. I think there could be. I think there are ways to solve the problem, but we’ve got to be open-minded; we’ve got to participate, and we’ve got to listen because the challenges are huge.”

The meeting progressed through a few action items, one of which was to recommend County Administration contact their auditors, Robinson, Farmer and Cox, to ask for a recommendation to avoid future situations, such as one that occurred with the retirement home. The retirement home commission has stepped up, and has an estimate for a plan they made four years ago, but in the mean time, supervisors were concerned that funds they had given to Mountain Crest had not been spent on the intended project. No one was accused of any wrongdoing, yet the process was flawed, or at least stalled, and now appears to be corrected. The clarifications from the auditors, which the board unanimously asked for, will go a long way towards helping any commissions, or organizations allocated funds by the Supervisors to use them in an efficient and timely manner. For Part Two in this pair of Bath Supervisors’ meeting stories, please tune in again.





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.

Current Weather