Bath BOS supports vineyard and intersection change

There were a few items addressed by Bath County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday evening that reflected some interest in growth and change.   Two representatives from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission gave a presentation for a proposed Smart Scale project, which if eventually approved, and implemented would make the intersection of Main Street in Hot Springs and Route 220 a more safe and welcoming place. While nothing has been decided yet, the study and analysis of the project area is complete. The planners had three virtual sketches of the different design options all including shorter and more visible pedestrian crosswalks, and one that considers a mini roundabout. The board gave their support for the CSPDC to move ahead with pursuing funding, which involves a grant application by August first. The Board also demonstrated support for entrepreneurship and tourism by approving a zoning change that facilitates a future winery on Chateau Donze Lane, and by offering a letter of support to Allegheny County for the completion of the Jackson River Trail, as well as a nominal gift from the Fund 16 or Tourism budget.   And then there were the items of the school budget, and tax levies.

The majority of the supervisors were very determined in their commitment to level funding for the 2018-19 School Year. Even though at least one school board member described how increased compensation for some staff had been proposed by the Smithsted study only to make Bath County more competitive with other localities, in reality those increases only make up about one third of the total proposed budget. It was still unclear why supervisors were looking at an “all or nothing” approach. Sue Hirsh, school superintendent, emphasized there is still time for conversation. “I wasn’t planning to do that, but we need a school bus. That’s no longer in the budget. We had a person resign as an aide this year. We did not plan to fill that position. The more I tell you the more you realize it will touch our students, and if you subtract the fifty-five non-county students, you will substantially lower your revenue. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think the money we spend, which by the way is state federal AND local, not just local, you’re wrong. I appreciate your situation, that the budget that you have can only go so far, but I believe that there are wrong statements being made and I would like the opportunity to sit down with you. If we need to go line by line we can do that.”

Richard Bird, Cedar Creek, says he’ll look further at what I’m guessing could only be considered a school systems assets?

I’ve asked for the number of vehicles we have the years, the dates, the mileage. I’ve asked for the numbers of teachers we have. I’ve got ‘em listed; we’ve all got them. I’ve asked for the number of students we have from out of Bath County, we’ve got ‘em. I asked for the number of teachers at each school; we got it. It’s part of our budget, it’s part of our process.”

He continued.

“Number one, to fund the schools, there’s two ways you can fund them: bottom line or category. When we get it, we can’t cut a line item out of it. We have to take it, and go back to the cover sheet and cut from the category or cut from the bottom line.”

In spite of Millboro’s Eddie Hicklin’s suggestion that taxes could be bumped up just a little for now, as opposed to a whole lot when it becomes critical, the rest of the board remains steadfast in leaving the current rate as is. The Bath Board’s next meeting is May 8th.


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