Bath County Supervisors meet for May

The public hearing towards the beginning of last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting  laid out enough work for our representatives to address, for a few months to come:  seeking solutions to a sound issue in Millboro, primarily with the help of the EDA, and facilitating the purchase of an historic building that could contribute to improving economic opportunity.   Four members of the public described a significant noise problem in Millboro as a result of the debarking machine, and the jake brakes of trucks at the Speyside stave mill. 

In addition to outlining concerns about the process by which the mill was developed,  Susan Plecker said,“Speyside needs to be encouraged to be good neighbors; there are measures that can reduce the noise from operations.”

     After some discussion later in the meeting, Stuart Hall, Williamsville district, moved to have the county administrator set up a meeting between the board, management from Speyside, the Economic Development Authority, county attorney, Mike Lockaby, and Planning and Zoning director Sherry Ryder.  All were in favor.

     Two other residents addressed the board about the now cancelled deal between the county and The Virginia Outdoors Foundation. The board had approved a purchase of the TC Walker in Millboro, and on closer inspection decided the restoration was more than they are willing to take on.   Richard Armstrong, President of the Bath Historical Society said,” The African American people in our community too often are overlooked, the same thing for people in the eastern half of the county, often feel forgotten.  Whether that’s true or not, they have that feeling, that they don’t matter to the powers that be on this side of the mountain. So, here’s a way to show them that ‘Yes, we care.’ We could preserve that structure, and turn it into part of the tourism industry. So it would be a real shot in the arm for both halves of the county.  It would preserve an important part of the history of our county and the school system.  These things need to be preserved.  We’re loosing so much of our history daily in the county by buildings being let go to rack and ruin.”

Cynthia Boetler of Warm Springs, who has done considerable research on Rosenwald Schools also commented.

“Heritage Tourism has become the norm now across the country inviting people from diverse communities to learn about and understand the history of our nation.  Bath County Supervisors can share their experience in this project to help identify and support the next potential buyer of the TC Walker School.”  Any parties interested in learning more about the availability of the TC Walker School should contact the county administrator, or the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

     The board went on to approve the tax rates for 2019-20.  They remain the same as the last fiscal year,  fifty cents per one hundred dollars on real estate, and thirty-five cents per one hundred dollars on personal property.  The board also approved the annual budget which is 17, 165,029.  Funds for the three schools, of 10, 8999,190 are included in that. 

In addition to these actions the Bath Supervisors also approved continuing the agreement with the Rockbridge Regional Library for management of the Bath Branch. They listened to a report from Kari Sponaugle and Jen Matoski about 4-H, the programs they offer, and the announcement that area students can still apply for 4H summer camp.  Susan Hammond, residency director for VDOT also updated the board on the improvements to be made according to the the six-year plan. 

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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