Bath Supervisors 2015 reorganization goes smoothly
The Bath Supervisors met for their first session of 2015 Tuesday night in Warm Springs. As is their custom, one of the agenda items is to vote for a Chair and Vice-Chair of the board. In past years this has been at times a contentious discussion. But the nomination and vote went smoothly Tuesday night with nary an ill feeling from the board. Supervisor Bart Perdue made the motion.
“I’ll make a motion to make Clair Collins Chair and and Cliff Gilcrest Vice-Chair,” said Perdue. “Very good,” said current Chairman Bruce McWilliams. “Do we have a second?” It was seconded by Supervisor Kevin Fry.
McWilliams called for a vote and 4 of the 5 supervisors voted in favor of Supervisor Collins being named the Chairman. Collins abstained from voting for herself, but did vote for Supervisor Gilcrest as the Vice-Chair.
“At this point I will step away from the gavel and turn it over to Ms. Collins who will then proceed to run the rest of this meeting,” said McWilliams.
Supervisor Perdue was re-appointed as the Bath County Emergency Services Director.
The Board heard an update from Tamy Mann with Safehome Systems, Inc. She is the executive director of the business that works with victims of domestic and sexual violence in Bath, Highland and Allegheny counties as well as the City of Covington and the towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate.
Mann said they have an 18 bed facility for women and children, providing other housing for men when needed, provide advocacy services for victims in court, as well as many other services. According to statistics Mann provided to the Board, they provided shelter for 60 people in Bath County in 2014 and provided support and advocacy services for 112 Bath County residents in 2014.
In other business the Supervisors once again took up the sensitive topic of parking in downtown Hot Springs. In public comment Tuesday night, many residents expressed their frustration at contractors and delivery employees taking up or otherwise blocking the parking spots, in some cases forcing elderly residents to walk further to get to the drugstore or other businesses in the downtown area. Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker said his dept is also frustrated.
“Well the first thing when I started working at the Homestead police dept, there has always and will be a parking issue in Hot Springs; I don’t know how you’re going to stop it,” said Sheriff Plecker. “You could build a 40 acre parking lot and you’re still going to have a parking problem. I’m not sure where the 2 hour parking limit come [sic] up, but to me that ought to be 30 minutes or done away with.”
“Here recently I’ve seen as many handicapped vehicles accessing what’s there and other handicapped vehicles trying to get in. So you could make them all handicapped parking or just do away with all of them. I don’t know where the fix is at, 2 hour time limit is way too much time.”
Supervisor Bruce McWilliams pointed out that there are signs in the downtown area that specify 30 minute parking, but Sheriff Plecker said the perception that is a 2 hour limit persists. He said he could have his deputies chalk the tires in an effort to monitor the length of time a car is parked, but feels that wouldn’t be a good use of his officers. County Administrator Ashton Harrison told the Board he would sit down with Plecker and County Planning/Zoning Administrator Sherry Ryder to see if they could come up with a viable solution.
The Board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] with FEMA to add the IPAWS cell phone application to the counties Code Red system. IPAWS stands for Integrated Public Alert and Warning System .
The Board heard from Parks and Recreation Director Mark Nelson who said he’s working with the Homestead to develop outdoor programs. When he asked the Homestead to consider reducing the rate for a 1 night stay, the Homestead instead countered with an offer for reducing rates for a five night stay and reduced rentals costs as well. He urged the community to thank the Homestead for their generosity. He said the vouchers for the reduced rates can be found at the Parks and Recreation office.
Finally, Supervisor McWilliams reminded everyone that this is an election year in Bath County for all elected county positions. He also urged the audience to get involved and consider running for office.
“Based on my experience and as a result of sitting where I’m sitting I can tell you this is a blast,” he said. “Get involved, it’s fun.”