Bath Supervisors address broadband availability
Hot Springs, Va. – The Bath Board of Supervisors takes the first step to address broadband availability countywide. At a work session on Tuesday night, the Board heard a report from representatives from the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, or PDC, on how the agency can assist the county with broadband development. Robbie Huff from the PDC said there are a lot of challenges present in the topography in Bath County and with difficulty in burying cable, there may need to be wireless coverage in some areas. Board Chair Cliff Gilchrest says reliable broadband and DSL service is needed for economic growth and that the county needs to take this project on with a great deal of gusto. The Board voted to engage the services of the PDC to develop a needs assessment on broadband throughout the county.
The Board also discussed a couple of goals from its visioning session. The Board is working on refining the county’s mission statement and it also discussed the creation of a Department of Economic Development for the county. Supervisor Bruce McWilliams said he felt Bath lacks a focused economic development approach and he’s supportive of economic development coordinating closely with the Office of Tourism. The Board took no action on Tuesday night, but discussed including a combined Department of Economic Development and Tourism in the budget for next year.
The Board voted to hold a work session the fourth Tuesday of each month. Supervisor Bart Perdue suggested holding the work sessions on the fourth Wednesdays instead, since Supervisor Claire Collins has a conflict and will only able to attend about half of the work sessions. Supervisor Perdue made a motion for the fourth Wednesdays, but it died for lack of a second. There was also confusion among the Board about voting for the work session dates. A couple of members thought the fourth Tuesday had already been approved at a meeting on September 4th, but was missing from the minutes. Supervisor Claire Collins was absent Tuesday night and the vote was 3 to 1 to set a monthly work session for the fourth Tuesday. The monthly work session will be cancelled if the fourth Tuesday falls on a holiday, as it does in December.
Interim County Administrator Bill O’Brien asked for authorization to provide a salary range to those who inquire about Bath’s County Administrator position. The Board authorized the range of $95,000 to $105,000.
And the Board voted to provide a letter of intent for the Millboro Volunteer Fire Department stating that the county is willing to pay back a loan the Department will take out to purchase two fire trucks. The loan amount will not exceed $335,000 and will be paid back over a four year period.
And the Board adopted a policy to follow the holiday schedule each year as set by the Governor. In addition to the previously approved holiday schedule, county and state offices will now also be closed on Wednesday December 26th.