Bath Supervisors Approve Funding To Keep Airport Operating Through End Of Fiscal Year
Warm Springs, VA – The Bath County airport is getting help from the county to make it through another year. At Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting, the board voted to provide the airport authority with a maximum of $20,000 for operational expenses. Airport Authority Chairman Paul Howell first came to the board last month to ask for $20,000 to keep the airport operating through the end of the fiscal year.
In order to cut expenses, the airport will not be staffed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this winter. It will remain open, but only one part time manager and one part time employee will work. The board tabled action on the request last month so it could have time to review the proposed tourism budget.
On Tuesday night there were a couple of questions about funding the airport. Would it be legal to pay for operation of the airport from the lodging tax? County Attorney Mike Collins answered that it is permissible. And where should the money come from – the tourism budget or the County’s contingency fund? Money for airport operations was not included in the proposed tourism budget.
After discussion the board approved taking the money from the contingency fund. It will be transferred from the contingency fund to the tourism budget and tourism director, Maggie Anderson will issue the money monthly as it’s needed by the airport. The vote was 3 to 1, with Supervisor Stuart Hall opposed. Supervisor Carol Hardbarger was absent.
During discussion Supervisor Jon Trees said the tourism program is vital and its budget should not be nickled and dimed to death. He said the airport is important to tourism and he felt that $20,000 was not much to spend from the contingency fund. Supervisor Hall agreed saying that he couldn’t see cutting tourism short.
The airport authority has been working with county officials on ideas to generate more revenue at the airport. The plans are to develop new sustainable projects to help increase revenue at the airport in the future.
Also on Tuesday night the board approved the tourism budget. Money for the tourism budget comes from a portion of the lodging tax and it must be used for tourism marketing, programs and projects.
The board also authorized Tourism Director Maggie Anderson to proceed with a request for proposal to create a new tourism website and revise the county website and the chamber website.