Bath Supervisors Bid Fond Farewell To County Administrator

Warm Springs, Va – The Bath Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday night was the last for Bonnie Johnson as County Administrator. On October 1st, Johnson will officially be retired, and Matthew Walker will take over as County Administrator. At the meeting Tuesday night, Board Chairman Richard Byrd had nothing but nice things to say about Johnson.

“Her performance over the last five years has been overwhelming, outstanding,” he says. “Many, many people [don’t] understand what elected officials go through; they definitely don’t understand what county administrators and staff go through. Bonnie has served this County to the utmost in the last five years. She has always put the people ahead of herself; she worked very hard to satisfy the needs of this community.”

Byrd acknowledged that her tenure hasn’t been without its share of problems. But he praised her for her good nature and willingness to persevere.

In other business, Monica Plecker, Regional Planner for the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, spoke to the Board about the drought management plan for the county. Plecker says the document is part of a much larger state mandated plan, the Upper James River Basin Water Supply Plan. It offers suggestions and guidelines to protect the county water during periods of drought.

“How is a drought stage declared – that will come through you all,” says Plecker. “The drought indicator or trigger was chosen by Mr. [Gene “Bugs”] Phillips. There are three triggers, Lake Moomaw, the Bullpasture River and also Back Creek. There are three stages, a drought watch, a drought warning and a drought emergency.”

“And then we’ve gone through and put in suggested guidelines on measurements that individuals could do and also commercial entities could do to conserve and reduce water.”

She says the suggested reduction in water use ranges from 5% to 15% depending on the drought stage declared. She suggested the Board approve the ordinance, but hold off on any resolution until the larger plan is complete. The Board took her advice and passed the amended code unanimously.

VDOT Resident Administrator Susan Hammond asked the Board for a resolution concerning the removal of one of two handicapped parking spaces in front of the drugstore in downtown Hot Springs. The Board voted to remove one of those spots last month, after hearing complaints from local business owners.

As he did in the previous meeting, Supervisor Jon Trees said he’s in favor of keeping both spots as they are, in deference to the county’s elderly population. However Supervisor Carol Hardbarger pointed out that rarely are both spots occupied at the same time. A motion to approve the resolution minus language concerning signage was approved three to one, with Supervisor Trees opposed.

The Board also approved the following:

Placing $45,000.00 in a budget line item to be used for the Pinehurst Heights and other neighborhood improvement projects if a project exceeds its grant amount
Awarded a bid for work on the courthouse columns to Bridgestone Construction LLC for just over $29,000.00
And gave Parks and Recreation Director Mark Nelson permission to seek bids for repairs to the Millboro Seeds building that recently experienced just under $11,000.00 worth of water damage.

The next regular meeting of the Bath Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday, October 11th.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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