Bath Supervisors Chairman looks back on work accomplished in 2014


As the year 2014 comes to a close I thought it might be a good time to talk about where we are and what we have accomplished as a Board.

With respect to improved communication and improving the way we do business, we can point to a variety of accomplishments.  We have improved communication between Boards by scheduling work sessions between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board, the PSA and various other boards around the county.  We have established additional work sessions, so that the Board of Supervisors can focus on specific issues in a more in depth fashion than is allowed at the monthly business meetings.  And finally we have added town hall meetings; this is an effort to provide the public with a forum to ask questions and have an open dialogue with your representatives.

We successfully concluded a new solid waste contract which has saved the County approximately $200,000 and are working on an enhanced recycling program.  We are continuing the conversation with respect to large users and contractor solid waste fees, to make the fees more equitable to those valuable groups.

This year marked the 100th Anniversary of the Bath County Courthouse.  And we also looked to its future, with important courthouse renovations which ensured that the restrooms were ADA compliant and that office space was reconfigured in order to improve customer service.  The Courthouse has been equipped with security features and there have been communication upgrades throughout the courthouse.

With thanks to a Board comprised of local citizens, the Piney Grove Baptist Church, Total Action for Progress, County Administration and the Department of Housing and Community Development, we saw the successful renovation of the Pinehurst community.  As the result of the success of Pinehurst we are embarking on a new project, the renovation of Thomastown, with these same organizations.

We now have a six year Virginia Department of Transportation Capital Improvement Plan, our  Comprehensive Plan, and the new George Washington National Forest Plan.  We have worked together with our partner Highland County on a broadband and improved communication initiative to include expanded cell phone coverage.

Staggered terms are now a reality.  And it is important to note, that this is not about limiting a candidate’s time in office.  This is about ensuring the continuity of programs and projects, reducing the learning curve for newly elected officials, ensuring that institutional history is available to each Board, ensuring that government continues seamlessly from one election cycle to the next.

The Board approved the Cedar Creek Water extension–something that has been a scheduled project for a number of years.  We have also purchased important public safety emergency vehicles this year.  All this with no tax increases and an improved fund balance with an increase to $9,460,000.

Parks and Recreation now has an advisory board, something that has been in the works for several years.  We see a renewed interest in economic development issues.  This Board is fully engaged having recently completed the successful selection of a new company to conduct a full Economic Development Strategic Plan for the County.

These things could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of the many Boards that volunteer their time.  I want to thank staff for their commitment to ensure that we are able to accomplish our goals as a community.  And finally I would like to thank my fellow Board members.  We may not always agree on a particular issue, but we all agree that we take our responsibilities as Supervisors seriously and we will continue to work towards the public good.

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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