Bath Supervisors Draw a Crowd
The Bath board of Supervisors who started in January appears to draw a crowd. If all of those people who have filled the upstairs courtroom in Warm Springs two months in a row become active, committed citizens, then things bode well for participatory democracy in Bath County.
The Board approved the carefully composed Economic Development Strategic plan. Several members of the EDA had spoken strongly in favor of the plan before the board members voted. One resident expressed concern that citizen’s tax money would be going towards the planned visitors’ center. Then, also during the public comment period, David Jurcak, chief executive officer for the Omni Homestead clarified what many residents may not know or remember.
“Those tax dollars are generated by visitors to Bath County because it’s a tourism tax, or an occupancy tax. Fifty percent of the occupancy tax goes to the General Fund. Those funds go directly to help all of us”.
Also during public comment, other very significant issues such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and the pressing need for up to date security in both the county courthouse, and the schools were mentioned. It will be for next month’s meeting to tell if the board will take action on either of these.
When Steve Wampler of Wampler and Eanes Appraisal Group gave his update, he mentioned some situations that led the board to suspend rules temporarily:
“One item I wanted to bring up, we had about approximately one hundred and eighty eight locked gates or cables, or no entry areas we haven’t been on.. You know I think that’s been a concern. We’ve been told not to go on them, and we haven’t, but if the county so wants us to, we can go back in those properties.”
During this presentation item, Board member Richard Byrd immediately questioned the validity of an assessment where a major improvement on a property might not be assessed for tax purposes. So, after their suspension of rules, the board quickly amended a previous board’s request, and assessors are now permitted to enter a gated or locked property without the landowner’s knowledge. This is the industry standard for assessing across the state.
Part 2 of this report will follow.