Bath Supervisors Face Another Tough Budget Year
Warm Springs, VA – It’s going to be another tough budget year. At Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting, that was the message from State Senator Creigh Deeds and House of Delegates member Jim Shuler. They met with the Bath Board of Supervisors to discuss the upcoming General Assembly session.
Delegate Shuler said the state budget was balanced last year with a significant amount of stimulus money, but that funding will dry up this year. Delegate Shuler’s advice to the board was to be cautious in any expenditures because the state will not start flowing money back into localities. He added that the political environment now is to reduce government and curtail spending.
The board expressed frustration with unfunded mandates from the state. Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said Bath receives mandates where the county has to provide services, but the funding is shrinking. Senator Deeds explained that a lot of mandates are imposed by the Federal government and that state representatives don’t have the ability to relieve localities of the mandates.
Supervisors Stuart Hall and Jon Trees discussed a problem where county emergency services volunteers can’t leave work in state offices to answer an emergency call. Supervisor Trees said the highest trained Emergency Medical Technician in Bath can’t leave his job at the Department of Social Services to go on a call. Senator Deeds responded that he had worked to resolve that issue before and will try again.
The board adopted an ordinance to amend Bath’s Health and Sanitation code. The new ordinance applies to food being served by non profits at local events such as fairs, festivals and youth athletic activities. The new ordinance allows non profits to sell food at county or non profit events without having to get a health department permit. But non profits will still need to let the health department know what they will be serving. The ordinance went into effect Wednesday at midnight.
Also on Tuesday night the board heard a report from school superintendent Sue Hirsh about funding available from the Education Jobs Fund legislation. The money is available specifically for salaries or bonuses for school level employees. Funds are available on a one time basis and Bath’s allocation is about $75,000.
Hirsh asked the board to appropriate the money for bonuses. She said school employees had not had a bonus or a raise in three years and that the money that’s available needs to be spent by September 2012. Hirsh said money not spent because of the loss of a school nurse for two months would be used to provide bonuses to school administration employees.
Supervisor Stuart Hall said the state budget looks bad and said the money should be held because it may be needed for salaries to keep jobs. Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said she supported giving bonuses. Other board members indicated they were not against the idea of bonuses, but the request was tabled for further consideration.