Bath Supervisors hear about economic plan
Hot Springs, Va. – The Bath Board of Supervisors gets a look at the draft of the county’s new economic development plan. On Tuesday night, the board heard a presentation by David Nutter, an Economic Development Specialist with Virginia Tech.
Nutter completed the county’s tourism plan in 2010 and is now looking at another aspect, working on a plan to attract more industry to Bath County.
“It will help people identify what industry sectors, based on their labor market potential, they can go out and attract, number one,” says Nutter. “And then thinking about that, how we can strengthen the Bath County Industrial Park in ways that creates the foundation for those companies to come? They need skilled workers, they need a good location.”
Nutter has done an analysis of Bath’s labor market and an analysis of the industrial park in Millboro. Nutter says the industrial park faces challenges in that it does not have broadband internet and it is located eighteen miles from the interstate. But, a line that could supply broadband is close by and there’s a rail line close by also.
The specialist says Bath needs a good industrial site with appropriate infrastructure. And he said that expanding rail access and adding broadband are things within its control that Bath can do that would improve industrial access; and Nutter talked about MeadWestvaco’s plan for a biomass boiler. Several Dominion Power plants in the state will be converting to biomass for fuel and MeadWestvaco will be supplying it. And Nutter asks Can Bath be a biomass aggregation point?’
“We’re going to come back and look further into the issues surrounding the biomass boiler and, you know, could Bath take advantage of the need for a significant volume of biomass up and down the western corridor of the state,” says Nutter. “The other thing we’re going to be looking at is how to integrate some of the data we’ve covered from the study to support smaller based niche marketing kinds of sectors that can support employment in the region.”
In other business Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors and the Industrial Development Authority both reviewed and approved a revised resolution in order to move forward with the refinancing of the debt on the high school renovation project. The board had previously approved refinancing with SunTrust Bank, with a ten year loan at a fixed rate of 2.25%. The county originally financed this debt in 2008 with a variable rate loan with Bank of America. Bank of America has since been downgraded and fluctuating interest rates now present risks, so the decision was made to refinance. The county will be refinancing approximately $9.5 million dollars and overall Bath will save about $900,000 on total debt service.
And the board appointed Greg Tuning to fill a vacancy on the Public Service Authority.
And the board also authorized the advertisement for the Tourism Coordinator position, a new position in the county’s Tourism Office.