Bath supervisors hold March meeting

Before addressing regular  items on Tuesday night’s Supervisors agenda, there was some lengthy back and forth about about the service area of Bolar Volunteer Emergency Services.   During Public Comment,  Matt Ratcliffe, a representative of the fire department, questioned why Bath County 911 dispatching was not contacting the Bolar crew as quickly as they contact other departments.  While not completely able to determine why gaps in communication may have occurred, the board agreed Highland and Bath County Emergency Services directors, county sheriffs, and other concerned parties could all participate in the solution.  They asked for more information, and intend to establish a mutual aid agreement between the two counties.

Another item that seemed to nearly stymie the Board was the renewal of the agreement for solid waste removal with Jack’s Trash and Republic Services.  Just after County Administrator, Ashton Harrison, recommended approving a contract with those two companies for one more year, Bart Purdue and Stuart Hall questioned why the cost of county trash removal is so high, and expressed interest in thinking about other options.  Mr. Harrison explained with the current arrangement both companies have worked well together, made adjustments as needed in the arrangements, and amended the contract when necessary.  An example of extra expense might be  three sites on route 42 between Millboro Springs and the county line, one of which is likely used regularly by out-of-county residents.  After some more careful listening, and with some information from county attorney, Mike Lockaby:

“We need to give notice four months ahead of time, so that means that, now, (background voices) June, July, 120 days, and we don’t have that.”

The Board voted then four to one on favor of renewal with the current contractors for one more year, and to use that year to look at options for reducing rates, and possibly even reducing waste?  Disposal costs, or tipping fees remain the largest part of solid waste expenses, while container rental and hauling have been relatively stable.

     Next, in the same vein,  Mr. Harrison asked the Board to approve a local program for keeping the highways cleaner.  The Virginia Council for Litter Prevention and Recycling donated some materials for pick-up: vests, gloves,  pokers, grabbers, and bags all of which can be loaned out to groups through out the county.  The supervisors then approved making donations of two-hundred-and-fifty dollars to civic groups who volunteer to participate in community clean up.  They, and a couple of the members of the public, expressed much appreciation to those groups or individuals who already give their time.  There hasn’t been an active littler control program in the county for several years.  This local littler control program will begin with the new fiscal year in July.  The supervisors approved 5-0.

     The Board also approved the 2020-2024 Capital Improvement Plan as recommended by the Planning Commission.  The five items listed as high priority are:  a mini pumper truck for the Mountain Grove fire department, a tanker for Millboro Fire department, for Bath County Schools, rehabilitation of the baseball field, and upgrading of the HVAC system in the high school gym. 

Capital improvement requests came to one million two-hundred-ninety-four thousand five-hundred dollars.   

Two proclamations  the board endorsed were to designate March as American Red Cross Month and also Colon Cancer Awareness month.  Richard Bird, Chair, read both proclamations, noting appreciation for everything the Red Cross does, and the importance of awareness and early intervention for Colon Cancer:  “This year alone 142,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer will be diagnosed in America, and nearly fifty thousand deaths are expected.  And whereas a simple screening test is recommended to individuals over age fifty, and for those with a family history to help combat the disease.”

There was also a hearty congratulations to the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, for serving over fifty years coordinating knowledge and resources for the whole region.  Eddie Hicklin, board member on the commission, noted some of their work. “Over the years the CSPC has conducted studies and identified solutions in the areas of transportation, economic development, infrastructure, housing, environment, disaster education and mitigation, and community development among many others.”    The Bath Board will hold a budget work session on the 21st of this month, and their next regular meeting is April 9th.

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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