Bath’s Board of Supervisors Chair offers her report
In November 2012, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission to proceed with broadband planning for the County. In meeting with the Planning District Commission, specific local needs were discussed correlating to similar needs of neighboring Highland County resulting in a regional planning project. A kick-off meeting was held in March 2013 at which a unanimous vote was taken to pursue a 2013 Community Development Planning Grant. With grant funds awarded, Bath and Highland counties have surveyed, mapped, analyzed and studied the broadband needs and potential solutions in both communities.
Also, approximately $70,000 of local funds have been invested over the last two years in strategic planning for improved broadband access and development of a Community Telecommunications Plan. Currently, the Plan is more than 90% complete with the next step for completion being input from public meetings. The public meeting in Bath County will be held at the Bath County Courthouse Circuit Courtroom on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at 6 p.m.
To date, the 23 member Telecommunications Plan project management team has served as the backbone of the planning effort in working with Bath and Highland counties, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, the broadband consultant, telecommunications providers, and Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to assess needs based on results of broadband surveys, information gathered from meetings with internet service providers, and maps with broadband-related infrastructure and assets. Cellular service also is being considered with this Plan.
Affordable and reliable telecommunications service is important for a viable and vibrant community. The Board of Supervisors has made the commitment to determine the best solution and options for telecommunications service. Your input at the June 17 meeting is important to completing the Plan and continuing the effort to improve telecommunications and broadband access for the health, safety and welfare of community.