Changes Are On The Way For The Bath Board Of Supervisors
Warm Springs, VA – Changes are on the way for the Bath Board of Supervisors. Bath County Administrator Bonnie Johnson is retiring and Supervisor Richard Byrd plans to run for County Treasurer. At the Bath Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday night, Johnson announced she will be leaving the County Administrator’s job at the end of August.
She said that by that time the County will be through the budget process and redistricting work and other projects will be well underway. Johnson said working as County Administrator had been an honor, a challenge and a pleasure. Board Chairman Richard Byrd thanked her for her work, calling her dedicated, caring and loving. He also said it will be hard to find someone to work as hard as she did.
Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said Johnson is owed a debt of gratitude for her hours of hard work on the budget. Hardbarger also called her a model of grace under fire. Supervisor Jon Trees said Johnson was a tremendous asset and said it will be hard to find someone to fill her shoes.
Supervisor Percy Nowlin said he didn’t know of any county administrator who has put in more time pursuing and completing dozens of county projects. And Supervisor Stuart Hall thanked Johnson for the job she’s done for the county and said he appreciates all she’s done for the citizens.
Supervisor Richard Byrd announced Tuesday night that he will not seek re-election to the board of supervisors. He will run for the position of Treasurer of Bath County.
In other business, the board approved a new ordinance on dogs running at large. During the public hearing a speaker was concerned because she thought the ordinance called for dog owners to keep their dogs on their property, even in open rural areas. It was clarified that the ordinance says that as long as there are no complaints, it’s fine for a dog to be off of its owners’ property.
Bath Animal Control Officer Robbie Chestnut said the ordinance covers public places, such as roads. There’s already a nuisance ordinance on the books that covers private property. Supervisor Stuart Hall said he thinks this ordinance will turn neighbor against neighbor. He also said he can’t see the restriction being put on rural areas and said that he’s afraid it will eventually lead to a leash law.
Supervisor Jon Trees said the ordinance protects hunting dogs and that without the ordinance Animal Control can’t do anything if a nuisance or aggressive dog is on public property. Board Chair Richard Byrd said it was a tough decision to decide about the ordinance. He said he hated to see another ordinance on the books that the county may not have staff to enforce, but he also said that everyone should have the right to walk on the road and be in public areas and feel safe. The ordinance was approved on a vote of 4 to 1, with Supervisor Hall voting no.