Part two- Bath’s Board November meeting

In the first part of this pair of stories, listeners heard about the process to fill the gap on the Bath Board left by Warm Springs supervisor, Matt Ratcliffe. While the mood of the meeting was not quite as tense as October’s, the public pressure was still strong, and the Board responded by rescinding the motion to transfer property intended for a Visitors’ Center away from the Office of Tourism. Prior to all that action, public comments indicated some local residents have calmly and quietly been going about the business of honoring and protecting each other.

Mike Spurgeon noted one local veterans’ group had established a monument in the last month.

“I would ask everyone, if you haven’t looked yet, in front of the Sherriff’s office, there’s a new memorial for the veterans. American Legion Post 92 dissolved. We gave John Young the money to design and purchase the Memorial, and Mr. Young out of his pocket has put money, and I just wanted to personally, and publically thank John for that, and for the Veterans.”   Then, with Mr. Spurgeon’s encouragement, the crowd expressed appreciation with applause to all the veterans present.

Another item mentioned in the public comments, and later addressed by the board was the need for major repairs to the radio communications system used by emergency services staff and volunteers. Jeff Grimm, of the Millboro Area Rescue Squad spoke about the need for the work to be done.

Gaps in signal can lead to slower response times for fire and rescue personnel.

“We see this on the eastern side of the county all the time, and there’s lots of spots in the county that are not covered by radio communications. I understand that you can’t spend three million dollars on a radio system, but if we can fix what we have temporarily for a reasonable amount of money, I think that would be money well spent.”

The system, which has operated at around 23%, could improve to about 78% reception. Harold King, chair of the Bath Fire and Rescue Association clarified that, these repairs are not an ultimate solution, but will improve the system enough to last until a more permanent fix can be found.

The three board members all voted in favor of appropriating the necessary funds, $24, 930.32, for the radio tower and system repairs.

Another agenda item was to consider reintroducing a coyote bounty. Both public comments from Jon Trees, a Mountain Grove resident who has attended several wildlife seminars on coyotes, and a letter from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries affirmed a bounty on coyotes does not help to control the population, and only adds to administrative duties and expenses for the county. Action on this item was tabled.

Board action also included appointing members of the Board of Equalization. Those now include, William Manion, Chair, Michael O’Farrell, Secretary, Mary Anne Bogan, and Clerk, Karen Williams.

Finally, Bath and Highland Counties are working together to develop a regional plan for improved telecommunications, particularly cell service. The board established a meeting time and place with the Highland Board of Supervisors for Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30 in the General District Court Room. The public is welcome to attend. The next regular meeting of the Bath Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday December 13th at 7:00 in the General District Court Room. The public is always encouraged to attend.


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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