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Regional Government

Town of Bath starts new Development Authority

The Morgan Messenger of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

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The Town of Bath Council voted unanimously to create a Development Authority at the Tuesday, October 6 meeting.

"It has powers that council doesn't have," Mayor Susan Webster said.

For example, Webster said a municipal development authority can go into debt in order to renovate or build buildings. Municipal governments are prohibited from going into long term debt by state law.

The Authority can plan future land use and building projects, hire employees and submit grant requests, Webster said.

An organizational meeting chaired by Webster was held Thursday evening, October 8.

Attendees were Accountant Matt Close, Region 9 Representative Bette Kidwell, Peter Moss of Herb's Auto, CNB Bank, Inc., President Tom Rokisky and Attorney Glen Stotler.

Webster said the first order of business would be to present a list of names to the Town of Bath Council at the October 20 meeting for appointment to the Development Authority. Webster said she had a list of people she had contacted who were interested in serving.

According to state code, a municipal development authority must have 12 members and no more than 21. Terms of service must be staggered over one, two and three years. Members do not have to reside in the municipality to serve.

Webster said she wanted the mission of the Authority to be broad in scope.

She said by forming a Development Authority, the town is not competing with the Morgan County Economic Development Authority, but will instead work with them, and focus extra energy on improvements in town.

"I don't see a conflict with the Morgan County EDA. The more people marketing and working on economic development the better," Stotler said.

Lots of work ahead

Once members are approved by Council, Webster said they will have to elect officers, write bylaws and create committees. Then the Authority will have to find funds and apply for grants.

Some possible projects discussed for the Authority included creating' a website, designing a marketing plan -possibly using signs and billboards, looking at public transportation, attracting new types of businesses that are now lacking in town, and getting federal and state agencies, such as the DMV, to locate offices in town.

"I think it is a good idea. There is no doubt that we need to expand our business base," Rokisky said.



Copyright 2009 The Morgan Messenger, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

© 2010 The Morgan Messenger Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from DAS.

Original Publication Date: October 14, 2009



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