Budget Cuts Hit Constitutional Offices In Highland
Monterey, VA – Highland county’s constitutional officers including the sheriff, court clerk, treasurer and commissioner of the revenue want the board of supervisors to review their decisions regarding the county budget. The state legislature has cut funding to these offices this year and next year. The board of supervisors chose not to make up for some of the state cuts in its county budget.
Supervisor Rexrode said that the state was just trying to pass on its financial responsibilities to the counties in a way that he feels is illegal. The salaries of the constitutional officers are set and funded by the state of Virginia. However, in the absence of county funds to make up for the state cuts, it is the county constitutional officers and their staff who will suffer the greatest consequences.
This week, the Highland Board of Supervisors was introduced to the Virginia Department of Transportation Lexington residency, which will be administering road work in the county starting this month. Ms Susan Hammond will be the primary contact person in the Lexington office for highland county. Due to illness, she was unable to attend this week’s meeting, so Mr. Mike Henry, also of the Lexington residency office was in Monterey Tuesday evening in her place.
Supervisor Rexrode asked Mr. Henry to set up a meeting with the environmental staff at the Lexington residency, regarding the permitting process required before road repairs can be done. Supervisor Rexrode is concerned about the delays that occur while permits are approved prior to the start of the road work. Mr. Henry responded that the department of transportation is governed by the same state laws that regulate all construction work in Virginia.
The law requires that environmental permits be obtained anytime land is disturbed by construction or road work. Mr. Rexrode replied that perhaps it is time to change some of those state laws where road repair work is concerned. He wants to find out more details about this permitting process before contacting Highland county’s state representatives to see if the process can be speeded up by changing the law.