Highland Board of Supervisors December Meeting

“I was always asked a question as a young man, and I’m not anymore – did you leave things in better shape than you found them. And that’s the question we have to ask ourselves as supervisors – is Highland County better off now than it was four years ago. And you can answer that question anyway you want to. There’s some areas that may well be, there’s some areas it might not be.”

December’s Highland Board of Supervisor’s regular meeting was the last for outgoing member Lee Blagg, and he took the opportunity to make some parting public comments.

“We’ve had some things we had to do, and we’ve gotten along very well, as a Board, I think. And we voted for things we didn’t really want to vote for, and tax increases is one of them. But I think we’ve done the best we could with what we had to work with. I hope we can persuade our legislators to back off of some of the unfounded mandates. I could never comprehend why we have the comprehensive deal we have with the school system, where the counties aren’t equal, in terms of funding from the state, but that’s something we can’t control.”

Blagg also praised the efforts of County Administrator Roberta Lambert, a sentiment echoed by chair David Blanchard, who also thanked outgoing Sheriff Tim Duff for his service, and spoke  about the past and future of the Board.

“I’ve enjoyed the past four years, working with these two gentlemen next to me. I think one of the nice things about this small Board has always been our ability to work together, and I look forward to Mr. Sponaugle coming on and bringing his perspective.

“Yeah, we aren’t always really pleased with what we have to vote for sometimes, but we are trying to work with what we have. I think we have made some strides over the past four years – we can’t always see them, but it is always trying to remain positive, and keep this ship moving forward, but if we remain optimistic, it is.”

During the meeting, the Board heard reports from:

  • District Ranger Pat Sheridan, on planned activities for the George Washington/Jefferson National Forest;
  • Sheriff Tim Duff, on his department’s activities for the month November;
  • Director of Social Services Sarah Rexrode, on the office’s efforts, including placing 38 angels on the angel tree, and 21 on the adult angel tree at the school, and serving 20 households with 750 items collected during the Thanksgiving food drive;
  • And Josh Umar, Youth and Community Outreach Coordinator for The Highland Center, who updated the Board on the program to attract new residents, which is being undertaken in coordination with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.

In action items, the Board:

  • Tabled action on the resolution in support of REPLICA, Recognition of EMS Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact
  • Re-appointed Sue Cornelius to the Planning Commission
  • Re-appointed David Blanchard to the Board of Public Welfare
  • And were reminded by the County Administrator to consider a recommendation for replacement of Harry Sponaugle to the Board of Zoning Appeals, due to his election as Supervisor – this appointment will be made by the Circuit Court.

The Board also heard a recommendation from former supervisor and Cooperative Extension agent Austin Shepard that they look into the designation of the brick tannery chimney south of Monterey as a national treasure, to attract tourism.

The Board’s next meeting will be Thursday, December 10th, when they meet with state Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate Dickie Bell at 2:00 at the modular building. The Monterey Town Council and Highland School Board have also been invited to attend.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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