Highland Board of Supervisors February Meeting – Part 1
The Highland County Board of Supervisors held it’s February meeting on Tuesday night.
The Board heard a presentation from George Hogshead, Chairman of the Economic Development Authority. He requested an additional $2,500 for Incentive Grants this year. He said there were nine applicants for the Incentive Grants, which is a record number. The EDA reviewed applications and scored them according to set criteria. Hogshead said three applications scored virtually identically with, a fourth application just slightly behind the top three. The top three applications requested $5,000 each and the fourth application requested $2,500. Hogshead also said the fourth application meets one of the critical needs that came out of the recent RCDI survey. The county budget includes $15,000 annually for the EDA to award for Incentive Grants. Hogshead said the applicants have specific items to purchase and if the EDA reduced the amounts of the grants, from what the applicants requested, the applicants would not be able to achieve what they planned. Hogshead said if the Supervisors can’t provide the additional $2,500, then the EDA would only award the top three applicants $5,000 each.
Board Chair John Moyers, Jr. asked how money spent on increased grant funding would come back to the county. Hogshead said supporting the businesses brings more employment opportunities, increases revenue and promotes Highland County, since businesses sell products regionally and statewide. He also said some of the grant money goes for physical renovation to property, so that results in higher property values.
Supervisor David Blanchard asked County Administrator Roberta Lambert where the additional $2,500 might come from. She said there is a funding program available from the Department of the Treasury that is a potential source, but she needs more time for research to be sure this use of the money would meet guidelines. The Board tabled action on the EDA’s request until it’s work session on February 16.
George Hogshead also told the Board that the EDA’s proposed budget for next year will include a request for $20,000 for Incentive Grants, since interest is increasing in the grants. He said there were two applications in 2020, six in 2021 and nine in 2022.
To hear more from the Highland County Board of Supervisors February meeting, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.