Highland Board of Supervisors February Work Session – Part 1

At the Highland County Board of Supervisors February work session, the Board approved providing additional funding to the EDA for Incentive Grants.  The county budget contains $15,000 for the grants, but the EDA had requested an additional $2,500.  EDA Chair George Hogshead reported at the Board’s last meeting that, after review and scoring, there were four applicants whose requests the EDA wanted to fund.  Three applicants requested $5,000 each and the fourth requested $2,500.    County Administrator Roberta Lambert said funding was available from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Program, since assistance to small businesses is an approved use of those funds.  The Board voted to use funding from that program to provide the EDA the $2,500.  The Board also voted to have the EDA and the business submit required documentation to the county for it’s report on the use of the funding.

The Board voted to keep the Wilson’s Mill polling place open.  Wilson’s Mill has 139 registered voters and is located at Victory Chapel Church in Mustoe.  The Electoral Board had previously recommended it’s closure, since the location barely meets both the Virginians and the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.  County Attorney Melissa Dowd said Wilson’s Mill is technically in compliance with ADA requirements, but just barely, since disabled voters have to go around the building and through the Church sanctuary to reach the voting area.  She said the Electoral Board also had concerns because other counties have been sued for failure to comply with ADA.   Supervisors said with the public comments that were all opposed to the closure and the fact that the location was technically in compliance, they wanted to keep it open for now.  The Electoral Board had asked for an update on the Wilson’s Mill status because, due to state redistricting, new voter registration cards are being sent out to all voters.

County Attorney Melissa Dowd presented information on a Forest Service proposal to bury fiberoptic cable in the George Washington National Forest.  She said at this point the Forest Service doesn’t have a contractor yet to install the cable.  Dowd said during her research she saw where there were only eight comments that had been submitted so far and Botetourt County had commented in favor of the project.    Dowd provided a letter of comment for the Board to review and to provide feedback on.  She included comments on the protection of special biological areas, roadless areas and recreation areas, while indicating support of the expansion of broadband in the county that the project would provide.  The Board voted to submit the letter following it’s review.  Comments are due February 22.

County Administrator Roberta Lambert also provided the Board with some budget requests from county departments that she had received.  Not all requests are in yet, but she suggested a meeting of the Board to review these requests and to decide which departments or agencies to meet with individually.    The budget work session was set for Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 at the Highland Modular Conference Center.

To hear more from the Highland County Board of Supervisors February work session, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

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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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