Highland Board of Supervisors Hear Pipeline Revenue Projections



The Highland Board of Supervisors learned revenue figures relating to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project at it’s regular December meeting. If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the proposed project, Dominion Resources would be subject to property taxes on the 42 inch pipeline.

County administrator Roberta Lambert reported she had received a report on projected payments from Dominion, produced in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Taxation and based on the latest available tax rates and assessment ratios. The projections are for a 10 year period beginning in 2015 and estimate that over that span, would result in total payments of $4.2 million, averaging $422,000 per year. Ms. Lambert reported that, based on current tax assessments, that amount would be roughly 23% of what the county currently collects. She also reported that Dominion will be holding another open house in the county on Thursday, January 15th at The Highland Center.

In other revenue related matters, Ms. Lambert reported that state aid to the county will be cut by $5,900. This will primarily affect elected officials, via reductions in the State Board of Compensation. There are also slight reductions to library funding and other departments.

Betsy Little updated the Board on the services of the Talking Book Center, which provides audiobooks for the visually impaired. There are currently 20,000 books available in Staunton, with access to 50,000 additional ones. Ms. Little said The Center hoped to expand into Highland more, and are placing stickers on large print books at the library to make patrons more aware of the service.

Sheriff Tim Duff and EMS Coordinator Chris Vernovai briefed the Board on their respective offices service calls for the past month. Mr. Vernovai also reported his daily responsibilities, and provided the Board with a copy of the Rescue Squad’s by-laws and volunteer incentive program. The squad has purchased a used van ambulance, and has received a grant towards the purchase of a new ambulance, anticipated in December.

In other updates, Highland Chamber of Commerce executive director Tiffany White provided the Board with the year end report for the Tourism Council, and Sarah Rexrode gave a director’s report on the Department of Social Services workload between October and November.

The meeting ended with a closed session to discuss the applications for the open Building and Zoning position. Interviews are currently being held with qualified candidates, but a decision is unlikely before the end of the year.

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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