Highland Board Of Supervisors July Meeting



Budget adjustment reports were the main order of business at the Highland County Board of Supervisors July regular meeting.

First on the agenda was Sarah Rexrode from the Department of Social Services, who reported that due to the passage of Medicaid expansion by the Virginia legislature this year, her department would be receiving a$50,000 increase for this fiscal year. The increase does not require a local match this year, but will become part of the base budget in future years and require the 15 ½% local match. Ms. Rexrode indicated that plans for the extra funding included the hiring of an additional employee to allow for shifting responsibilities inside the office to increase service and compensate for the new demands of Medicaid applications. The expansion will begin January 1st, and projections range from 50-150 Highland County residents would qualify. Stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio for an upcoming story on the specifics of the program.

Board chair Harry Sponaugle questioned the justification for hiring a new employee and asked Ms. Rexrode to provide current numbers for caseload and demand, which she agreed to do. She also noted that VDSS Commissioner Duke Storen would be visiting Highland on July 13th, and she hoped to make him aware of the challenges faced by the department in a rural area.

Highland School Board Superintendent Dr. Thomas Schott reported to the Board next. He noted that once the state had passed its budget early this summer, his shortfall estimate of $55,000 was increased to $96,000. However, this is mitigated by the fact that two anticipated special needs students will not be in the system, therefore allowing internal adjustments of responsibilities and not necessitating the need for hiring a new teacher, so the budget request from the school system will stay the same for the upcoming year. For the current year close-out, the school system returned $90,000, which Dr. Schott recommended go into the school capital improvement fund, and the Supervisors agreed. They also moved to allow Dr. Schott to move forward on a lease purchase agreement for a new bus, since one of the current leases has been paid off.

In other business, one of the action agenda items in other business was a request from the Central Shenandoah Emergency Medical Services Council for an appointment from Highland to its Board of Directors. Paul Klein, a member of the Citizen’s EMS Committee, spoke in public comments, recommending that the person appointed not be an active member of the squad, but rather a member of the community who can best express the needs of the community, possibly a retired member of the squad. The Supervisors agreed, and planned to seek more feedback from the Council on the qualifications they sought in an appointee. They also appointed Joe Malcolm to the Highland County Planning Commission, re-appointed Jamie Will for approval by the Circuit Court to the Board of Zoning appeals, and agreed to modify the length of Robin Sullenberger’s term on the Shenandoah Valley Partnership Board, at SVP’s request.

The meeting ended with a closed session to discuss a contract.


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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