Highland Board of Supervisors October Work Session

The Highland County Board of Supervisors once again faced ongoing concerns with their relationship to the Valley Program for Aging Services at it’s Wednesday night work session.

Issues had been first raised in September by Lee Taplinger, acting chair of the local council for senior services, who was concerned about the procedure for assigning a Highland representative to the VPAS board. County attorney Melissa Dowd reported that she had finally received a copy of the VPAS by-laws for review, but after study, she was left with more questions. The by-laws state that Highland is entitled to a representative on the VPAS board, based on election of a candidate, but does not specify who holds such an election. The documents also fail to clearly define the relationship between the board and local councils. Ms. Dowd recommended that she be allowed to provide the local council with a copy of the by-laws for review while she sought more answers from the state level. The supervisors agreed to this plan, and recommended the local council be invited to the November work session for an update on their position.

Bill Rich and Caroline Smith addressed the supervisors on behalf of The Highland Center. Rich, chairperson of the renovation construction committee, and Smith, Center Board member, requested that the Board consider a waiver for costs of a building permit to be applied for in regards to the upcoming renovation construction. Rich informed the Board that the renovated Center will serve as the county’s emergency shelter, as well as provide community benefits such as business incubation and space for retreats and meetings, which would ultimately attract more people to the area. The cost of the renovation is estimated at $3 million.

County administrator Roberta Lambert informed the Board that fees were based on square footage and included extra trash disposal fees, and to date, there had been no precedent for waiving fees. Ms Dowd recommended she be allowed to research whether any of the fee was for state or Federal purposes, and report this back to the Board in time for action at their November meeting.

In other business, the Board unanimously approved $1,000 per month be given to the Highland Rescue Squad to be applied to it’s incentive program, aimed to increase membership and response to emergency calls. This agreement would be in effect for the remaining eight months of the current budget year, at which time the effectiveness of the program would be reviewed for the future. The Board also agreed to resident Sue Cornelius’ request to have VDOT investigate the need for a school bus sign at a dangerous curve near Doe Hill.

The meeting ended with closed session to discuss personnel and 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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