Highland BOS August Work Session

During their August work session, the Highland County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from Dr. Kimberly McClanahan from the Valley Community Services Board. The Board is publicly funded, providing assistance for those with mental health and intellectual disability issues, and serves Highland and Augusta counties, Staunton and Waynesboro. Dr. McClanahan noted the localities which they serve are legally required to provide a 10% financial match each year, based on the population, the number of people treated each year, and the number of services provided to the locality.

She reported that the Board is making progress towards setting up a new crisis receiving center, which will hopefully be close to Augusta Health Facilities. This will likely be a six bed facility, which will add to the two locations already available. The plan is for it to open within a year. Once open, this facility will provide more capacity to alleviate a system already burdened with a large number of mental health cases. They are also working to add capabilities at their current location for assessment of those who are under crisis or detention orders, thereby relieving local law enforcement from needing to be in their presence for 72 hours.

Board chair David Blanchard noted the distance Highland residents and law enforcement have to travel for mental health services. Dr. McClanahan noted that Highland resident Amy Good has been providing services, mostly via tele-health, and that she could do more in-person, but there is a lack of available proper space to do so. There are current discussions with the Highland Department of Social Services to provide such space.

The Board also heard from Highland Electoral Board secretary Cindy Vrugtman, who reported that the State Electoral Board had tasked them with checking every voting precinct in the county for ADA compliance, due October 16th. The Electoral Board requested that a county official, possibly Building and Zoning Administrator Josh Simmons, accompany them on these assessments, to provide assistance and verification of the results. The Supervisors agreed to talk to Mr. Simmons, or another official to potentially assist. They also agreed to talk with the County’s IT company to see if they can assist with an election security matrix checklist.

County Administrator Roberta Lambert updated the Supervisors on VDOT response to two resident requests for signage, and the meeting ended with a closed session to address future steps for a solid waste collection 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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