Highland County And The Commonwealth Of Virginia Both Face Challenging Year Economically
Monterey, VA – The State of Virginia and Highland County will be facing a very challenging year in 2012. That was the basic message from Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds, when he met with the Highland County Board of Supervisors in late December for to discuss the upcoming state legislative session.
After joining the Supervisors and other county and town officials at the court house in Monterey for a holiday lunch, Mr. Deeds and the Supervisors got down to business in the Modular Conference Center. The Supervisors are concerned for the school system and are hoping that changes can be made to produce a sustainable system in view of continuing enrollment declines and reductions in funding from the state. The Supervisors, School Board, Superintendent and other community groups are currently exploring options with the Virginia Secretary of Education. Board of Supervisors Chairmain Robin Sullenberger, in his last meeting as a Supervisor had comments for Senator Deeds.
“So I guess what we would particularly ask you to do is just for us to continue to keep you in the loop of what’s going on here and if we need any help with anything ,” he says. “Honestly I’ve been in the loop all these years I’ve represented Highland,” says Deeds. “I was still working with Emmett [Hanger] to try to make the right thing happen because Highland, it’s almost like family, it’s a small place like Bath. We’re all in this together.”
Supervisor Sullenberger goes on to discuss deliberations taking place with the Secretary of Education .
“We’ve made it very clear that we’re willing to try a pilot programs or new ideas or whatever,” he says. “And the reality is when you get to the bottom line here, we just need more people. What are you doing to energize the community in terms of the economy and so forth; a better reason for people to live here and that in Highland county and rural areas everywhere is a challenge.”
The Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center is certainly a step in the right direction for the county’s economy. County Administrator Roberta Lambert asked Senator Deeds about jobs.
“Every day I see emails coming out of the Governors’ office of all these new employment opportunities in various counties, but what can we do?” she asks.
“Most of those things are generated through local effort and as the Governor’s opportunity funds, they would throw in a few hundred thousand dollars he had to have to help close the deal,” says Deeds. “Most of them are generated by local economic development offices.”
“They come out practically every day,” says Lambert, “and they’re all over the state.”
There’s no question that economic development will be high on the list of priorities for Highland County in the new year.
The next meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors is Tuesday, January 3, at 7:30 PM in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey.