Highland County Board of Supervisors Adopts FY 2024 Budget

The Highland County Board of Supervisors met on April 26 to adopt the County’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.   The public hearing on the proposed budget was held a week earlier, on April 19.

The Board adopted the General Fund Budget for the county and set the tax rates. The General Fund Budget is $10,331,467.00.  The tax rates will remain at .48 on real estate and mobile homes, $2.75 on personal property, $1.00 on machinery and tools and $1.00 on merchant’s capital.

The Board adopted the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Budget, known as the Enterprise Fund, and also set the Enterprise fees.  The budget is $342,905.00.  Enterprise Fees will remain at $150 for residential, $75 for business – low density, $150 for business – low/medium density, $225 for business – medium density and $300 for business – high density.

The Board also adopted the Emergency Medical Services Fund Budget and voted to keep the EMS Fee at $180 annually.  The EMS Fund budget is $587,776.00.

In other business, during public comment, Debbie Tribble with the Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad spoke to the Board about the county’s Volunteer Stipend Program.  She and rescue squad volunteers reviewed the policy and she said there were items in it that need to reviewed.  The policy requires that volunteers run duty calls from EMS headquarters, but Tribble said volunteers would prefer to run calls from their own volunteer building or from their homes.  The policy states a driver who stays in Monterey for twelve hours in order to run calls, would be given a stipend of $40.  She said that works out to $3.34 an hour, which is not an incentive.  The policy also calls for volunteers to fill out the stipend request form on the Highland EMS computer, in the EMS Building, but Tribble said volunteers can’t get on that computer.  Board Chairman David Blanchard agreed that the policy needs to be reworked.  He also said he felt the EMS Advisory Committee should work on it.  Chairman Blanchard said the Board is willing to put up money for stipends and is willing to come up with a plan to incentivize people to run calls.  Since the county currently does not have an EMS Chief, Tribble suggested the Board appoint someone to represent the Chief on the Advisory Committee, so they can move ahead on revising this policy.  County Administrator Roberta Lambert reminded everyone that Ashley Martin had already been appointed to serve on the EMS Advisory Committee as Interim Chief.

Debbie Tribble also asked if the Board had an objection to volunteer Medics and Intermediates having access to a ventilator that the county purchased. She said it is locked up and said they have requested to have access to it, so they can use it if needed on a call.  The Board agreed those volunteers should have access to the ventilator, as long as they have been trained on its use.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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