Highland County Board of Supervisors Discuss Waste Issues and More at March 7, 2017 Meeting


Waste took a major role in the conversation of the Highland County Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

Temporary portable restrooms have been placed on the Highland County side of Shenandoah Mountain at the Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Site.  The move was made by Highland County Supervisors after learning that the USDA Forest Service has plans to remove the permanent restroom facilities at the site due to budget issues.  Locks have been placed on the permanent restrooms by the Forest Service with no plans for maintenance until April 1st.  The Highland County Supervisors decided that there needed to be facilities open for the high volume of folks attending the Maple Festival, so they approved a motion to install the temporary porta-potties during the event, as well as for cleanup around the permanent restroom site.  Highland County will enter in to a written agreement with the Forest Service for the two weekends of the Maple Festival, with future plans on the site to be worked out later.

According to the 2016 Solid Waste Tonnage report, recycling in Highland County has proved to be an overall cost-saving measure over trash disposal.  Looking at total payments that the county received from recycling and the total costs to remove recycling from the county, there was actually a loss of $2,036.51.  However, the county realized a savings of $8,726.59 by recycling the roughly 239 tons of recyclables as opposed to shipping them out as regular trash.  Overall, there was an increase of just over 49 tons of recycling material in 2016 compared to 2015, and a decrease of just over 57 tons of solid waste material in 2016 compared to 2015.  The Highland County locality has a recycling mandate of 15% of their total waste.

Moving on, the board approved a request by the Highland County Humane Society to plant up to three peonies along the Highland Community Walking Trail in honor of Brooke Harper, a Highland High School senior who passed away in 2016.  The Humane Society will also be installing and maintaining two pet waste bag dispensers along the trail.  A separate motion was made for the Board to look in to the installation of lighting along the trail, which was not included in original funding.

In other business, the board plans to have a future public meeting with Dominion External Affairs Manager, Emmett Toms, and potentially other officials at Dominion, about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s impact to Highland County.  The meeting will be open to the public in the style of a work session for the supervisors to have a discussion, but it will not be an open forum for public questions and answers.

The board also approved the appointment of Ellen Ratcliffe to the Recreation Commission, approved the appointment of Michael Bedwell to represent Highland County on the Blue Ridge Community College Board, and approved the renewal of county employee health insurance with a program called “The Local Choice.”

And one final item, the board adopted a resolution to declare the month of March 2017 as Volunteer Appreciation Month in Highland County, which seems very fitting with the county’s largest volunteer festival occurring right now.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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