Highland County Board of Supervisors Holds Public Meeting During March Work Session

It’s budget season for the Highland County Board of Supervisors. In a later story, we’ll hear all about the budgets that have been presented thus far, culminating in public comment at a scheduled public hearing. 


At the regular work session on March 20, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing  to provide for application and disposition guidelines for the Board of Equalization through an ordinance reassessment. During the hearing, there were no comments from the floor, and no comments were made by the board. Supervisor Harry Sponaugle made a motion that the ordinance be adopted, and the vote for approval was unanimous. 


The public hearing was closed, and the meeting continued with new and old business in accordance with the agenda.


The board approved both the Treasurer Turnover Audit and Resolution for the Starlink/T-Mobile Cell Communications Test Area unanimously and expeditiously.


The EMS comprehensive plan is tabled until April 2, but Budzinski tasked county attorney Melissa Dowd with investigating the regulatory and statutory EMS requirements from the commonwealth in an effort to make sure all are addressed in the comprehensive plan. Dowd said she would be happy to research and present at the next meeting on April 2, however cautioned that there are few guidelines at the state level until a squad is formed.


EMS discussion continued with Interim County Administrator Jerri Botkin informing the board that the order for ambulance unit 702 is complete and ready for delivery. A vote to distribute allocated funds for the unit passed two-to-one, with Supervisor Paul Trible voting no. There was no further comment on what he felt was the best practice for the unit of which funding was approved under the previous board.


Budzinski also added that the Department of EMS received radios from Bath County with the support of the Highland County Sheriff’s office on the Friday before Maple Festival. The Highland Volunteer Rescue Squad made the request that the radios be returned to them. Since their return would leave a deficit for the paid squad, there was a scramble to find radios and Budzinski thanked Bath County for providing them to the squad at no charge. Trible passed along the request for the radios to be returned, but refused to share who made the request when asked by Budzinski. Trible noted that the memorandum of understanding does not require the volunteers to provide radios for the paid Department of EMS.


Budzinki called the whole situation “unfortunate” when all parties were working together to create an EMS plan that gave concessions for each squad and operated in a way that was best for the county. 


EMS chief Nick Fialo walked several radios up to the front of the room to the board and confirmed that all radios owned by the volunteer squad were now back in their possession.


Before closing the meeting, the board unanimously approved the 4th quarter appropriation as requested by the Highland County School Board.


The next regular meeting for the Highland County Board of Supervisors will be held April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Highland Modular Conference Center. 

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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