Highland County Board of Supervisors July 2023 Work Session

The Highland County Board of Supervisors monthly work session was held on July 19.

The Board approved a request to transfer left over Personal Property Tax Relief funding for use for this year.  County Administrator Roberta Lambert explained that the Commissioner of Revenue and the County Treasurer requested that the Board transfer a balance left over from previous state funding for Personal Property Tax Relief.  The county receives funding from the state each year and usually there is a small balance left.  The balance left from 2017 is $914.94 and the request was to transfer that amount, to be applied to the amount of this year’s Personal Property Tax Relief funding.

School Superintendent Dr. Drew Maerz spoke at the meeting.  He followed up on a School Board request that the Board of Supervisors received just prior to it’s July 5th meeting.  The School Board requested a transfer of it’s budget surplus over to it’s Capital Improvement Fund.  The budget surplus amount is $451,629.46.  The request said the money would be used for the purchase of new school buses and the roof repair project.   There was also a request to use funding from school accounts to help pay for the School Resource Officer position, which may partly be paid for by grant funding.

At the meeting Wednesday night, Dr. Maerz said two new school buses are needed and quotes are $110,000 to $120,000 per bus.   He said there was a question of why so much money was coming back from the budget.  Dr. Maerz clarified that he did not create last year’s budget.  He said there were a number of things that contributed to the amount, such as a staff vacancies where a couple of salaries were only paid for half a year, but the biggest item was the roofing project.  He said it was included in the budget, when he felt it should have been included in capital outlay instead.  He said they are figuring out the payment for the roofing project, since some of the cost is covered by state funding and some by the Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief Fund.

Board of Supervisors Chairman David Blanchard said, after the explanation, the issue was muddier in his mind.   He said he had concerns about the next school budget.  He asked that in the future the schools tighten up on estimates in its budget.  He added that if the Board of Supervisors were faced with increasing taxes and then had $450,000 come back from the schools, that would be hard for both the Supervisors and the taxpayers to absorb.

Chairman Blanchard agreed with the schools’ request for new buses.  The Board voted to approve transferring $250,000 to the school Capital Improvement Fund to pay for the two new buses.  The Board of Supervisors will decide at future meetings on any additional transfers from the school budget surplus.

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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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