Highland County Board of Supervisors June 2023 Meeting – pt 1

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held it’s monthly meeting on June 6.

The Board set a public hearing for it’s July 5th meeting on the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance.  County Attorney Melissa Dowd explained that the state made changes to the statute last fall and the county’s ordinance is being updated to match those changes.  The big change is that accommodation intermediaries, such as Airbnb, are now required to report taxes collected on a monthly basis to the Commissioner of the Revenue.   With intermediaries, such as Airbnb, reporting directly will help the Commissioner of the Revenue compile a list for the Tourism Council of area vacation rentals.  Accommodation providers, which are property owners who rent directly and don’t use services such as Airbnb, will not see any changes and they will continue to report taxes on a quarterly basis to the Commissioner of the Revenue.  Highland County collects a 5% tax and gives the entire amount to the Tourism Council, even though the requirement is to give at least 2% for tourism.  The town of Monterey also has a 5% tax and contributes 2% to tourism and keeps 3% for town operation.

The Board voted to accept the renewal agreement from PHI Cares for medical helicopter services.  There was no change in the fee.  It was explained that PHI Cares also offers national coverage that individuals can sign up for, where this agreement covers just Highland and the surrounding area.

The Board approved a request from the Highland County Volunteer Fire Department for $125,000 to finish paying for a new pumper tanker.  There was discussion on whether the money was still needed, since the Fire Department had indicated the deadline for payment was last week.  The money would normally come from the county’s revolving loan fund, but currently that fund is depleted after a request was approved in December from the McDowell Volunteer Fire Department for $120,000.  If needed, the money for the Highland Volunteer Fire Department request will be provided from an alternate fund.

Mat Ratcliffe, Captain of the Bolar Volunteer Rescue Squad, spoke to the Board.  He reminded everyone that they are available to teach CPR to groups and organizations.  He also stressed that the Bolar Rescue Squad is right down the road and said he has offered many times for them to assist when rescue squad calls in Highland come in back to back.  He said he felt their services were not being used.  He also said it would benefit all local rescue squads to have a medical helicopter landing site near the Bath and Highland County line.  Recently they had a helicopter land in the middle of Route 220, since it was the only suitable location.  He asked for the Board’s assistance on finding and creating a landing site.  Ratcliffe was asked to talk with property owners in that area to see if anyone would be willing to have a site developed on their property.

To hear more from the June meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

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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