Highland County Board of Supervisors March 2023 Work Session

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly work session on Wednesday night, March 15.

The Board discussed a possible change in Saturday hours for the Solid Waste and Recycling Center.  At  it’s last meeting, the Board tabled action on the request.  Employees had asked the Board to consider leaving the Saturday closing time at noon year-round, instead of changing it back to 3pm with the start of daylight savings time.  Following discussion on the cost of staying open until 3 and on the one comment in favor of the 3pm closing time, the Board decided stay with the original schedule and leave the Saturday closing time at 3pm, during daylight savings time.  The Board may consider this again in the future and employees will keep a tally to see how much the Solid Waste Center is used on Saturdays between noon to 3.

The Board heard a complaint about excessive trash and unsanitary conditions on a property on The Pines Road.  The owner of a neighboring property said he contacted DEQ, which has visited the site, and the Health Department has been involved as well.  He said DEQ has given the property owners thirty days to begin clean up.  He also said things have been placed on his driveway’s right of way.  He sent the landowner letters regarding the right of way, saying in thirty days he will remove anything on his right of way.  He asked all Board members to go see the site and encouraged them to adopt an ordinance for the future to address these types of issues.  The Board said it could not do anything about the problem, but agreed he had done the right thing by contacting DEQ and the Health Department.

The Board approved a reduction on a water bill for a McDowell Water System customer.  The customer had a leak on his property that resulted in a water bill of over $575.  Per the Water System Ordinance, customers can ask for a one-time reduction on a bill due to a leak, that must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.  With the reduction, the customer pays the minimum water rate, plus one half of the additional charges.

The Board also approved a resolution for the county to participate in an opioid resolution lawsuit.  County Attorney Melissa Dowd explained that the state wants all localities to participate in this global settlement.  Money is awarded from the settlement based on population and it must be used for remediation of opioid abuse, such as for drug education programs.

The Board approved the renewal of health insurance for county employees.   The insurance is provided by a state program set up for local governments.  County Administrator Roberta Lambert said this year there is a 7% increase, but in the past the county has not had large increases and in some years there were no increases.

A budget work session was held at the end of the meeting.  County Administrator Roberta Lambert explained that the General Assembly adjourned without completing a budget, so many figures were unavailable.   Also, the school budget had not yet been submitted so she had a first draft of the budget for review which contained department budgets that had been submitted so far.

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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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