Highland County Board of Supervisors March Meeting – Part 1

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 7.

The Board heard a report on the recent EMS Advisory Committee meeting from Ashley Martin, a staff member of the Highland County Rescue Squad.   Martin said the meeting focused on what could be done to try to bring people to the area to work and to ease the strain on current volunteers.  She said the committee came up with three recommendations.  First, for both current and future staff, to change the rotation schedule from 24/48 to 24/72.  Second, increase pay up to $22 an hour for Basic EMT and $25 an hour for Advanced EMT and also offer a travel stipend.  And have the future Chief be a paramedic level and make it a preference for that person to live within a 30 to 40 minute drive from Monterey, if possible.  Third, schedule two days per week where two paid members would be on staff, so volunteers could have those days free.  Board Chairman David Blanchard said these are recommendations he would like to see implemented.  He also said they need to find out where they are in the hiring process for a new Chief, and if that doesn’t work out, the Board will look at these recommendations.  He said the Board will look at the budget regarding the pay increases, since the pay now for a Basic EMT is about $17 an hour.

County Administrator Roberta Lambert handed out a rescue squad report for February prepared by Debbie Trible, the Captain of the Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad.  The report showed the number of calls each volunteer answered and the number of hours put in.  Trible recognized John Montgomery, who had the highest totals.  He answered 16 calls for a total of 41.5 hours.  Overall, ten volunteers put in 104 hours on calls in February.

Lambert also reported that staff at the Solid Waste and Recycling Center is asking the Board to keep Saturday hours at 8 am to 12 noon year-round.  With that change, staff would be willing to meet with anyone who needed to use the facility unexpectedly on Saturdays after 12 noon.   Currently those are the winter hours, with hours being 8 am to 3 pm during daylight savings time.  The Board will consider the request at it’s next meeting on March 15.

The Board of Supervisors, along with the Monterey Town Council, held a joint public hearing on the updated Highland County Comprehensive Plan.  Building and Zoning Administrator Josh Simmons explained that after this update was completed, VDOT sent a letter noting some additional recommendations on updated data with maps and cost of bridges.  He said those recommendations will be included in the next plan update, which needs to be done every five years.  No one spoke during the public hearing and both the Supervisors and the Town Council approved the Comprehensive Plan.

To hear more from this meeting, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio or visit our website www.alleghenymountainradio.org

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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