Highland County Board of Supervisors September Meeting

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held it’s monthly meeting September 7.  The Board heard a presentation from Zach Beard, Transportation Planner with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.   Work is underway to update the county’s Comprehensive Plan to bring it into compliance with state code and Beard is working on its transportation section.  The Planning Commission created a list of needs, goals and objectives and Beard said that helps document the county’s priorities and is helpful when applying for grants, since localities should demonstrate need through a planning document.  The Planning Commission’s list includes countywide road and bridge improvements, a flood wall in New Hampden and added signage and pullover lane for trucks on Bullpasture River Road.  Also included is the development of recreational infrastructure, such as mountain bike, ATV, horse trails and bike paths and the need for public transportation.

Beard said two specific projects are also included, based on crash data over a five-year period, Route 250 near Monterey and Strait Creek Road and Route 250 near the Augusta County border.   The Board of Supervisors will review the transportation section draft and provide comments and then the draft will be reviewed by VDOT.  The goal is to have the Comprehensive Plan updated by the end of the year.

Per a Board member’s request, County Attorney Melissa Dowd provided information about the creation of a social media policy for county employees and boards and commissions.  Dowd said the Board is probably thinking of a code of conduct, outlining ethical conduct for government employees.  She said the Board can set standards for employees and she provided information to the Board for review.  Supervisor David Blanchard said as the county moves forward with a new website, a new policy would give employees direction to go by.  County Administrator Roberta Lambert said the new county website should launch in about two weeks.

Dowd also reminded the Board that since there is no longer a State of Emergency in effect in Virginia regarding COVID, Board members can’t participate in meetings virtually, they have to be present.

County Administrator Roberta Lambert reported on the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program, which is the new program for revenue recovery funding.  The county has received the first of two allocations, $212,691 and it will receive another allocation later.  The county has several years to spend the money and Lambert said it is strongly suggested that it be spent on broadband, water and sewer, premium pay for public service employees who are in public safety positions and revenue recovery for the locality.

And the Board appointed Patti Hrovat and Jamie Collins to the Economic Development Authority.

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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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