Highland County Board of Supervisors Sets Tax Levy, Enterprise Fee, and EMS Fee for Fiscal Year 2025

After a drawn out series of contentions meetings and public comments, the Highland County Board of Supervisors voted on Monday, May 20 to set the tax levy, enterprise fee, and EMS fee for fiscal year 2025.


There was some confusion about the decrease in revenues from the Department of Social Services and the Children’s Services Act, but Emily Malcolm, Director of Highland County Department of Social Services explained that these numbers were changed on the state level. The numbers also reflected the fact that Highland County has no children in foster care currently:


“So there’s a shift in social services right now. We’re seeing a lot of support for kinship placements, which means foster placements with relatives. And sometimes family members are just willing to take a child on without having to go through the foster care avenue, which does save a significant amount of money. When a child enters foster care there is a maintenance payment that is afforded to those individuals. And this year we do not have any children in foster care, so that did decrease our budget. Last year we had requested $53,000 in foster care services and this year we’re requesting $14,000 and that really is only to have money in that line if we are to have a child come into foster care. And then we also had a child age out of adoption services, so the child turned age 18 and the family did not request any additional services through the department, so that also decreased.”


The enterprise fee, which covers the county’s solid waste collection and disposal system, will increase by $50 for each classification. This means that a residential household will now pay $200 for their enterprise fee. This fee passed by a unanimous vote by the supervisors. 


The Emergency Medical Services fee, or EMS fee, provides funding for the salaries and related costs for county career staff who provide emergency medical services. The annual rate is now set at $330 per landowner, which still requires a transfer of funds from the general fund in the amount of $168,951.50 to balance the budget. Supervisors Harry Sponaugle and Henry Budzinski both voted in the majority to pass this fee, but supervisor Paul Trible voted no.


Sponaugle made the motion to pass the tax levy at 44 cents, but cautioned all in attendance that this would not be sustainable long-term. 


“We can do this, but there’s got to be a place where we stop doing this or the county is going to get in trouble where they’re going to need some stuff. Since the public is really wanting that. I make a motion that we go to 44 cents, but that’s not my best judgement I want everyone to know.”


Budzinski seconded the motion and it passed 2-to-1 with Trible voting no.


A second public hearing set an ordinance for the tax due date extension, changing the date to June 20th from June 5th for the first half. The second half will remain due on December 5.


The Highland County Board of Supervisors will hold their next regular meeting on June 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Highland Modular Conference Center. Their June work session has been moved from June 19 to June 26 due to the Juneteenth Holiday. This will serve as the close-out meeting.

Story By


Brit Chambers

Brit Chambers is a resident of Highland County, Virginia and a news reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio. She loves living in a small town and relishes the outdoor adventures and community feeling that Highland has to offer. Brit has a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations and spends her free time reading good books, baking sourdough bread, and hiking with her family.

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