Highland County Economic Development Authority June 2023 Meeting

The Highland County Economic Development Authority held it’s monthly meeting on June 19.

EDA Economic Development Officer Betty Mitchell reported that the town of Monterey and Highland County are now up to date on transient occupancy tax payments through the first quarter of this year.  The total tax payment going to the Tourism Council is $25,913.16.

She also reported that the Tourism Council is working on it’s budget.  The proposed budget is $48,500, including some funding already on hand.

The EDA discussed placing an ad in the Highland County Fair Guide.  A quarter page black and white ad costs $55.  The EDA voted to take out a quarter page ad and partner with the Tourism Council on it, with the EDA paying up to 50% of the cost.  An EDA member volunteered to cover the remainder of the cost of the ad if the Tourism Council declined to participate.

Betty Mitchell also reported that she attended the Virginia Economic Development Partnership summer membership meeting and was able to talk with policy makers about the need for improved cell service in Highland.  She said they are hearing more about the need for cell coverage in remote areas and she hoped that will assist the Bath-Highland Network Authority with it’s work.

There was discussion on collecting information on local grants to provide to visitors from state and federal agencies.  Betty Mitchell proposed creating short video interviews with past Incentive Grant recipients to show how the grants have helped local businesses, even many years later.   Showing the videos to agency visitors will provide the information without having to take time to visit all the businesses.  EDA members will create interview questions and will contact past Incentive Grant recipients.

There will be an open seat on the EDA, as of July 1.  It was announced at the meeting that one application had been received.  Board Chair George Hogshead suggested tabling action on that application until the EDA’s July meeting, because he wanted a full board present to vote.  EDA member Dail Fields was absent from the meeting.   EDA member Bryan Obaugh said he knew of another person who is planning to apply for the open seat.

Betty Mitchell reported that the Industrial Revitalization Fund Planning Grant report is due June 30 and the Implementation Grant is due June 23.  These grants are being pursued as options for possible funding to help with renovation of The Highland Inn.

Highland County will receive it’s data in July from the Regional Housing Study.  The study was conducted to help alleviate the problem of lack of housing in the area.  Highland will be the first community that will be assisted with strategies, since there were a couple of examples of people leaving the community because they could not find housing.

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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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