Highland County FY23 Budget Public Hearing

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held the public hearing on the county’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget on April 21.

There are no changes in proposed levies.  Per $100 of assessed value, they are .48 for real estate, $2.75 for personal property, $1.00 for machinery and tools and $1.00 for merchants capital.

The proposed General Fund FY23 Budget is $11,212,722.00.    The budget increase is $2,247,823.00, which is a 25% increase.          

In the proposed budget, 60% goes to the school, 30% to the county, 7% to social services, 2% to children’s services and 1% to capital improvement.

During Board comments, Supervisor David Blanchard said they worked hard to not raise taxes and also adjusted the car tax fee on vehicles.   Supervisor Harry Sponaugle said the biggest thing that raised the budget was the 5% salary increase for most all employees in the budget.

The public hearing was also held on the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Budget.  There were no comments during the public hearing.  That proposed budget is $342,905.00.  There is no increase in fees for the proposed 2023 budget.

The public hearing was also held on the Emergency Medical Services Fund Budget.   The EMS Fund is for salaries and fringe benefits for career county EMS staff.  The proposed budget is $451,822.00.  The annual EMS Fee will remain at $180.

During the public hearing, Iris Hooke spoke saying in 2019 there was a tax increase of four cents on real estate and twenty five cents on personal property.  She said according to an article in The Recorder at the time, that was to be used for EMS.  She said the Board was double dipping with that tax increase and with charging $180 annually.

Supervisor Harry Sponaugle replied that the four cent increase in 2019 went to start the EMS program and that real estate taxes have not been raised since then.  He said that now, all that is going to EMS is the $180 fee.  Supervisor David Blanchard added that EMS was just part of the reason taxes were increased that year.

Iris Hooke also spoke about her concern that taxpayers are paying for the swimming pool.  She said originally the Recreation Commission said it would pay for the pool expenses and that promise should be kept.

County Administrator Roberta Lambert said the Recreation Commission repaid the construction costs for the pool, per an agreement, but she didn’t remember anything about maintenance costs being paid for by the Recreation Commission.

The Highland County Board of Supervisors meets again on Thursday, April 28, at 6:30 at the Highland Modular Conference Center to vote on the budget.

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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