Highland Supervisors Working Diligently To Meet May 1st County Budget Deadline
Monterey, VA – The Highland County Board of Supervisors has a full agenda this month to complete work on the county budget. In order to meet the May 1 deadline for approving the county budget, the Board must approve a proposed budget by April 10. At its meeting last week, the Board scheduled a work session on the budget for Thursday, April 5 and also scheduled another meeting for Tuesday evening, April 10 to set the new tax rates and adopt the proposed county budget. A public hearing on the budget will follow later in April. The Board expects to approve the county budget at its May first meeting.
In other business, County Attorney Melissa Dowd brought an important matter to the Board.
“We are getting lots of mental health issues that the Sheriff is often the first one to address or the deputies; they’re the ones on the scene,” she says. “Or the Dept of Social Services is called in an emergency crisis; this spring has been just a big flood of mental health crises. When you have someone who is in crisis, you don’t want one’ somebody to go with them, so he’s got two deputies and it could be a five hour job by the time they’ve gotten to the home, taken care of the situation, driven the person to Augusta Health and gotten back here, gone through paperwork, etc.; it’s a very time consuming thing and that’s two people he can’t use for some other crisis that might occur.”
According to the Circuit Court Clerk, the number of juvenile court cases increased significantly in 2011 compared to previous years and that trend is continuing so far in 2012. Another problem the deputies sometimes have is that by the time they transport someone to Augusta Health, they are no longer exhibiting sufficient signs of mental distress to be admitted or treated at the hospital. So the deputies have to bring them back home and often another crisis situation will follow.
In order that the Board of Supervisors can address these county needs, Ms. Dowd would like to set up a work session with the Supervisors, the Sheriff, a representative from the Valley Community Services Board and someone from the local Social Services office. The Supervisors agreed to set up such a work session for May or June.
Betty Mitchell reported to the Board that Highland County was recently the recipient of an award from the Virginia Economic Development Association.
“The Economic Development Authority here is a member of VEDA, the Virginia Economic Development Association, and at our meeting earlier this winter, we were looking at the different awards that were given during the springtime at the annual meeting, and decided that we would like to see the Ag Center project nominated for community economic development award for counties with small populations,” says Mitchell. “And we were delighted to receive notice that Highland won that award.”
Next, County Administrator Roberta Lambert informed the Board that there appears to be a problem with the McDowell water system.
“We do believe that we do have a leak at the McDowell water system,” she says. “We’ve eliminated a lot of the areas except at the bridge construction and unfortunately the bridge construction is impeding us being able to check in that area for the leak.”
To look for the location of the leak, the water was shut off to several customers last week. Water will be turned off in another section of the system Tuesday evening in the hope that the leak will be found.
The next regular meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors will be Tuesday, May 1 at 7:30 pm in the Modular Conference Center in Monterey.