Monterey Town Council August 2023 Meeting

The Monterey Town Council held its monthly meeting on August 3.  This story was written from the draft minutes of that meeting, since no one from Allegheny Mountain Radio was in attendance at the meeting.

Town Employee Jaden Cox reported that he had been inspecting, flushing and painting all the fire hydrants in town.  He found the hydrant at the elementary school is not working and he is coordinating repairs with the school and the fire department.

The Town Council voted to update the Public Procurement Procedures Ordinance which will allow town employees to spend up to $1,000, without presenting the purchase to the Council.  Previously the spending limit was $500.  There was concern that the spending limit was slowing down work, since a purchase over $500 would be put on hold until approved at an upcoming Town Council meeting.  Mayor Jay Garber said he is consulted before purchases are made and the Town Council is aware of upcoming purchases according to the town’s Capital Improvement Fund.

It was reported that a part of the town’s audit had been completed by Mary Earhart and it will now be sent to Robinson, Farmer, Cox & Associates.  Earhart notified the Town Council that she will be selling her firm to Rodefer Moss PLLC, located in Tennessee, and that the town’s files would be turned over to that firm, unless she was notified by October 30.   County Attorney Melissa Dowd suggested the town stay with the new firm, but Councilman Rob Weiss suggested checking on prices and services with other firms.  No action was taken.

The Town Council voted to support a grant to be used to update the Central Shenandoah Hazard Mitigation Plan.   It was explained that Monterey has always been a part of the Hazard Mitigation Plan through the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.  The participation makes the town eligible for FEMA disaster funds.  There is no cost to the town to participate and funding was received from the program following the derecho in 2012.

Betty Mitchell presented Town Council members with a draft copy of the findings of the Regional Housing Study, being done by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.  During discussion, Councilman Rob Weiss said he disagreed with the report’s findings that there was a lack of housing in the area.  He said people are not coming here to live because it is unaffordable, there’s a lack of jobs and because people don’t realize how rural the area is.  Resident Janice Warner said she owns many rental properties and was not contacted for the study.  She also said there is a lack of good paying jobs in the area.  Betty Mitchell explained that the Highland Medical Center and Highland Schools both said they had difficulty hiring people because they could not find rental or permanent 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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