The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on March 1, 2007 at 6:00 PM in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following were present:
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable John W. Peace, II
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Leland Branham
Honorable Fred A. Luntsford – members of said Board and
Glen A. Skinner – County Administrator
Shannon C. Scott – Assistant County Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Steve Bates
T. G. Branson led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
IN RE: AGENDA ADDITIONS
The following items were added to the agenda for consideration:
Add to Consent Agenda: Resolution-Bold Camp Sewer Project
Add to New Business:
Budget Amendment #44
Set public hearing (April 5 – 6:00 PM) on a proposed Ordinance Approving Wise County Public School FY 2007-08 Budget by Expenditure Classification/Category
IN RE: REGIONAL ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAM
Rebecca Scott, Program Manager for the Regional Adult Education Program of Lee, Scott, Wise and Norton Public Schools, provided a brief overview of the Regional Adult Education Program. She also provided copies of the GED Success Stories Calendars and underscored the accomplishments of the March 2007 success story of Ronnie Mutter.
Ronnie Mutter addressed the Board with his GED success story. With the ability to process only about 20 percent of sounds and without access to a hearing aid, Mr. Mutter left high school in his freshman year feeling like he wasn’t smart enough to succeed. A few years later he learned that with work and dedication, he could do anything he wanted, including becoming a minister. Now in his mid 60’s, Ronnie Mutter is a Methodist minister in Big Stone Gap and his church offers a weekly GED class because Mr. Mutter wants to encourage and support others who may be in the same position he was in many years ago.
IN RE: YOUTHBUILD PROGRAM
Paul Kuczko, representing the YouthBuilding Program, explained that this is a new program that has been implemented to work with high school dropouts in getting their GED. All YouthBuild students are poor and many have had experience with foster care, juvenile justice, welfare, and homelessness. Participants spend 6 to 24 months in the full-time program, dividing their time between the construction site and the YouthBuild alternative school. Community and faith-based nonprofit organizations sponsor most programs, although some are sponsored by public agencies. Each YouthBuild program raises private and public funds to support itself. Primary support comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a dedicated federal line item.
Rebecca Carty and Allen Crest told the Board how this program has changed their lives. It has given them confidence in themselves to pursue achievable goals and to learn skills that will establish a productive life for them in the workplace.
IN RE: PRO-ART REQUEST FOR FUNDING
Mike Abbott, Secretary to the Pro-Art Board, addressed the Board with an explanation of Pro-Art’s financial status and the steps that are being taken to correct and revamp its commitments and its budget. It has been the consensus of the Pro-Art Board to be up front with all the organizations that have been supporters of Pro-Art and to ask for their continued support. At the present time, the three (3) big debts which are the banks, the colleges and the artists are to be paid first. To date, $44,000 has been raised, from the Board members only, toward reducing this debt and to show the citizens that the Pro-Art Board members have a love for Pro-Art. The goal is to pay the debts owed within three (3) years. He asked for the continued support of the Board of Supervisors, which will allow them to continue with the smaller programs until such time as the financial crisis has been lifted.
Mr. Abbott noted that a request has been submitted to the Tobacco Commission for $100,000 which will be used for lighting at the Pound Middle School for the different programs that are performed at that school.
IN RE: LONESOME PINE ARTS AND CRAFTS
Barbara Polly, representing the Lonesome Pine Arts and Crafts, gave a brief overview of the goals and achievements of the Lonesome Pine Arts and Crafts organization. Ms. Polly spoke briefly on The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama, which uses local people as members of the cast, and attracts people from other states as well as other countries. The Drama is a great tool for tourism. She asked for the Board’s continued financial support which allows the Lonesome Pine Arts and Craft organization to continue to grow and provide more tourist attractions for this area.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING-E-911 ROAD NAMES
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding six (6) E-911 road name additions.
There being no one to speak regarding the proposed E-911 road names additions, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING-WISE COUNTY CIP FOR FY 2008-2012
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding the proposed Wise County Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for FY 2008-2012.
There being no one to speak regarding the proposed Plan, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Charlene Greene and Kathy Selvage, residents of the Stephens area, addressed the Board regarding the recent mining operation in the Stephens area. The Board was asked to adopt a resolution requesting DMME to require the responsible and timely reclamation of the Glamorgan Properties surface mine sites located in the Stephens section of Wise County and along U.S. 23 in Wise County.
Ms. Greene thanked VDOT for the signs that were recently installed at Timberville Acres in Coeburn. However, the request was for a stop sign.
Bonnie Aker and Carol Green Doss, gave the Board a brief overview of the Upper East Tennessee River Roundtable’s purpose, its accomplishments, and its goals.
Ms. Aker addressed the Board with a request for Upper Tennessee River Roundtable to be considered in the County’s FY 2007-2008 budget in the amount of $10,000 which will allow The Upper Tennessee River Roundtable to continue its work on regional issues. By leveraging the financial resources of all localities in the region, the Roundtable is able to address the common issues facing each locality in a more cost-effective manner. In addition, the Roundtable continues to partner with federal and state agencies to bring their combined financial resources to bear on these difficult interconnected issues.
Clarence Peters, a resident of the Green Briar Acres Subdivision, voiced his opposition to the recent cost of approximately $110,000,000 which is probably a low figure, for renovating the six high schools in Wise County. He was concerned that Wise County citizens cannot afford the tax increase that would have to be put in place to pay this debt. Not to mention, leaving a debt such as this to our children and grandchildren to pay. Wise County is losing student population, not gaining and that is one factor to be considered in making a decision on whether consolidation with three new schools may be the answer.
Mr. Peters spoke highly of Pro-Art and its programs. The performances are educational, family oriented and of the finest quality.
Wilma Stallard provided the Board with financial statistics that revealed the support of the Board of Supervisors to the children of Wise County. She brought to the Board’s attention that there are 700 out-of-county students that do not pay any tuition and are attending Wise County schools. Regarding the proposed school renovations, Ms. Stallard stated that Wise County cannot afford these renovations and with the number of high school students, there could be less schools. She asked the citizens of Wise County to take these figures that she has provided and give considerable thought as to how we can provide better curriculum and quality education for our children at a cost that is affordable to everyone. Ms. Stallard further asked that citizens attend the School Board meetings and the Board of Supervisors meetings to let their suggestions and feelings be heard.
There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
There were no remarks by VDOT.
Board members provided needs in their district for VDOT review.
Supervisor Peace asked for a speed study on Egan Road, River Road and Tate Springs Road.
It was noted that speed signs are approved by resolution.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items were reviewed:
Resolution setting the property tax rates
Resolution Keep America Beautiful
Proclamation Declaring Friday, March 23 as Lauren Elizabeth Bolling Barnette Day
IN RE: PUMP AND HAUL PERMIT
Virginia Adams came before the Board requesting permission to be placed on the County’s Pump and Haul system which is an alternative means of sewage disposal. She told the Board that her property does not perk for a conventional septic system and due to her financial difficulties she cannot afford the more expensive septic system. After following up on the requirements of the Pump and Haul, Ms. Adams stated that this method would be more economical for her since she lives alone, works during the day, and will use the laundromat to wash clothes. This would cut down on her consumption of water, since water usage is a major factor in the Pump and Haul system. It is her intent to connect to the public sewer as soon as it is available.
Chairman Shortt advised Ms. Adams that he has been made aware of other options that may be available for her. He asked that she communicate with the County Attorney and the County Administrator to review these options. Since the Pump and Haul system has never been issued to a residence, his recommendation to the Board will be to table this request until the April meeting for further information.
IN RE: ANGEL CARE AMBULANCE SERVICES
Jack Kiser, owner of Angel Care Ambulance, came before the Board requesting permission to operate within Wise County. He commented that calls are constantly coming from his main office in Abingdon for transports to Wise County through Medicaid and Medicare. This indicates that there is more volume of need here than the existing agencies that are in place can handle. Mr. Kiser said it was Angel Care’s intent to assist when needed, at no charge, and to improve the emergency medical services in Southwest Virginia. Angel Care is self sufficient and does its own billing of the insurance companies. He said he has talked with Friendship, Life Care, Appalachia Rescue, Big Stone Gap Rescue, and they all seem to welcome Angel Care with open arms. There was no request for financial support.
When asked for certification, Mr. Kiser said all his certification requirements were up to date.
Chairman Shortt asked that the Board be provided with a letter from Ron Kendricks, verifying that Angel Care Ambulance Services has met all certifications required for operation.
Mr. Kiser noted that he has a meeting scheduled with Mr. Kendricks on Friday morning and a letter will be forthcoming.
IN RE: RESOLUTION SUPPORTING ST. PAUL REVITALIZATION PROJECT
Administrator Skinner reported that Ken Poore with K. W. Poore and Associates is preparing a Community Development Block Grant Application on behalf of the Town of St. Paul for the Downtown Revitalization Project. This project will address blighted conditions, storefront improvements, and upgrades to streets, sidewalks, curb and gutter and other elements of infrastructure. The Building and Zoning Department are also using their expertise with this project.
Supervisor Meador was concerned as to whether or not the term “participation” means monetary.
Administrator Skinner stated that unless they seek a particular dollar amount that would not be the case. Otherwise, “participation” can mean to attend meetings or being on a Project Management Team.
IN RE: EMPLOYEES COST OF LIVING INCREASE
Administrator Skinner stated that during the budget process, the employee “across the board” pay increase is information that is needed to help prepare the budget for the Board’s consideration. The Social Security Administration’s increase is 3.3% and the State is giving its employees 4%.
On another note, Mr. Skinner stated that in the past the health insurance renewal has gone into the double digits increases but this year’s the renewal is 0.7% increase.
IN RE: COMMUNITY POLICY MANAGEMENT BOARD-ADDITIONAL FUNDING
Paul Kuczko, member of the Community Policy Management Board, stated that approximately 19 years ago the State implemented the CSA (Comprehensive Services Act) which required all the agencies, such as Social Services, Health Department, Offices on Youth, etc to come together once a month to review all the children in foster care and to keep the children local if at all possible. He provided statistics on the placement of children in Wise County. The CPM Board is requesting a supplemental allocation for FY 2006-2007 in the amount of $93,733.00 for the purpose of maintaining the current caseload, increase in caseload, and changes in other funding sources.
Debbie Kirk, Financial Director of Wise County Social Services, provided the Board with information on a 5 year study she has completed on the CSA budget that has been received from the State. CSA has emphasized that money is available but it must be requested and a need must be shown for each request. Ms. Kirk noted that any funding not used will be returned to the County at the end of this fiscal year.
Mr. Kuczko gave a brief update on the Dollywood Imagination Library and its outreach to our children.
IN RE: BUDGET AMENDMENT #43
Budget amendment #43 was reviewed as follows: Expenditure (2108) Law Library (503004) Repair and Maintenance - $25,000; (507001)Machinery and Equipment - $18,000; (505401) Miscellaneous Supplies - $2,000.
IN RE: APPOINTMENTS
Appointments were reviewed.
IN RE: TENNESSEE COUNSEL FOR SHERIFF’S SUBPOENAS
Attorney Mullins stated that Wise County Deputy Sheriff Captain Grant Kilgore has been served with a subpoena ducas tecum and a subpoena for deposition by David K. Stanley in his law suit against Jenay Tate, Gerald Gray, Greg Kallen, Jack Kennedy and others. The law firm of Hunter, Smith and Davis has been appointed by the Division of Risk Management to represent Party Defendants, Gray, Kallen and Kennedy. However, neither Captain Kilgore nor the Sheriff’s Department has been named as party defendants and therefore we do not have coverage under Risk Management and must retain our counsel independently.
Since Hunter, Smith and Davis have been appointed; Attorney Mullins recommended that the County retain them independently as needed in regard to Captain Kilgore’s subpoenas. The cost of this attorney will be billed hourly based upon work only in reference to Captain Kilgore. However, due to this firm representing the other parties it will not be necessary to re-educate the attorney as to the Stanley cases or the history of the Stanley matters.
IN RE: ORDINANCE APPROVING WISE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS FY 2007-08 BUDGET BY EXPENDITURE CLASSIFICATION/CATEGORY
Set public hearing (April 5 @ 6:00 p.m. on a proposed Ordinance Approving Wise County Public Schools FY 2007-08 Budget by Expenditure Classification/Category.
Supervisor Peace stated that this Board being a fiscal body responsible for tax payers money, has a duty, if it is aware of places that can be managed better, ways that tax payers money can be saved, to see that it is done. A resolution will be provided for the Board at its next meeting, asking the School System and all government agencies that fall under Wise County to explore PPEA and to take advantage of project management that has a proven track record since 2002 of saving money. Other counties are using this method to save money. By adopting this proposed ordinance, hopefully, it will help everyone to understand exactly where their money is being spent.
IN RE: BUDGET AMENDMENT #44
Budget amendment #44 in the amount of $13,885.00 will allow for payment of the expenses of the Clerk’s Office associated with the Compensation Board funding. There is no local money involved.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Attorney Mullins gave a report on the PPEA and its purpose.
Brief comments were made by Board members.
Supervisor Luntsford asked the County Administrator to prepare a resolution encouraging DMME to move forward with timely reclamation of the Glamorgan Properties surface mine sites located in the Stephens section of Wise County.
There were comments regarding the need to support Pro-Art during its time of need and expressed the asset this organization has been to Wise County.
There being no further business to come before the Board the meeting was adjourned.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Glen A. Skinner, Clerk Ronald Shortt, Chairman