The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following were present:
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt – Chairman
Honorable Steve Bates – Vice-Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable John W. Peace II
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
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 Leland Branham
T. G. Branson led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
IN RE: JUVENILE DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT RENOVATIONS
Judge Elizabeth Wills addressed the Board with a request for minor renovations in her office on first floor. She explained that confidential files are now in the hallway that should be in a separate room under lock and key. Extra space for the files is a major need. Also, a private restroom is needed. Having to share the same restroom that is used by the public that stands before her in court creates another safety issue. Judge Wills pointed out the large panel windows that could be removed and replaced by a solid wall. Make these simple renovations would solve some of these issues and would alleviate the court personnel having to walk through the public.
Assistant County Administrator Scott informed the Board that the cost estimates for making the proposed renovations, by using the in-house staff, would be between $18,500.00 - $20,000.00.
Another issue is security. When the Sheriff’s Department moved into the building behind the courthouse, immediate security was no longer available. This poses a safety problem for the judge as well as those in the courtroom. She noted that General District Court has a security detector that is not being used and it would be appreciated if that device could be placed in the Juvenile courtroom.
Two bailiffs from the Sheriff’s Department provide courtroom security, but spend a lot of time tracking down lawyers, inmates and other people that are needed for cases. This leaves the courtroom without security during disputes and other issues that arise on a daily basis.
There was some discussion on the possibility of getting more personnel to offset the safety issues.
Judge Wills stated that the Sheriff’s Department and all the judges have been totally together on the need for additional personnel to help with the courts. To date, this has been unsuccessful because additional personnel must be approved by the Compensation Board.
Supervisor Meador suggested having the Board write a letter to the Compensation Board encouraging additional personnel for the courts.
Chairman Shortt directed the County Administrator to ascertain whether or not funds could be secured from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist with the proposed improvements.
IN RE: BRAIN INJURY SERVICES OF SWVA
Helen Butler, Executive Director of Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia and Tracie Hall, Case Manager, came before the Board with a brief overview of the Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia. This service is provided to help survivors and families by providing long term assistance in the communities where they live, work and play. The survivor’s strengths are assessed, and assistance is given in setting personal goals. Then the survivor is connected to resources to help realize their goal.
Many brain injury survivors can regain a sense of independence and self-sufficiency, regardless of the degree of injury, or whether it happened recently or long ago. Coordinating supportive services can empower survivors and families to again become involved in their communities as they return home, to school, to work, and to life.
Ms. Butler asked that Brain Injury Services of SWVA be considered in the County’s upcoming FY 2007-2008 budget in the amount of $4,000.00. She noted that last year they received $23,000.00 from the different localities that they served.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE – WISE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL FY 2007-2008 BUDGET BY EXPENDITURE CLASSIFICATION/CATEGORY
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ input regarding a propose ordinance approving Wise County Public Schools FY 2007-2008 Budget by Expenditure Classification/Category.
Ron Vicars, Director of Finance for Wise County Public Schools, advised the Board that he, Dr. Killough, Attorney Mullins and Administrator Skinner recently met with a lot of information being transferred between the two boards.
Mr. Vicars thanked the Board for its past funding to Wise County schools and because of the partnership between the two boards, a level of funding that is required has been kept to give the best possible education to our children. This funding has provided increased teacher salaries, staffing for 17 different campuses, technology equipment, instructional materials, facility improvements, bus replacement and special education resources for those children with special needs. Being in partnership with the Board of Supervisors has given students a measure of success in school accreditation and SOL Scores. For the past three (3) years the School Board budget has been under categorical funding which requires an approval from the Board of Supervisors before funds can be transferred between categorical lines. After the School Board has approved its current budget, it proposes the creation of a budget committee with the school administration, County Administrator’s Office and two members of the Board of Supervisors to go over the details of the budget and meet any of the concerns that the Board may have. With this committee, it is believed that more information can be shared than with the proposed ordinance.
Marlene Bush, a resident of Exeter, was concerned that the proposed ordinance that is on the table for adoption may be a means of withholding funds from the school system.
Attorney Mullins advised that the proposed ordinance has nothing to do with withholding funds from the school system but provides more detailed financial information from the school system.
Ms. Bush asked that the Board continue to fund the schools and not hold the money as ransom from the students’ education.
There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Bonnie Aker, representing the Wise Business Association, thanked the Board for its continued support of the Fall Fling that is held in downtown Wise each year. She noted that the annual Fall Fling is sponsored by the Wise Business Association. It showcases the local and regional craftsman, musicians and brings together the business community, schools, clubs, civic organizations and churches to create a wonderful sense of community pride that is invaluable to the town and County.
Sister Beth Jaspers, representing the Advocate Center, addressed the Board with an overview of the services that the Advocate Center provides to the residents of Wise County. The Center serves families who are struggling to provide basics for their children and themselves. Areas with the most frequent requests include prescription help for uninsured individuals; transportation needs for medical appointments or employment needs, school supplies, college expenses and utilities. Sister Beth asked that the Advocate Center be placed in the County’s FY 2007-2008 budget in the amount of $2,000.
Marlene Bush, a resident of Appalachia, addressed the Board regarding the six high schools. She stated that the School Board voted unanimously for a plan to renovate the high schools and that consolidation is not on the School Board’s table. She asked why tax payers have to pay for Supervisor Adkins and Administrator Skinner to go to Letcher County, KY to visit a consolidated school. Getting signatures for a referendum to let the people decide whether or not consolidation is for the high schools, may be the answer to consolidation or renovation.
Larry Bush, a resident of Appalachia, voiced his opposition to consolidation which in his opinion should not be an issue. Renovation of the high schools should be the only topic on the table. He praised the School Board for its stand on the school issue. He said the citizens are not asking for anything extravagant, just a basic education for the children. If other schools want to close and consolidate that is fine, but Appalachia wants to keep its own school. Mr. Bush asked that it be put to a vote by the people.
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson informed the Board that Business Route 23 at Kent Junction has been closed in order for transportation engineers to evaluate the condition of the bridge after a 4-foot hole formed in the bridge deck on Wednesday night. The structure, which is undergoing maintenance re-construction, had already been restricted to one-lane. VDOT believes the additional traffic on the single lane contributed to the deck damage.
Board members expressed the importance of the connector road to the Tech Park and urged Mr. Branson to put forth every effort to get the Innovation Highway in the Six Year Plan. It was suggested that the Cooper Center be asked to compile data to help support this project.
Mr. Branson stated that VDOT is in the process of working this out, however, a quick Environmental Review to make sure there are no “show stoppers” or any other hindrances could expedite the process. Route 757 has been added to the Six Year Secondary Construction Program which will continue to accumulate funding to do some preliminary engineering work.
Board members provided Mr. Branson with needs in their districts for review by VDOT.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Resolution “Watch for Children” signs (John’s Road)
Resolution “Watch for Children” signs (Old Mill Village Road)
Proclamation Honoring Our Rescue and Fire Volunteers
Proclamation Honoring Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Proclamation Designating April 22 as “Earth Day”
Appropriations – 4th Quarter
Set public hearing (6:00 PM –May 3) on a proposed Change of Zoning
Set public hearing (6:00 PM – May 3) on a proposed Conditional Change of Use
Set public hearing (6:00 PM – May 3) on a proposed amendment to modify and/or clarify Wise County Ordinance #2-1988
Set public hearing (6:00 PM – May 3) on an application by Dominion
Resolution – Economic Impact Study
Authorize County Administrator to select an Audit RFP Review Committee
Authorize County Administrator to Select a Solid Waste/Landfill/Coal Evaluation Committee
Budget amendments #49 thru #51
IN RE: RESOLUTION REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY PLAN
Administrator Skinner stated that the LENOWISCO PDC is currently completing Phase 1 of a LENOWISCO Regional Water Supply Plan that is being prepared to help our locality comply with the State law which requires each locality to have a Water Supply Plan. LENOWISCO plans on applying to DEQ on May 18 for additional funding to complete Phase 2; however, DEQ is requiring each locality to adopt a resolution stating the County will participate in this Plan.
IN RE: RESOLUTION OF COMPLIANCE – NAPOLEON HILL ENTERPRISE
The Board was provided several policies required by the DHCD which must be approved prior to receiving funds for the Napoleon Hill Enterprise Project. DHCD has awarded Wise County, jointly with the City of Norton, an Innovation Grant for a micro enterprise loan fund for $200,000. This project will be used to support local and start-up businesses within the service area and managed by Community Development Financing, Inc., a subsidiary of People, Inc.
The proposed resolution incorporates all the necessary requirements of DHCD.
IN RE: PERPETUAL TRAIL AND RECREATIONAL EASEMENT
This Trail Easement is a section of the trail previously referred to as the Sugarloop Trail. Several years ago the Board approved the terms and agreements in this easement. These terms and agreements are the same as on the other sections that the County has already accepted and for the obligation of maintenance along the course of the hiking trail. There was a dispute within the heir ship regarding this particular section of the trail and the case has lingered on for nearly six years and finally came to a conclusion last week. This easement now concludes the approval process.
IN RE: COST ALLOCATION PLAN
Wise County participates in the completion of a “Cost Allocation Plan” which distributes central service overhead in a fashion to allow the County to recover costs associated with the Department of Social Services. The plan reviews those administrative costs that provide services to other governmental departments such as legal, County Administrator, Treasurer, etc. Maximus, Inc. has been engaged to provide this service.
IN RE: ANGEL CARE AMBULANCE SERVICES
The County has received several letters from local EMS providers indicating their desire NOT to participate in any type of Mutual Aid Agreement with Angel Care Ambulance Services.
IN RE: PUMP AND HAUL – VIRGINIA ADAMS
Attorney Mullins stated that she had spoken with Ms. Adams advising her that the recommendation from the County Administrator is to deny her request for the pump and haul as submitted. However, Ms. Adams asked if the Board would consider a “temporary” permit for 12 to 24 months which would give her an opportunity to live on this property and ascertain whether or not she wants to live there permanently and invest in the cost of a packaged treatment plant.
Supervisor Peace questioned the feasibility of placing an alternative septic system on this property. He asked Attorney Mullins to contact the Health Department and ask that they provide information as to whether or not the property is a candidate for any type of treatment plant.
Administrator Skinner spoke briefly on the Dominion Project.
Supervisor Meador voiced her concerns regarding additions being made to the agenda at the Regular meeting. The last minute additions did not give the Board any time to study the requests and sometimes regretful decisions are made. Unless it is an emergency situation, she asked that such items be placed on the next month’s agenda.
There was some discussion on the trip to Whitesburg, KY to visit the recently built high school consolidated facility.
Supervisor Robbins asked Administrator Skinner to provide the Board with the amount of funding available for school renovations without implementing a tax increase.
Supervisor Bates stated that he has recently been made aware that some residents living in the lower section of Birchfield have no water. He asked that PSA be contacted to do a review of that area for an extension of the existing lines to those residents.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Glen A. Skinner, Clerk Ronald L. Shortt, Chairman