The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following were present:
Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador – Vice-Chair
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable J. H. Rivers – 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 Fred Luntsford
Bob Adkins led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
IN RE: TOURISM AUTHORITY UPDATE
Suzanne Lawson, Chairman of the Wise County Tourism Committee, gave the Board an update on the following:
Ms. Lawson stated that a vision is needed for tourism in this area that has so much to offer in natural resources. There is an opportunity of a life time in tourism with the Coal Heritage Trail and the Crooked Road now in Wise County.
Coal was the cornerstone of the American Industrial Revolution. The industry of the United States of America was built on the backs of Wise County coal miners. Wise County needs to market its resources and reap its benefits through increased revenue, jobs, crafts, and outdoor recreation. Wise County currently lacks infrastructure for tourism and the need for a Tourism Director is crucial at this point in time. She noted that tourism is a regional efforts and grant funding cannot be obtained unless it is regional.
There are hundreds of emails and phone calls asking about tourism. A “Directory of Attractions” to capture visitors already in our hotels and restaurants, website, driving CD’s and brochures is a must.
Ms. Lawson stated that other counties are already implementing these types of marketing tools and Wise County is doing nothing at this time. She congratulated the Board on its foresight in advertising for a Tourism Director which can be a turning point for Wise County in its efforts
to promote our heritage and become a more productive county.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING-CONDITIONAL CHANGE OF ZONING
This public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Chris Strange for a Conditional Change of Zoning on 2.7 acres located at 9935 Bowser Road in Pound for the purpose of building a welding & maintenance shop and for storage of materials for his business.
There being no one to speak, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING-E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITIONS
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding nine (9) proposed E-911 road name additions.
There being no one to speak, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Allen Wells and Earl Hylton, residents of Stonega, addressed the Board with the following complaints regarding the dust in their community:
Residents cannot have any outside activities, such as cook outs
Residents cannot raise a garden
Residents cannot set on the porch
Residents must wear mask when mowing
When following a vehicle cannot see ahead
School children get on dirty buses-can’t keep clothes clean
Health and safety of residents is at stake
Residents cannot open windows or doors
Residents cannot keep inside or outside of house clean
Residents must clean outside of car before driving
Residents can not get in vehicle without getting clothes dirty
Mr. Wells and Mr. Hylton have spoken with some of the coal operations who are willing to work with them on getting the dust problem settled. They are asking the Board to intervene and expedite a solution.
Walter Crouse, Chairman of the Keep Wise County Beautiful Committee, addressed the Board with the following:
Keep roadways free of litter
Use inmate crews for litter pickup
Citizens should support the fair and other County activities
Keeping vehicles in good mechanical condition decreases unnecessary replacements
There being no further public comments the public expression period was closed.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson provided Board members with an update on projects ongoing and those completed throughout the County.
Board members provided Mr. Branson with needs in their district for VDOT review and response.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items were reviewed under the consent agenda:
Set public hearing (July 3, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed amendment to the Service Availability Ordinance #02-2006
Set public hearing (July 3, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed amendment to the Building Code Ordinance #2-1975
Set public hearing (July 3, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on seven (7) E-911 road names additions
Proclamation Honoring Ron Flanary
Resolution of Universal Design in Building Construction (Supervisor Robbins asked that this item be placed under New Business for discussion).
IN RE: MOU- SOIL SURVEY
Jeff Thomas, Soil Scientist for NRCS, explained that the purpose of this soil survey is to provide soil data necessary to judiciously and efficiently appraise and manage land for commercial timber production, mining, general agriculture, residential and for community development. It will also be used to understand, protect, and enhance the environment.
Soil information will be used by: private landowners and managers, engineers, land developers, farmers, foresters, utility companies.
The proposed survey area is located in the southwestern part of Virginia, approximately 360 miles by road west and south of Richmond. It is bounded on the east by Dickenson and Russell Counties, on the south by Scott County, on the southwest by Lee County, and on the north by the State of Kentucky.
NRCS will provide a project leader and necessary staff, base maps, equipment, and supplies. NRCS will also provide leadership for field reviews and controls necessary to meet standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey.
The Cooperating agencies and their responsibilities were reviewed.
The survey is expected to begin in the spring of 2008. A total of five staff years are projected to complete the soil survey. All fieldwork is scheduled for completion on or before year 2011.
The County’s in-kind services for the projected four year period will include:
Use of professional office space (300 sq. ft) where employees can work and store equipment. Provide utilities, use of phone services, parking space and janitorial services
Use of operator and equipment service (backhoe) for up to three days per year
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Resolution –Annual Coal & Gas Severance Tax Road Improvement
Resolution Transportation Network Funding
County Administrator gave an update on the Countywide sewer plan
There were brief comments from Board members.
Supervisor Kilgore asked that the County website be made more user friendly.
Supervisor Rivers noted that he had been approached by the Sheriff asking that the County consider raising the Law Enforcement Retirement package from a 1.7 to a 1.85 due to the nature and danger of their profession. The State Police because of the nature of their work has a higher factor of 1.89. He asked if the County law enforcement personnel could be given the benefit of the 1.85 increase.
Attorney Mullins noted that this would also apply to Wise County and could be done at the Board’s discretion through a modification of the upcoming budget.
Assistant County Administrator Scott stated that the Evaluation Report from the Virginia Retirement System for Wise County does allow for this increase. After consultation with the Sheriff’s Dept. and doing some number crunching, the increase from the 1.7 to a 1.85 is less than $30,000 and could be included in the upcoming budget. Mr. Scott recommended that the Board consider this increase.
There was some discussion on getting the County website set up to list County events as a marketing tool for tourism.
There being no further comments, the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Glen A. Skinner, Clerk Robert R. Adkins, Chairman