The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following were present:
Honorable J. H. Rivers – Vice-Chairman
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Finance Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr. – Chairman
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Steve Bates
Shannon Scott led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
The following item was noted for addition to the agenda:
Diane R. Abbott’s term on the Social Services Board expired April 30, 2009 (Dist 3). This expired term is to be considered under appointments at the May 14, 2009 Board meeting.
IN RE: SCHOOL BOARD BUDGET – FY 2009-10
Ron Vicars, Director of Finance for the School Board, reviewed the FY 2009-10 school budget totaling $80,691,000 by line item. Fifty percent of these funds come from the State, 15% from Federal funds, 7% from State sales tax, 19.28% from the Wise County Board of Supervisors, and 7.6% from grants and flow thru amounts.
There has been a 6.8% increase in health insurance rates of which several of these increases have been passed on to the employee. There is a one-time stipend for employees to help off-set some of the increases with the health insurance; $500.00 for professional and $250.00 for support staff.
The School Board is proposing to do a Retirement Incentive Package for a cost of $464,600 with the temporary source of revenue from the stimulus package. The intent of this package is to reduce future operations expenses, which has been receiving some favorable response.
IN RE: IDA UPDATE ON ACTIVITIES
Kenny Gilley, Chairman of the IDA, and Carl Snodgrass, Projects Coordinator provided the Board with an update on the activities of the IDA and the progress that is being made in Wise County to promote tourism.
Chairman Gilley reported that the IDA believes that support for water, sewer and broadband are the next steps that need to be taken to continue the progress of Wise County. A current need in the County is another reservoir for water that can be drawn upon in times of drought. Additional, the County could use a lake for recreation and residential housing. The IDA intends to work with the mining companies and the regulators to build another lake on a surface mine in the future. The IDA is continuing to meet the challenges for economic growth in Wise County with the intent to create more jobs and make our County a better place to live.
Mr. Snodgrass stated that so much of the IDA’s activities are of a confidential nature and cannot be discussed openly. However, he explained that the IDA is currently working on three unnamed projects. Those unnamed projects consist of a company that manufactures solar panels, a high security data center, and a software development call center. Also, three local businesses are being assisted in expanding.
Another tool to help recruit and retain businesses is the Wise Inn. This facility could accommodate business prospects that now spend their tax dollars at the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon or in Kingsport. The Inn could be leased to another hotel owner or developer. The intent is to make the Wise Inn reflect the life style of Southwest Virginia. The developer would be encouraged to use Southwest Virginia produce, beef, pork and chicken. Also, use products and services of Southwest Virginia.
Mr. Snodgrass gave a status report on the following IDA projects that are ongoing or have been completed:
- Wise Inn Project
- School of Dentistry
- Fairgrounds Sewer Project
- Permanent location for the Health Wagon
- PACE Center for the elderly
- Solar Paneling
- Coal Research Center
- Agricultural Center
- Sewer Line extension for Town of Pound
- Expansion of three local businesses
- Wind Energy Project
IN RE: DOMINION’S VIRGINIA CITY HYBRID ENERGY CENTER UPDATE
Mark Mitchell, Director of Fossil and Hydro Projects for Dominion Resources, provided the Board with an update on the status of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center. The construction cost for the Energy Center is approximately $1.8 million. Underground work is ongoing and steel structures will soon be put in place. Already in place is the 485 foot emissions stack and most all permits have been secured.
At the present time, there are approximately 600 workers on site. Within a year that number is expected to increase to 1,500. The Shaw Group that has been hired by Dominion Energy is working with MECC to provide specialized training for power plant workers to make ready local workers to prepare them for these jobs.
Regarding the landfill for the power plant, it will be lined and closely monitored. The ash will not be wet, only enough water to control dust and make the ash bind, which will set like concrete in the landfill.
Mr. Mitchell spoke briefly on a wind energy project that is being considered for Wise County. Several sites have been looked at but more studies have to be made to determine the number of turbines to be used. If this project becomes a reality, it could generate up to $600,000 in tax revenue for Wise County in the first year of operation. However, that amount would probably decrease over time.
Board members voiced their appreciation to Dominion Energy for its role in community events, donations that have been given, and for being a “good corporate neighbor.”
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – ORDINANCE ASSESSMENT FEE FOR COURTHOUSE CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATION
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a proposed ordinance on an assessment fee for the courthouse construction/renovation.
There being no public comments on the proposed ordinance, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – SIX YEAR PLAN & SECONDARY SYSTEM CONSTRUCTION BUDGET FOR FY 2009-10
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive public comment on the proposed Secondary Six-Year Plan for FY 2009-10 through 2014-15 and on the Secondary System Construction Budget for FY 2009-10.
There being no public comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Attorney Mullins explained that the Wise County Sheriff’s Office is applying for a Justice Assistance Grant for the Rural Curriculum and Firearms Range Enhancement Initiative. One of the requirements for this grant is that the public have an opportunity to speak regarding this application. Therefore, it has been placed under public expression to allow anyone wishing to speak if they so desire.
Appalachia Mayor John Tull advised the Board that it is the consensus of the Appalachia Council to explore the possibility of boundary adjustment due to the services that Appalachia provides in utilities and public safety. This being a joint venture between the Town of Appalachia and the County, Council is requesting to be placed on the Board’s agenda to explore the possibility of such an endeavor.
Vice-Chair Rivers asked the County Administrator to take this request under advisement as a future agenda item.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson voiced his appreciation to those responsible for making the dedication of the Daniel Webster Bridge in Pound a success.
The resolution on the Six Year Plan was reviewed.
The resolution on “Watch for Children” signs on Rt. 1006 was reviewed.
Board members provided 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 (June 4, 2009 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request from the Wise County IDA to rezone 23.489 acres adjacent to the Lonesome Pine Airport & the Lonesome Pine Regional Business & Technology Park
- Set public hearing (June 4, 2009 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request from Maggard Leasing to rezone 24 acre tract of land located at the intersection of US 23 & South Fork Road
- Treasurer’s request to close bank accounts
- Proclamation – American Cancer Society Relay for Life
- Resolution Honoring Shelcy Mullins, Sr.
- Resolution Commending the Achievement for Andrew Russell Mullins
- Budget Amendments #45 thru #48
IN RE: GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE BUYOUT
Vice-Chair Rivers stated that the funding for the group health insurance has been incorporated in this year’s budget. Therefore, he asked that this item be removed from the agenda.
IN RE: COYOTE CONTROL ORDINANCE
Attorney Mullins explained that several requests have been made regarding the need for an ordinance to control the growth of coyotes in Wise County. An ordinance can be prepared for Board review at its next meeting with an attachment of a questionnaire that would be filled out by the person claiming a bounty for killing the coyote(s).
After discussion, Vice-Chair Rivers asked that a draft ordinance be presented to the Board for its review and consideration.
- Coal Severance Tax receipts
- Authorize Advertisement of RFP – Engineering Design for Health Dept. HVAC
- Resolution Amendment to Employee Personnel Policy
- Finance Administrator’s Report
- County Attorney’s Report
- County Administrator’s Report
- Board Comments
There being no further comments, the meeting adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk Robert E. Robbins, Jr., Chairman