Board of Supervisors - November 12, 2009 Regular Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular meeting on Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse.  The following were present:

Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr. – Chairman
Honorable J. H. Rivers – Vice-Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Steve Bates – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Financial Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary

PRAYER

T. G. Branson led in prayer.

PLEDGE

All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

MINUTES

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the minutes as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  AGENDA

The following items were reviewed for addition to the agenda:

Under New Business Add:

  • Authorize Advertisement – Environmental Review – Stephens/Guest River Sewer Project

  • Authorization to process ARRA Funding Agreement – Stephens/Guest River Sewer Project

Supervisor Kilgore asked that the budget amendments be placed under new business for discussion.

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the agenda as follows:

  • Move the budget amendments from the consent agenda to new business for discussion

  • Add the two (2) additions as listed above to new business

The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  ROADS AND HIGHWAYS

Residency Administrator T. G. Branson had no remarks.

There were few comments from Board members.

IN RE:  PUBLIC EXPRESSION

Danny Stallard, a resident of the Hurricane area, urged the Board to commit funding for the schools to allow for the benefit of low cost construction, stimulus money, and low interest rates.  The existing schools are outdated and students are getting behind in the world of technology.  He noted that according to the Davenport presentation at the last meeting, the County would have no problem committing $52M to the schools.

There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.

IN RE:  UVA-WISE UPDATE

Dr. David Prior, UVA-Wise Chancellor, provided the Board with a facts sheet on activities on going at the University and the enrollment status.  He elaborated on the many building projects that are under construction and the sporting events that would take place on campus.  These events will bring people from all around into this area and they will need the benefit of good lodging and eating establishments while they are here.  By creating more activities at the college, more revenue will be brought into the County and promote tourism in this area.

Dr. Prior voiced his appreciation to the Board for its support of the Science/Math Initiative Program. He commented briefly on the importance of this program.

IN RE:  CONSENT AGENDA

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the consent agenda as follows:

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARINGS

Set public hearings for Dec. 3, 2009, @ 6:00 p.m. as follows:

  • On a request for a Special Use Permit for a family cemetery in the Powell River Community on Laurel Grove Road

  • On a request for a Special Use Permit for a family cemetery in the South Mountain Community of Pound

  • On a proposed amendment to the existing Enterprise Zone

  • On E-911 road name additions

IN RE:  NACO PRESCRIPTION DISCOUNT CARD PROGRAM

Authorized the Chairman to sign the contract with NACo which will allow citizens to participate in the Prescription Drug Card Program.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION – COAL RELATED PERMITS

Ratified the resolution on nationwide coal related permits

RESOLUTION #                    2009

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  RESOLUTION – EXPENDITURES FOR LANDFILL EXPANSION

Adopted the resolution which declares the intent of Wise County to be reimbursed on its expenditures toward the Phase IV expansion of the Wise County landfill.

RESOLUTION #                 2009

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

The motion to approve the consent agenda excluding the budget amendments was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  WISE INN

Supervisors Meador stated that she would like to see some money that is intended for the Wise Inn to go toward Big Stone Gap 101 Car since it is a tourist attraction.

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by Bob Adkins, to allocated $125,000 toward the Wise Inn Project.

Supervisor Kilgore brought to the Board’s attention the projects that have been proposed by Mr. Cox to be taken from the transient occupancy fund.  Since money is added to this on a regular basis, there should be funds available for 101 Car in Big Stone Gap.  She asked that they make a request for funding stating their need. 

Ms. Kilgore ask for a friendly amendment to Mr. Bates motion to include the VDOT Enhancement Programs for $75,000, the Tourism Center for the Wise Inn $100,000, the Marketing/Advertising of Wise County $25,000 as proposed by Mr. Cox.
 
She explained that the Tourism Center will benefit all of Wise County not just the Town of Wise.  This center will be designed to be a one stop shop for visitors coming to the County to evaluate all Wise County tourism venues.  The marketing and advertising monies would be used to market Wise County for the County as a whole in conjunction with Wise marketing endeavors.

Supervisors Bates said allocating the $125,000 to the Wise Inn Project will show the people in Richmond that the County is on board with the Wise Inn and this will in turn get other money from other funding agencies that are needed to proceed with this project.  He would accept Ms. Kilgore’s friendly amendment to his motion.

Attorney Mullins noted that these funds could not be used toward the construction of the Wise Inn but designated for a Tourism Center located within the Wise Inn once completed.  The two (2) VDOT Enhancement Programs require a 20%  match of which a portion could possibly be in-kind.

Financial Administrator Cox stated that these funds, if approved by the Board, would be put into a reserve fund until such time that all requirements have been met for these projects.

There was a lengthy discussion on other possible tourism projects that these monies could be used for.

Supervisor Rivers made a substitute motion that the Board allocate, from the transient occupancy fund, $50,000 for the VDOT Enhancement Programs, $100,000 for the Wise County Tourism Center, $25,000 for the marketing and advertising for Wise County, and $25,000 for the 101 Car in Big Stone Gap.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.

Supervisors Kilgore asked for a friendly amendment to the motion that would require invoices on these projects be sent to Mr. Cox at which time he will make sure the invoices qualify and are appropriate for that project.

Mr. Rivers and Mr. Luntsford accepted the amendment.

Chairman Robbins spoke briefly on spreading these funds into the different districts for projects that would enhance the County’s efforts to promote tourism.

Supervisor Shortt asked the time frame for knowing the amount of in-kind contribution on the VDOT projects.

Attorney Mullins stated that some exact numbers should be forthcoming within sixty days. 

Due to the unknowns and unanswered questions, Supervisor Shortt asked for a sixty day delay in making any commitments to these projects.

Supervisor Rivers stated that he felt it was time for the Board to step up to the plate and show a commitment to the Wise Inn.  These transient occupancy funds are not taxpayers’ money but money from tourists visiting our area.  This will show the Board’s commitment to other funding agencies that the Board is supporting the Inn project.

Supervisor Kilgore said she would ask that a request be made to the Board from the 101 Car, stating how the $25,000 will be used.

Supervisor Rivers withdrew his substitute motion and Supervisor Luntsford withdrew his second.

The vote on the main motion made by Supervisor Bates with a friendly amendment from Supervisor Kilgore is as follows:

Aye-    J. H. Rivers                  Nay – Virginia Meador
            Steve Bates
            Ronnie Shortt
            Dana Kilgore
            Bob Adkins
            Robby Robbins
            Fred Luntsford

Motion carried   

A motion was made by Chairman Robbins that beginning with next year’s budget cycle that $4,000 be made available to each town that sends in a request to Mr. Cox for a certain amount to be used specifically for qualifying tourism projects.

There being no second the motion failed.


IN RE:  DEBT MANAGEMENT PLAN

Supervisor Rivers stated that based on the Davenport  report last week; there were six different scenarios that could be approved without any change in the tax base.  He asked Mr. Cox if the Debt management Policy allows for all six of those scenarios, the County’s current indebtness, $12,000,000 for courthouse renovations, $12.1M. for capital improvement projects, and Davenport also mentioned a capital reserve fund which in five years should accumulate approximately $10M according to the Davenport report.

Mr. Cox said there are some pluses and minuses in comparison, but overall they do.

Board members compared and discussed the Davenport Report that was presented last week to the report presented by Financial Administrator David Cox.  Both reports were very conservative.

Mr. Cox stated that in his conservative numbers he felt the County could allocate $50M to the schools with no tax increase and funds remaining for other CIP projects.

Supervisor Kilgore noted that the current policy was adopted in 2002 and is now outdated and needs to be changed.

Supervisor Rivers reiterated his position that the County must move now to take advantage of the low construction cost and low interest rates.  Waiting will only bring more indebtness.

Chairman Robbins thought it unwise to change the debt policy on future revenue from Dominion when the power plant is not scheduled to come on line until 2012.  He further mentioned the uncertainty of the coal industry at this point in time.

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to change the Debt Management Policy as follows:

  • Net per capita debt should remain under $2,000

  • Net debt as a percentage of assessed value should not exceed 2.5%

  • Debt service expenditures as a percentage of governmental fund expenditures should not exceed 10%

  • The affordability index, consisting of a weighted average (50% each) of the two ratios (1 & 2) shall be updated annually

Aye-    Steve Bates                  Nay-    Ronnie Shortt
            Virginia Meador                       Fred Luntsford
            J. H. Rivers                              Robby Robbins
            Dana Kilgore
            Bob Adkins

Motion carried.

Chairman Robbins showed pictures of an Appalachia School of Pharmacy that was placed in a renovated building for $3M.  He felt the schools could be renovated for $18M.
 
IN RE:  SCHOOL SYSTEM FINANCING

Supervisor Kilgore and Supervisor J. H. Rivers, based on the Davenport Report, which was very conservative, felt that the County could afford to allocate $52M to the schools holding the $9M in reserve.

There was a lengthy discussion about the County’s ability to carry further debt, the school consolidation problems, and the uncertainty of future tax revenue.

After further discussion, a motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by Robby Robbins, to allocate $42M to the School Board and keep the $9M in reserve.

J. H. Rivers stated that based on the figures presented by Financial Administrator Cox and  Davenport & Company, he made a substitute motion to allocate $52M.  Dana Kilgore seconded the motion.

Aye-    J. H. Rivers                  Nay-    Fred Luntsford
            Dana Kilgore                           Virginia Meador
            Steve Bates                              Robby Robbins
            Bob Adkins                             Ronnie Shortt

Motion failed

The vote on the main motion is as follows:

Aye-    Virginia Meador                       Nay-    Fred Luntsford
            Robby Robbins                                                Ronnie Shortt
            Bob Adkins
            Steve Bates
            J. H. Rivers
            Dana Kilgore

Motion carried.

RECESS

A brief recess was taken at 8:20 p.m.
The meeting reconvened at 8:35 p.m.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION MATH/SCIENCE INITIATIVE FUND

Supervisor Kilgore asked that this resolution be re-written.  She asked that a committee be appointed to include Financial Administrator Cox for the purpose of providing the Board with a report on the schools  dual enrollment in the math/science initiative and what steps the school administration would recommend that the Board of Supervisors do to improve this initiative.  There are many unanswered questions that need to be answered to make this effort more wide spread to help more students. 

There was some discussion on the amount of funding to be placed in the budget each year for this fund.

Mr. Cox said this would not be an enterprise fund but could be treated as a special revenue trust fund that could be carried on year to year.

Supervisor Shortt noted that the intent is to have an amount of $40,000 placed in this fund beginning July 1 of each year and at the end of the physical year that amount be replenished up to $40,000.  He asked that pre-calculus class be covered also.
Supervisor Kilgore suggested that since this money is not needed until January to table this until the December meeting at which time a report would be forthcoming from the Committee with information on the needs.

After further discussion, a motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the $40,000, and let the committee meet, discuss, and evaluate the need with a report being brought to the Board in December.  Steve Bates seconded the motion.

Supervisor Kilgore made a substitute motion to form a committee and not allocate any money until December.  J. H. Rivers seconded the motion.

Aye-    Dana Kilgore               Nay-    Virginia Meador
            J. H. Rivers                              Bob Adkins
                                                            Robby Robbins
                                                            Ronnie Shortt
                                                            Steve Bates
                                                            Fred Luntsford
Motion failed.

The vote on the main motion:

Aye-    Virginia Meador                       Nay-    Dana Kilgore
            Bob Adkins
            Robby Robbins
            Ronnie Shortt
            Steve Bates
            Fred  Luntsford
            J. H. Rivers
 
IN RE:  COMMITTEE FOR MATH/SCIENCE INITIATIVE

Chairman Robbins appointed the following individuals to serve on the committee

  • David Cox

  • Steve Bates

  • Ron Vicars, School Board

  • One person from MECC

  • One person from UVA-Wise

IN RE:  MATH/SCIENCE INITIATIVE

Supervisor Rivers made a motion to approve the $40,000 as suggested, and the Board annually review the appropriate amount to budget for the math/science initiative each year to include the pre-calculus class and to further dismantle the committee as made in the previous motion. Steve Bates seconded the motion.

Aye-    J. H. Rivers                  Nay-    Virginia Meador
            Robby Robbins                                    Dana Kilgore
            Steve Bates
            Bob Adkins
            Fred Luntsford
            Ronnie Shortt

IN RE:  RESOLUTION – IEC FUSION PROGRAM

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the resolution requesting the appropriate Dominion Resources officials to review with the County the possibilities of federal US Department of Energy ARPA-E and US Department of Defense DARPA assistance in building the proposed IEC technologies.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #                     2009

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  ELEVATOR CONTRACT

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Bob Adkins, to authorize the execution of a temporary elevator service contract with Union Elevator Services, Inc.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  BUDGET AMENDMENTS #4 THRU #9

#5        Two Grants-Library of Virginia                                                           $9,195.50

  • Clerk of Circuit Court                                                                         

#6        Transfer from Budgeted Discretionary Funds                                      $10,000.00

  • Investment – Reg. Agricultural Center

#7        Grant – Virginia Art Fund                                                                 $  5,000.00

  • Discretionary Funds-Art Organizations – Wise County

#8        Unrestricted Fund Balance                                                              $40,000.00

  • Transfer to a Math/Science Initiative Fund

#9        Grant – Office of Emergency Medical Services                                  $47,450.00

  • Emergency Services (Civil Defense) (13) Tough book computers

For use for Wise County Rescue & Fire Departments

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to approve the budget amendments as presented. 

Aye-    Virginia Meador           Nay-  Dana Kilgore
            Bob Adkins
            J. H. Rivers
            Ronnie Shortt
            Fred Luntsford
            Robby Robbins
            Steve Bates

Motion carried.
Notation: Supervisor Kilgore was in favor of all budget amendments except #8:  the transfer of    
                 $40,000 to a Math/Science Initiative Fund.

IN RE:  STEPHENS/GUEST RIVER SEWER PROJECT

Administrator Scott explained that this advertisement is a requirement under DEQ if the County is to proceed with the sewer project at Esserville.  This gives the public an opportunity to speak on the environmental impact of this project.

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to authorize the advertisement for the Environmental Review for the Stephens/Guest River Sewer Project.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  ARRA FUNDING AGREEMENT – STEPHEN’S/GUEST RIVER SEWER PROJECT

Administrator Scott provided the Board with a copy of the boiler plate ARRA Funding Agreement for the Stephens/Guest River Interceptor between the VRA (Virginia Resources Authority) and Wise County for possible funding of the amount of overrun on the cost associated with the construction bid for this project and grant funds that were provided.  The project bid came in approximately $970,000 over the engineers estimate.  This would mean that Wise County could process with VRA a 0% interest loan for 20 years.  This method of paying for this bid overrun and engineering design cost is recommended by both Wayne Watts and Bill Skeens.  The other option is possible use of coal severance funds for which there could be a demand from other sources for water and sewer.  DEQ has asked for an answer by 11-23-09 on this agreement.

Wayne Watts, Waste Water Consultant, explained to the Board that this is ARRA Funding at 0% interest which will come to the County.  This agreement must be approved by the County in order to get the remaining funds. 

Attorney Mullins stated that this was received by the County late Monday afternoon and she has not had time to talk with DEQ.  After briefly reviewing the agreement, there are a few things that need to be confirmed, verified and/or possibly modified but not any thing that would change the obligations of the County or the substance of the agreement.  The County is responsible for the project even if the responsibilities are passed on to the PSA until the project is satisfied.
 
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Bob Adkins, to authorize the County Administrator to process the ARRA Funding Agreement for the Stephens/Guest River Sewer Project.

Aye-    Fred Luntsford      Virginia Meador did not vote due to lack of information on the project        
             Steve Bates                
            Dana Kilgore
            Ronnie Shortt
            Bob Adkins
            Robby Robbins
            J. H. Rivers

Motion carried

IN RE:  CLOSED SESSION

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to go into closed session per the following Code sections as permitted by the Code of Virginia:

  • Section 2.2-3711(A)(1)  Personnel

  • Section 2.2-3711(A)(6) Investing of Public Funds

The motion was unanimously approved.

After a lengthy closed session, a motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to reconvene the regular meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION – CLOSED SESSION

Secretary Underwood read the certification for closed meeting.

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to approve the resolution verifying matters discussed while in closed session.  The motion was unanimously approved by roll call vote.

RESOLUTION #                        2009

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  RECESS MEETING/SET DATE

It was the consensus of the Board to recess this meeting until Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 4:00 p.m.

BOARD COMMENTS

There were few comments from Board members.

RECESS

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to recess this meeting until 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 3, 2009.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ATTEST:                                             WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

________________________________        _______________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                                   Robert E. Robbins, Jr., Chairman

 

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