The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular meeting on Thursday, March 11, 2010 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 – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
Honorable Robert R. Adkins – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Financial Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Dana Kilgore – Vice-Chair
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
T. G. Branson led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
IN RE: MINUTES
Chairman Rivers noted that the votes on the substitution motion to table any action on Resolution –SB564 for further information was incorrect. He asked that the votes be reviewed and corrected.
A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was unanimously approved.
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the agenda as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.
ROADS & HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson informed the Board that there is no funding available to make any changes in the Secondary Construction Plan, therefore, no public hearing will be necessary for this year.
He noted that brush removal from the highway R-O-W’s should begin by April 1.
Betty Bolling, representing the Lonesome Pine Regional Library Board, addressed the Board regarding a grant that has been awarded to the Lonesome Pine Regional Library to sponsor a region-wide community read of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”.
The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest, designed to restore reading to the Center of American Culture. The Big Read brings together partners across the County to encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment and provides citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their community.
Mark Twain’s classic novel, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is the 2010 selection because its timeless story appeals to young and old.
The Big Read will be celebrated March 25, 2010 – May 15, 2010.
Ms. Bolling asked that the Board adopt a resolution in support of “The Big Read” in Wise County.
Chairman Rivers directed the County Administrator to place this item on the April agenda.
Harold Greear voiced his opposition to the proposed plans for two schools on one site. He also spoke briefly on use of the old school buildings once they are vacant. He further noted that any bond money that is approved by this Board should be put on a referendum for a vote from the citizens as to whether or not they want one or two schools
Walter Crouse, a resident of the Hurricane area, voiced his concern on $42M not being enough to build the schools as planned. He spoke of some discrepancies in information that he has seen in the proposed school plans and related costs. He believes that regional is the way to go.
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed at 6:23 p.m.
IN RE: LITTER CONTROL
Charles Nelson, Chairman of Keep Wise County Beautiful, addressed the Board regarding Litter Control’s 30th Anniversary to be held April 24, 2010 at the Wise County Fairground from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A picnic has been schedule for this event for a cost of approximately $4,500. Mr. Nelson asked the Board’s assistance in meeting this expense. He also invited the Board to attend if their schedule would allow.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
A motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the consent agenda as follows:
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARINGS
Set public hearing (April 1, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance authorizing the off-duty employment of the Wise County Sheriff’s Deputies
Set public hearing (April 1, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance imposing financial liability for persons convicted of certain motor vehicle offenses
IN RE: BUDGET AMENDMENTS #16 - #20
#16 CDBG Grant Funds—(Pass through Funds) --$32,955.00
#17 Wise County Safe Roads Initiative – DMV----$12,400.00
(Funds not included in FY 10 Revenue Budget)
#18 Unrestricted Fund Balance—Vehicle & Power Equipment Supplies---$1,500.00
#19 Machinery & equip. (Cargo cover for Animal Control Vehicle—Mandated)--$1,182.44
#20 Telecommunications (Emergency replacement of phone system at Extension Office)
(Lower of two estimates)----$3,600.00
IN RE: RESOLUTION SETTING PROPERTY TAX RATES
Approved resolution setting property tax rates for FY 2010/2011
RESOLUTION # 2010
(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)
IN RE: TREASURER – BANK ACCOUNTS
Authorized the Treasurer to open bank accounts for Stephens/Guest River Interceptor Project and Stephens/Guest River Interceptor Project – Retainage Account
The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.
IN RE: CIP – FIVE (5) YEAR
Finance Administrator David Cox provided the Board with a draft of the proposed Five Year CIP Plan and asked Board members to review the plan for any changes, deletions or additions.
IN RE: RIVERVIEW SEWER TRANSFER
Attorney Mullins gave the Board an update on the Riverview Sewer Transfer stating that Attorney Phillips is in Richmond and has not had the opportunity to review the last update on the proposed Transfer Agreement. However, she has met with PSA Director Danny Buchanan and Wayne Watts and they are reviewing the agreement also.
IN RE: SPECIAL USE PERMIT – CEMETERY –William Kelly Stidham
A public hearing was held on March 4, 2010 to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from William Kelly Stidham for a Special Use Permit for a private/family cemetery to be located on the ridge off Orby Cantrell Highway in Big Stone Gap at the Wise County/Lee County line.
A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the Special Use Permit for a private/family cemetery as requested. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: LANDFILL ENGINEERING UPDATE
Administrator Scott noted that the letter from Bill King explains that DEQ has granted Wise County’s Temporary Authorization Request for the installation of the Phase IVA landfill expansion.
IN RE: RESOLUTION – APPALACHIA AMERICA ENERGY CENTER
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the resolution supporting the Appalachia America Energy Center. The motion was unanimously approved.
RESOLUTION # 2010
(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)
IN RE: MOU – POWELL RIVER TRAIL PROJECT
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the MOU between the Wise County Board of Supervisors, Wise County IDA, LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, Town of Appalachia and the Town of Big Stone Gap. The purpose of the MOU is to promote a Powell River Trail Project. The motion was unanimously approved.
(Said MOU is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)
IN RE: APPOINTMENT –LONESOME PINE YOUTH SERVICES BOARD
Bob Adkins nominated Nathan Owens to serve on the Lonesome Pine Youth Services Board.
Virginia Meador made a motion that nominations cease. The motion was unanimously approved.
Nathan Owens was appointed to the Lonesome Pine Youth Services Board for a term of one year by acclamation.
IN RE: CLOSED SESSION
Due to the absence of two Board members it was the consensus of the Board to table closed session until the recessed meeting which will be set at the end of this meeting.
Chairman Rivers spoke briefly on the recent meeting with the City of Norton regarding consolidation of schools between Wise County and the City of Norton. He felt that the meeting was productive. Another meeting has been scheduled with the School Board to discuss the same topic in sub-groups for possible answers to consolidation.
Chairman Rivers noted that the two in one school concept was discussed with a possible location behind the current Magic Mart in Norton (commonly known as the old Wal-Mart building). This site would be more equitable because everyone loses but better because it is the cheaper method of consolidation. In this concept, the students would lose as well as Wise County. Three schools would be best but most costly. He said he could support $60M for the schools. However, he would need more information on the current budget and the QSCB bonds before making a financial commitment. Mr. Rivers feels that the County can finance three schools without raising taxes.
Supervisor Robbins stated that in any scenario of consolidation everyone loses. The problem of the schools can be solved by fixing the existing school buildings. He reviewed a survey from the Weldon Cooper Center which indicated that there are lower students rates in Wise County which means there is no need for larger schools. Larger schools would only place the County in a bind financially with the condition of the economy at this time. The $42M given to the schools was given without a stipulation on how it could be used. He felt that the County should not go beyond $22M. He spoke briefly on the curriculums offered in the schools noting that eventually school buildings will become obsolete because students will no longer attend school as they do now.
Mr. Robbins further briefed the Board on a meeting he attended regarding the Emergency Water Shed Project. There is a 75% cost share for the removal of trees and debris from creeks and rivers due to the winter, particularly the snow storm in December. This savings is available to the citizens and the County. Names and phone numbers were given for further information on the debris removal.
Mr. Robbins further stated that Terri Vencil has invited the Board of Supervisors to have one of its Board meetings at Lake Estonoa. A cookout will be scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on the date that the Board can meet.
The Board discussed the request and it was the consensus that the April 1 Workshop be moved to Lake Estonoa @ 6:00 p.m.
Attorney Mullins advised that two public hearings have been set for April 1, 2010 and those public hearings will need to be rescheduled if the Workshop is moved.
After discussion a motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Bob Adkins, to change the following public hearings from April 1, 2010 to April 8, 2010:
Set public hearing (April 8, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance authorizing the off-duty employment of the Wise County Sheriff’s deputies
Set public hearing (April 8, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance imposing financial liability for persons convicted of certain motor vehicle offenses
The motion was unanimously approved.
Supervisor Luntsford reported on a recent meeting with some State officials for the purpose of compiling information regarding tourist attractions that Wise County could tout to offer people coming to Wise County. He commented on different attractions located on the proposed Powell River Trail. Regarding consolidation, if consolidation is successful, some of the towns will lose their identity and have no life. He suggested taking the $42M plus the $9M and divide it between the schools. With this money the schools could be refurbished and there would be no extra burden on the tax payers. This way, no one loses. Since the way we now educate is changing, putting money into new schools could be a waste.
Supervisor Bates explained that the County cannot afford six schools. The curriculums are bad and the schools are in bad shape. Painting and fixing the windows is not enough. The kids need larger schools and that would be less expensive and more economical. The larger schools will be a less burden on the taxpayers than the six schools. The kids would have new schools with better educational tools to equip them for college and future employment. At this point in time, everyone needs to come together and make the best decision for the kids and any and all committees pertaining to consolidation should be open.
Supervisor Adkins stated that consolidation will come sooner or later. There is an abundance of schools and not enough students in Wise County which will be looked into by the Board of Education and the General Assembly. Different concepts for consolidation have been discussed with no resolution on which one is best for the students or which one is most affordable for Wise County. The time has come for a decision on what the County can afford.
Supervisor Meador stated that times are tough. At this point in time, she is not so much concerned about the schools as she is on the Board being able to meet the needs in the County’s budget with the state giving less. Education in the future will be going in a different direction and the Board must decide as to what the County can afford.
Supervisor Robbins stated that nothing has been done to see how the school system can save money and keep the existing schools open. He mentioned several things that could be considered which would be cost savings for the school system.
Chairman Rivers asked the County Administrator to ascertain if there is any grant money available for stream cleanup for Wise County.
IN RE: WORKSHOP FOR APRIL – CHANGE OF MEETING PLACE
A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to move the April 1, 2010 Workshop meeting to Lake Estonoa. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: RECESS MEETING
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Robby Robbins, to recess the meeting until Monday, March 15, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. The motion was unanimously approved.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk J. H. Rivers, Chairman