The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop Meeting on Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse. The following members were present:
Honorable J. H. Rivers – Chairman
Honorable Dana Kilgore – Vice-Chair
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr. – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Financial Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – Legal Administrator
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Bill Dotson led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Harold Greear spoke on school consolidation and closing of the Wise Skill Center.
Billy Chandler, President of the Wise County Fire Association, addressed the Board regarding additional funding for the fire departments. It had been brought to his attention that one of the fire departments had approached the Board, at a previous meeting, for additional funding. Since that time, he has received several calls from other departments asking why the Fire Association had not made a request for additional funds for all fire departments. He stated that the reason for not asking is because of the downturn in the economy, the funding for the schools, and the cuts that have been made by the State which has made things very difficult for everyone. Mr. Chandler explained that each fire department has its own specialty that it does to provide for the needs of the citizens. He voiced his appreciation for all the County does for the fire departments and any extra funding made available to them is appreciated.
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.
IN RE: EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION
Employees of the County were recognized with a pen noting their years of service with the County. Chairman Rivers thanked each one for their dedication and commitment.
IN RE: HAMMER CREW
Bill Dotson, Director of the Skill Center, addressed the Board with a history of the Hammer Crew which began in 1996 to rehab houses and train unemployed public housing residents in construction skills. Since that time, the Hammer Crew has built/renovated over 100 houses providing affordable housing for citizens of Wise County.
Wise County public schools recently severed ties with the Wise Skills Center and its programs due to funding shortfalls. The Hammer Crew is currently building the PSA office building located in the Esserville Industrial Park and after that contract is complete, the Hammer Crew will cease to exist. Mr. Dotson believes that the County and its citizens would benefit greatly by having the Hammer Crew under the banner of Wise County government.
Mr. Dotson noted that the purpose for his coming before the Board is to request that Wise County consider assuming operation of the Hammer Crew since the Wise County public schools can no longer fund the Skill Center program. He feels that the County could benefit from the professional, experienced, and trusted services of the Hammer Crew which consists of three (3) individuals.
Administrator Scott identified several projects that the County has that would be beneficial to have an in-house crew to save tax payers money. He also identified Mr. Dotson as a part-time Program Director for the crew.
Chairman Rivers noted that he asked that this presentation be made to the Board as a possible means of saving County money on construction needs. He suggested a two (2) year trial period with an evaluation at the end of that period to ascertain whether or not there is a cost savings and Mr. Dotson could serve as a part-time Program Director for the crew.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items were reviewed:
Set public hearing (August 5, 2010@ 6:00 p.m.) on a request for Rezoning
Set public hearing (August 5, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request for a Special Use Permit
Request from Treasurer to close three (3) bank accounts held by the County
IN RE: RESOLUTION REGARDING SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION
There was some discussion among Board members as to whether or not a joint meeting with the School Board would be of any benefit if the Board adopted this resolution regarding school consolidation.
IN RE: RESOLUTION OPPOSING ELK INTRODUCTION INTO WISE COUNTY
Chairman Rivers stated that the Game and Inland Fisheries held a recent public hearing to receive citizens’ comments regarding the introduction of Elk into Wise County even though the Board has already adopted a resolution opposing the restoration of the Elk.
Supervisor Robbins stated that he attended the public hearing and there were lots of farmers voicing there opposition to the Elk because of the damage they can do to property, crops, and orchards which is their livelihood.
Supervisor Kilgore understood that those individuals having damage from the elk have no means of making a claim for those damages.
There was some discussion on the possibility of adopting an ordinance against bringing the Elk into Wise County.
Attorney Mullins stated that she would need to check into the legality of adopting an ordinance and report back to the Board at its next meeting.
IN RE: JOINT MEETING – BOARD OF SUPERVISORS & SCHOOL BOARD
The proposed joint meeting between the Board of Supervisors and the Wise County School Board would be for the purpose of coming to common grounds on the school issue and to keep communications open. A facilitator, being on neutral grounds, would have input on options from both boards.
Supervisor Bates was of the opinion that the joint meeting between the two boards would not be necessary if the proposed resolution on consolidation is adopted.
Supervisor Kilgore stated that if the resolution on consolidation is adopted, the joint meeting would accomplish nothing.
Supervisor Robbins voiced his concern that the people should make the decision on consolidation by voting on a bond referendum, not the School Board.
There were comments made on whether or not the County could afford to keep six high schools open and offer equitable educational opportunities to all students.
Chairman Rivers was of the opinion that the consolidation issue could be revisited and another option be birthed that would satisfy everyone.
Further discussion continued on whether or not the joint meeting would be fruitful.
Supervisor Bates noted that the meetings need to be more controlled. Those individuals with out- bursts such as, clapping, laughing, etc while citizens and Board members are speaking are being disrespectful to the Board and those speaking and should therefore be removed from the meeting.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Resolution independent review of expenses & revenues of Wise County
Resolution of Recognition – Treasurer Delores Smith
Resolution-IDA financing for Justice Center
Rules & Procedures Amendment
Closed Session – Investing of public funds
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk J. H. Rivers, Chairman