The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, October 7, 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 Virginia Meador
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Fred Luntsford – 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 Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
John Ellington, Pastor First Church of God in Norton, led in prayer.
ROADS & HIGHWAYS
Board members provided needs in their districts for VDOT review & response.
Chairman Rivers asked that Allan Sumpter, the new Wise Residency Maintenance Manager, be invited to the November meeting for an update on the restructuring of the Wise Residency Office.
Marlene Bush, a resident of Appalachia, asked that a part of the $9M set aside for schools be used to build a gym for the Appalachia Elementary School. She voiced her support for hiring legal counsel regarding school consolidation.
Paul Elkins, a resident of Coeburn, voiced his support for consolidation not cramadation which is the latest plan submitted by the School Board. He further expounded on the declining revenues for Wise County as well as school enrollment.
Harold Greear, a resident of Pound, spoke on the management of school funds, the latest proposed school consolidation plan, coal severance tax and VCEDA funds.
Gary Stratton, a resident of Wise, voiced his views on the potential law suit that is being proposed. He did not see spending tax payers’ money for one independent body to sue another. The School Board has made its decision based upon funding that is available to them which leaves them with the plan that is now on the table for consolidation.
Conner McCoy, a resident of Pound, spoke on cutting funding for the schools and voiced his opposition to closing any of the six schools. He supports the potential law suit that is being proposed by Chairman Rivers.
Elizabeth Jones, a resident of Big Stone Gap, briefed the Board on a recent conversation she had with Dr. Perry regarding the proposed school closings. She also commented on distribution of funds from Dominion to help with the schools.
Talitha Fowlkes, a resident of Wise, stated that in her opinion suing the School Board is a mistake. This is not the way to spend tax payers’ money. She feels that the Board of Supervisors is not listening to all the people and capturing the feelings of the people. Let the people speak for what they want.
Walter Crouse, a resident of Hurricane, asked the Board to think regional for the purpose of saving money and to provide a better education for our children. He further commented on the need for infrastructure for Pound and Appalachia.
Anita Hayes, a resident of Coeburn, asked the Board not to fund the consolidation plan. She touched on the transportation problems if the latest school plan is approved and the early morning hour that some kids will be catching the bus.
Justin Rutherford, a resident of Pound, stated that the students at Pound take pride in their school and would be willing to help fix whatever is needed to keep their school. He said that the Pound students do not want to be transported to or attend another school.
Jim Scalf, a resident of Appalachia, told the Board that if all the schools were closed to allow for consolidation, then consolidation would be fair.
Felicia Hall, a resident of Pound, voiced her support of hiring legal counsel for the proposed consolidation school plan.
Bill Bevins, a resident of Wise, stated that everyone needs to work together and do what is best for the children even if it means raising taxes. He commented that putting money in these old schools is like putting money down a rat hole.
Stacy Carson, a resident of Pound, voiced her opposition to school consolidation. She commented that a referendum should be placed on the ballot to get the citizens input on whether or not they want to consolidate. The subject of consolidation has divided the people, the communities and the schools.
Danny Stallard, a resident of Hurricane, noted that keeping all the schools open will require a significant tax increase and eventually new schools will have to be built because of age and the decline in school enrollment.
Christian Powers, a resident of Pound, voiced her support for hiring legal counsel for the school consolidation plan.
There being no further comments the public expression period was closed at 7:15 p.m.
IN RE: UNITED WAY
Dan Minahan, representing United Way, presented the Board with an overview of United Way’s activities and the services they provide for our citizens.
IN RE: UVA-WISE UPDATE
David Prior, Chancellor for UVA-Wise, provided the Board with an overview of the Capital Projects that are ongoing at UVA-Wise. He explained the programs being offered and the efforts being made to assist those students with financial difficulties. The Multi-Purpose Center (Convocation Center) is anticipated completion date -- Fall 2011. This project is designed as a 3000 seat venue for athletic and convocation events on campus. The location is situated per the College’s approved Master Plan to the west of Carl Smith Stadium. The facility can be used to host regional Virginia High School League playoffs and tournaments in various sports, including volleyball, basketball and wrestling. The center will serve also as a place for the public to attend concerts, conventions and other gatherings.
IN RE: LONESOME PINE REGIONAL LIBRARY UPDATE
Amy Bond, Director of Lonesome Pine Regional Library, gave an update on the activities of the Lonesome Pine Regional Library and the different programs that are available for the young as well as the older citizens.
A recess was taken at 7:45 p.m.
The meeting reconvened at 7:55 p.m.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items were reviewed:
Resolution Honoring Papa Joe Smiddy
Resolution 20th Anniversary Americans with Disabilities Act
Resolution Approving Cable Franchise transfer from JetBroadband to Shentel Cable Company
Authorize Treasurer to destroy paid tax tickets on Personal Property & Real Estate January 2004-------December 2004
Appropriations 2nd Quarter
Sheriff Funds -- Appropriation
IN RE: BLACKWOOD LANDFILL DISCUSSION
Bill King, representing T&L, Inc., gave the Board an overview of the Blackwood Expansion Project. He also noted that Contract #1, which is Phase IVA Landfill Liner Contract, is 99% complete. Contract #2, which is the Pumping Station, is 65% complete. There are 66 more days in the contract and the contractor advises that he should be done within a month.
Regarding a budget update, the VRA total project budget is $3.176 million. The current projections show that the project will be finished under budget.
Director of Public Works Jackie Darter has been hauling clay and soil under the agreement recently signed and he has also been a great asset to T&L during the design and construction process of this project.
Mr. King stated that the County’s solid waste system is a flexible system. Operating under the assumption that the landfill would be ramped up to full scale operations as of January 1, 2011, T&L is targeting the submission of a final construction quality assurance report and certification to DEQ on November 1, 2010. This will give DEQ sixty days to review and approve the report and provide a certification to operate the landfill as of January 1, 2011. Beyond that, T&L will finalize the landfill liner evaluation for Phase IVB, finalize the DEQ Permitting in the year 2011, move towards bidding in early 2012, construct in 2012, and be in an operational mode in 2013.
Mr. King noted that the Board may want to solicit some proposals for transportation and disposal services between now and the end of the year just as a confirmation of what the market yields. This is an option for the Board. By doing this, it would re-enforce and substantiate the current economics of that market.
Administrator Scott explained that after about eight or nine years the landfill footprint will be finished and after that there will only be operational cost with a landfill to be used for the next 32 years.
Finance Administrator Cox stated that he would provide the Board with a chart on cost figures for the remaining cells in the landfill.
Chairman Rivers voiced his concern regarding the back side of the footprint.
Mr. King noted that he had met with DMME on this matter and they advised him that they are evaluating the regulations and what they believe the future requirements will be on the back side as well as getting aerial photos, and some information they have in their files.
IN RE: RESOURCE OFFICER FUNDING
Supervisor Shortt explained that there are two of the six schools in Wise County that do not have a Resource Officer: Pound and St. Paul. He understood that the reason for these two (2) vacancies is due to budget cuts and the loss of a grant. However, he felt it unfair that these two schools are without this important position. A Resource Officer has a positive affect on the young people and plays an important part in their life. He noted that he will make a motion at the next meeting to fund these two positions for the remainder of this school year.
IN RE: NEW SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION PLAN
Chairman Rivers noted that communications and talks are continuing with the School Board and hopefully there will be some positive results from the communications that are ongoing.
OTHER ITEMS DISCUSSED
Resolution Independent Review of Expenses & Revenues of Wise County
Change meeting date for Regular Board meeting in November
Resolution Authorizing hiring of legal counsel regarding school consolidation
Closed session (Investing of public funds & Consultation with legal counsel)
There being no further business to come before the Board the meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk J. H. Rivers, Chairman