The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 6:35 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse. The following members were present:
Honorable Dana Kilgore – Chair
Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Vice-Chair
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable J. H. Rivers – 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 Fred Luntsford
Randy Carter, Pastor Pyles Memorial Freewill Baptist Church, led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
ROAD AND HIGHWAYS
Supervisor Robbins asked that VDOT be contacted to check the steep drop off on the Hardy Hollow Road in St. Paul that is traveled on a daily basis by a school bus.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ input regarding a proposed E-911 road (Swamp Road) located in Appalachia. There were no comments regarding this proposed name.
There being no public comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – FLOOD PLAIN ZONING ORDINANCE
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a proposed Flood Plain Zoning Ordinance for Wise County.
Administrator Scott informed the Board that a letter has been received from FEMA which states that Wise County must adopt flood plain management measures, such as a floodplain management ordinance, that meet or exceed the minimum NFIP requirements by February 18, 2011, to avoid suspension from the NFIP. If suspended, our community becomes ineligible for flood insurance through the NFIP, new insurance policies cannot be sold, and existing policies cannot be renewed.
There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: WELLMONT HEALTH SYSTEM
David Brash, Regional Vice President for Wellmont’s mountain region which consists of operations in Dickenson, Wise, and Lee County, addressed the Board with an update on Wellmont Health System accomplishments, improvements to existing facilities, and goals for future enhancement of services as well as their facilities. He spoke briefly on the Osteopathic Family Medicine Residency Program and what it offers for this area.
IN RE: VIRGINIA TECH EXTENSION UPDATE
Mike Martin, District Director for Virginia Tech Extension, addressed the Board with an update on the restructuring process that is ongoing with Virginia Tech Extension. The implementation of this plan will hopefully take place in summer of 2012. Extension will still have a presence in each community to serve the citizens. At the present time about 200 extension agents and 100 support staff are housed in 106 offices across the state. If counties want more agents based in their communities they can provide the salary. Wise County’s only full-time agent is shared between the County government and the Powell River Project. This new system will offer new services and new personnel that have not been available in the past for Wise County as well as other benefits. Teams are being formed to gather information and submitting input for the planned restructuring with decisions being made in the fall which can be incorporated in the budget decisions. Mr. Martin suggested that the Board work with VACo since that organization will be a part of the planning process.
Chairman Kilgore asked Mr. Martin to keep the Board informed on the progress that is being made on the restructuring and how it will affect Wise County.
Board members discussed the resolution that was presented to them at its meeting in December to delay the implementation of the proposed plan. Board members agreed that further information is needed before any action is taken on this item.
IN RE: VERIZON WIRELESS UPDATE
Justin Collacke, Government Account Executive for Southwest Virginia for Verizon Wireless, provided an update on Verizon Wireless. Verizon currently has five (5) tower sites with new towers to be installed for coverage to the Appalachia and Pound area sometime this year (2011). There will be a total of twelve sites in Southwest Virginia.
The new sites are a part of Verizon’s roll-out of a 4G LTE technology that will provide broadband internet to customers. A large portion of the expansion is to replace roaming on former Alltel towers. At present, AT&T sites will broadcast CDMA signal. However, the primary purpose is broadcasting AT&T’s GSM, a separate technology which Verizon uses.
Mr. Collacke explained the problems associated with CDMA signal and the GSM signal, which aren’t compatible, and in turn have caused a lack of service for many Alltel customers. Despite these differences, Verizon customers should not experience any interruption in service since towers that were switched to GSM are still providing CDMA service.
Verizon realizes the need for a consumer base to be services locally and plans are to have a permanent retail center in the Norton Shopping Center around February 1.
Ted Tate, a resident of East Stone Gap, spoke on the following:
Opposition to the 2-on-1 plan for consolidation
The bases for a good education
Appalachia Elementary Gym
Walter Crouse, a resident of the Hurricane area, spoke on the following:
Opposed the 2-on-1 school consolidation plan
SOL’s in school should be removed
Need to be better stewards of tax payers money
Juanita Quillen, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following:
Voiced her opposition to the 2-on-1 school consolidation plan
The best for the kids has been lost in this battle for the new schools
Lots of kids will not be able to be involved in extra curriculum activities because of transportation problems
No sports for most kids
Dennis Sturgill, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following:
Opposed the 2-on-1 school consolidation plan
Youth programs will be lost for most kids due to lack of transportation
Sports will be out of reach for most kids---this is a character builder for them as well as a disciplining tool
Greta Boggs, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following:
Opposed the 2-on-1 school consolidation plan
This plan will cost more money than $69M
Questioned status of funds not used for upkeep of schools
Donald Purdie, a resident of Wise, provided a brief power point presentation on the Wise County / City of Norton Committee of 100. The mission of this Committee is to nurture and expand growth opportunities in Wise County. He explained some of the possibilities:
A place to show our heritage
ATV trails are fast becoming an economic engine
An ATV Parts Store
Spear Head trails project
This is a vision of the Committee for future growth of Wise County.
Denver (Shug) Hall, Jr., a resident of District 3, spoke on the following:
Use common sense in making a decision on school consolidation
Help the kids - treat them equally
A school must have community support
Everyone must work together
Rescind the offer to fund the schools
Tax increase is accepted if kids are treated equal & six schools left open
Harold Greear, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following:
Eddie Giles voiced his appreciation to Wellmont Health System in services rendered to our citizens especially the cancer center.
There being no further comments the public expression was closed.
A brief recess was taken at 8:00 pm
The meeting reconvened at 8:10 pm
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items were reviewed:
Set public hearing (February 3, 2011 @ 6:00 pm) on a proposed Special Use Permit for Bucky & Lora Culbertson
Appropriations – Third quarter
Authorize Former Chairman J. H. Rivers to sign checks during the month of January 2011
IN RE: RESOLUTION INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF EXPENSES & REVENUES OF WISE COUNTY
Supervisor Rivers felt that this resolution should be expanded to ascertain what funds are coming in and how that money is being spent. Not just for Wise County but since the Board is fiscal agent for the School Board they should be included. This should also include each school as to how much money each receives and how much each spent. Some citizens have concerns regarding how money is being spent in the schools.
Mr. Rivers said he had asked for a copy of the School Board budget report to ascertain how the money is being spent that the Board has allocated in their budget in categories.
IN RE: RESOLUTION – VIRGINIA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION RESTRUCTURING
Supervisor Robbins suggested taking no action on this resolution at this time since there were so many unanswered questions regarding the restructuring.
Attorney Mullins explained that this item can be removed from the agenda at the next meeting when action is taken on the agenda.
Supervisors Rivers noted that if the Board needs a resolution to insure the impact to this County he would be in favor of laying this on the table for an infinite period of time.
IN RE: RABIES CONTROL PLAN
Attorney Mullins stated that she had received information from the Health Department on a Rabies Control Plan for Wise County. There is an existing plan in place but needs to be updated and a public hearing held for public input.
She will ask that this item be placed on the February agenda to be sent out for a public hearing for an amendment on all the sections identified under the Animal Control Ordinance as well as the adoption of a Plan that incorporates all those changes.
IN RE: PINE MOUNTAIN TRAIL
Administrator Scott provided the Board with a memo explaining the status of the Pine Mountain Trail Project and the efforts that are being made to complete the project. He noted that he and Project Manager Jessica Swinney would be available for any questions the Board may have.
IN RE: COUNTY SEWER USE ORDINANCE UPDATE
Bill Skeen, representing Maximin Engineering, the engineers for the Guest River/Stephens Sewer Project that is funded by DEQ, addressed the Board of Supervisors regarding the Sewer Use Ordinance. One of the conditions for financing is that the County has an enforceable Sewer Use Ordinance. The County adopted such an ordinance in October 1992, which was submitted to Bill Spencer with DEQ for review. After reviewing the ordinance, Mr. Spencer said the ordinance was weak and weird or written in such a way that it is not usable. He suggested that another ordinance be developed but be adopted by the Wise County PSA and not Wise County. The reason being is that the PSA will be the owner and operator of future sewer projects for the County. Rather than having two ordinances from two different entities, he suggested having one ordinance from one entity and that entity be PSA.
Mr. Skeen suggested that the Board of Supervisors take no action on this item at this time until the PSA has had time to consider the same. However, he explained that he understands that the PSA cannot adopt an ordinance but can adopt sewer use regulations or something similar to that, which the Board of Supervisors, by resolution, could adopt the same.
Wayne Watts, Waste Water Consultant for Wise County, stated that the Board needs to address the agreements with the City of Norton and the Town of Wise.
IN RE: ECONOMIC IMPACT STUDY
Supervisor Robbins stated that he would like to have an economic impact study done by an independent firm such as Dewberry and Davis for a more accurate study. The Weldon Cooper Study of 2005 used a lot of educated assumptions and should not be constructed as concrete evidence. He said this study does not address the potential budget impact or how it might affect the tax base of Wise County. He mentioned other factors that should be incorporated in this study, which would help the Board to be good stewards of County funds and better decision on the operations of the County.
Supervisor Rivers explained the PPETA process that is ongoing with the School Board. He noted that if this study is started now to select a firm and the towns and any other impacted locality reports to the School Board, that’s information that this firm could use to put together the whole picture and the impact on Wise County. He further noted that there is bi-partisan support for this study.
He asked that the Economic Impact Study be an action item on next week’s agenda.
Attorney Mullins noted that the action would be to send out an RFP for an independent firm to do an Economic Impact Study for Wise County.
IN RE: FISCAL AGENT GIS GRANT
The development and implementation of the Mountain Empire regional GIS (MERG) was completed and rolled-out this month. MERG was developed from funding provided by the E-911 Wireless Board last year to six (6) jurisdictions, the City of Bristol, Lee Co., Russell Co., Scott Co., Smyth Co., and Washington Co,.
MERG was created to provide on-demand regional data layers for PSAPs and public safety. The six jurisdictions are connected via a VPN, which allows data to be transferred back-and-forth between the entities.
An application has been submitted for a Regional GIS Grant for work that needs to be done on updating mapping for the new MERG system. If awarded, the request is for Wise County to serve as the fiscal agent for this grant. This will assist the six jurisdictions with their mapping.
IN RE: APPALACHIA GYM FUNDING
Attorney Mullins advised that at the time this item was placed on the agenda it was Supervisor Luntsford’s intent to address this item. The items added to the agenda, which was to include the funding resolution that included the gym.
Attorney Mullins noted that since Supervisor Luntsford is not here to speak, she provided a funding resolution for the Board’s review and asked that it be added to the agenda for consideration by the Board.
Supervisor Rivers stated that he has had an opportunity to review the resolution and has some concerns which he will bring before the Board at its next meeting. He was concerned with the language in this resolution that ties the Appalachia Elementary gym to the proposed consolidation. If the proposed process for consolidation fails, that means there will be no Appalachia Elementary gym. There is $1.2M in the contingency fund in the School budget that can be moved to capital improvements. Out of the County’s unexpended funds, that amount can be moved up to $2M and build the gym.
Attorney Mullins stated that this resolution has been prepared by the Bond Counsel with the necessary language to proceed with the funding. However, the School Board has to approve a resolution as well as the County. Based on the meeting of December 20, this links the gym with the consolidation per Supervisor Luntsford’s request. This resolution is similar to the one before the School Board.
Supervisor Meador was concerned that the School Board had not made a formal request for this funding.
Attorney Mullins explained that this resolution is only asking for funding. However, the Board cannot approve this until an official request has been made by the School Board which she understands is scheduled to be placed on the School Board agenda at its Monday, January 10 meeting with the sister ordinance that has been provided with the necessary language for funding. She also understands that Dr. Perry had stated at the December 20 meeting that he would be attending the Board of Supervisor’s January meeting to request the funding resolution.
Supervisor Rivers read sections of the proposed resolution with concern about the language as to whether or not the Bond Counsel knows the needs in Wise County and whether or not they have reviewed in depth of the PPETA process. He questioned the first round of proposals that were received by the School Board. There was one firm that provided a financial option to the County. The Board of Supervisors was never made aware of the details of that proposal.
IN RE: CNW TREATMENT CAPACITY EXPANSION
Administrator Scott informed the Board that they will be kept informed of correspondence between the funding agency, CNW, Wise County and others. This will be kept on the agenda as a monthly item.
Supervisor Shortt asked about the status of the County having a seat on the CNW Board.
Administrator Scott explained that Mark Hollyfield, when he recently spoke to the Board, referenced the fact that CNW would be going through a re-organization plan in January of 2012, and at that time a lot of the questions will be answered as to Wise County’s participation in CNW and the extent of representation on the CNW Board. They have extended an invitation to the County to attend all CNW meetings.
IN RE: DEBT MANAGEMENT POLICY AMENDMENT
Financial Administrator David Cox stated that this amendment is the same that was included in the resolution for school funding dated October 26, 2010.
Attorney Mullins explained that the reason for putting the amendment in that format as a separate item is to make it easier to be referenced in the minute book. Right now it is part of the school bonding resolution and she has given the opinion that she believes it to be valid. However, if someone goes back to see if the debt management policy has been amended, it won’t show up as a separate item since it is incorporated in the resolution for school funding.
Supervisor Rivers asked if part of the reason to re-do this is because of the AG’s opinion concerning the resolution dated October 26?
Attorney Mullins replied that the AG opinion actually affirmed her decision.
Supervisor Rivers was of the opinion that when all is said & done two (2) resolutions will be needed; one supporting the bonds for $69M and one for changing the debt management policy within sixty to ninety days.
Attorney Mullins explained that they would not have to be re-done. The Board will actually adopt other policies and other funding resolutions if this process goes forward because separate loans will be needed for each type of funding.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
IN RE: REGIONAL 911 COMMITTEE APPOINTMENT
On last month’s agenda the Board supported the Regional 911 backup system between Dickenson County, City of Norton, Lee County, and Wise County. The Committee is formed from that agreement. Each of the jurisdictions will appoint three (3) members with one being a member of the Board of Supervisors, the Administrator and Assistant Administrator of the system or their designee. This is also on the agendas of Lee County, Dickenson County, and the City of Norton to make their appointments.
IN RE: RESOLUTION FOUNDING THE SISTER COUNTIES IN STEM ROCKET SCIENCE
Administrator Scott explained that this resolution asks that the Board of Supervisors enter into a Sister County in STEM Rocket Science cluster and assist youth teams from within the Commonwealth to organize, build and launch model rockets from our jurisdictions that lead to participation in the national competition.
IN RE: RESOLUTION DANGER OF SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA
Administrator Scott was asked by Supervisor Robbins to draft a resolution for Board consideration on the danger of synthetic marijuana. Information on the synthetic marijuana has been obtained from members of the sheriff’s Department to further educate the Board on this substance. A resolution was provided for the Board’s review.
IN RE: LENOWISCO RURAL TRANSPORTATION LONG RANGE PLAN
A memorandum was provided to the Board that was received from Chris Starnes of LENOWISCO which serves as a recommendation from LENOWISCO for the Wise County Rural Long Range.
Administrator Scott stated that he had met with various VDOT officials from the Bristol District Office and much information was reviewed and considered by those VDOT officials in the development of this plan.
He also reviewed the Rural Transportation Long Range Plan with Allen Sumpter and Jackie Christian of the Wise Residency Office.
This plan does not require action by the Board. The purpose is to give the Board an opportunity to comment to Mr. Scott or LENOWISCO should any Board member have a road or an area in the County that this plan does not address
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
There were few comments from Board members.
Supervisor Rivers spoke on the following:
The need to evaluate the leadership team
Consider changes to the makeup of the Board packet
The rock slide on PV mountain
The 2-on-1 school plan will prosper Norton not Wise County
School consolidation and the impact this will have on our County and the economy
Plans for the vacant buildings if the consolidation plan is implemented
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk Dana Kilgore, Chair