Board of Supervisors - April 13, 2017 Regular Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 6:00 PM in the School Board Education Center located at 628 Lake Street, Wise.  The following members were present:

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

PRAYER

Donnie Rose led the Board in prayer.

PLEDGE

All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

MINUTES

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the minutes as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.

AGENDA

A motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to approve the agenda as presented to include item in red.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  LONESOME PINE REGIONAL LIBRARY UPDATE

Julie Short, Assistant Director of the Lonesome Pine Regional Library, reviewed the many services offered by the Wise County Libraries, and their endeavors to meet the changing needs of our communities by providing resources for everyone, and bringing services outside of the library walls.  Even though the local economy is in a decline, the library staff has worked tireless to meet these ever changing needs with creativity and enthusiasm.

Ms. Short asked the Board to consider approving the Proclamation proclaiming April 9-15, 2017 as National Library Week. 

She thanked the Board for its continued financial support of the library, which has made it possible for the library to continue its mission to be of service to our communities.

IN RE:  CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM

The Central High School Girls Basketball Team and Coach Robin Dotson came before the Board to receive a resolution honoring the team for its recent win of the Virginia High School League Group 2A State Championship.

Bob Adkins entered the meeting at this time.

IN RE:  AGRICULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES

Phil Meeks, Wise County Extension Office Agent, provided the Board with a power point presentation on agricultural opportunities in Wise County, and the many programs that are offered through the Tobacco Commission.

IN RE:  BEAR RELATED ISSUES

Seth Thompson, District Wildlife Biologist with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, addressed the Board regarding the human-bear conflicts in the County and particularly at the convenience centers.  Joint efforts have been ongoing to reduce bear activity, which has been successful with the exception of Honey Branch and Dunbar sites.

These two sites are not secured, which gives way for the bears to become accustomed to human-sources of food, and loss of natural fear of humans.  Given the chronic bear activity at these green box sites due to the unsecured garbage, and deliberate feeding by the public, Wise County will bear tremendous liability should someone become injured by a bear at these sites.

Bear proof dumpsters and electric fencing have been discussed as possible remedies for these two sites.  However, these options are not feasible due to their secluded locations.  Another option would be to remove both can sites to another location or perhaps have the residents of those areas use one of the convenience centers already in place in their vicinity.

Mr. Thompson advised that this is Cub season and the bears become more aggressive.  Bear watching at close range and hand feeding  the bears increase the potential for human injury, and should be avoided by everyone.

IN RE:  COUNTY FY 2017/18 BUDGET UPDATE

The Board was given a power point presentation on the County’s FY 2018 budget with a short fall of $954,724.

Revenue changes from FY 2017

  • General Property taxes stable

  • Coal Severance slight increase

  • Sales Tax slight increase

  • Partial State funding for 3% raises

  • Other revenue slightly favorable vs. 2017

Expenditures changes from FY 2017

  • $929,927 debt service increase for schools

  • $246,500 capital outlay increase registrar-new voting machines

  • 2% increase for all employees (Const. Offices partially paid by state)

  • Health insurance increase of 7%

  • $109,550 capital outlay increase for Sheriff’s Dept- vehicles (Note $50K grant paid by Rural Dev)

  • $227,657 Regional Jail operational cost increase

  • $175,805 savings in capital vs. 2017 for landfill

  • Other reductions in capital & slightly lower debt service for General fund

Other information

  • School Board still in budget process

  • Projected slight decrease in Workers Comp for County (Possible $15-$20K)

  • Successful procurement may lower capital outlay cost( Leave in budget but track procurement savings)

  • Continued effort to decrease costs in all county departments)

Notes for Board

  • Total draft School funding is $15,232,871 ($929,927 increase from FY 2017)  This amount is all debt service increase (principal payment)

  • This amount is 55% of General Property tax revenues and 30.5% of the draft total budget

  • The debt service payment increases in FY 2020 by another $1M+

Supervisor Rivers voiced his concern that the County is only paying interest on the school debt.  He suggested working with the School Board for assistance in reducing this debt.  He noted that coal severance may increase, but would not be sufficient to meet increased debt.  He welcomes any suggested cuts from citizens that would help reduce the budget.  The Board does not want to increase taxes, especially with the downturn in the economy, and the loss of jobs in our area.

Chairperson Kilgore stated that the County finances are strong now, but there is a need  to cut expenses.  She explained that keeping a strong fund balance gives the County a good bond rating, which is needed when borrowing money.  The School Board needs to make more cuts to help balance the budget.   The citizens do not need a tax increase.

IN RE:  CABLE SERVICE

Gary Hileman, a citizen living on Russell Creek Road, addressed the Board regarding lack of cable service in his area.  He stated that he has contacted Sunset Digital and Scott County Coop, but neither company could provide him service.  He asked for any suggestions the Board may have in getting him cable.

Supervisor Shortt. suggested that he speak with Duane Miller at LENOWISCO for some guidance on his request.

IN RE:  PAWS       

Joanne Harding, representing PAWS, provided the Board with an update on the Spay/Neuter Program in Wise County, and the process for adopting animals from PAWS. 

Ms. Harding and Bob Nixon spoke briefly on the status of the Animal Sanctuary and Park that is being constructed per Carol Buchanan’s Will.  Both voiced their frustration over the loss of $500,000 from Ms. Buchanan’s Estate that could have been used to further the well being and safety of Wise County animals.

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

IN RE:  CONSENT AGENDA

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

IN RE:  RESOLUTION  CENTRAL HIGH  SCHOOL BASKETBALL TEAM

Approved the resolution honoring the Central High School Girls Basketball team for their recent with

RESOLUTION #            2017

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

IN RE:  PROCLAMATION NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK 2017

Approved the Proclamation proclaiming  April 9-15, 2017 as National Library Week           

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

IN RE:  RESOLUTION PPTRA BUDGET

Adopted the resolution approving the PPTRA Budget

RESOLUTION #      2017

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

The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

 IN RE:  FEBRUARY 9, 2017 BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MINUTES

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the Board of Supervisors February 9, 2017 minutes as amended.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  NETTLE PATCH VEGETATION MANAGEMENT PROJECT

The Board discussed the Nettle Patch Vegetation Management Project with several unanswered questions being brought forth.  Chairperson Kilgore was concerned whether or not this logging would be visible from the main highway.  It was noted that the comment period for this project would end on April 24, 2017, which does not leave much time for comments.   Attorney Mullins stated that she would follow up for more information, and email her findings to all Board members prior to April 24.

IN RE:  SHENTEL FRANCHISE AGREEMENT RENEWAL

Attorney Mullins explained that  the Cable Franchise Agreement with Shenandoah Cable Television, LLC  will be expiring July 1, 2017.  Shentel requests that the County approve the resolution to extend the term of the existing franchise agreement fifteen (15) years beginning July 2, 2017 through July 1, 2032.  Attorney Mullins  stated that Vice-President Chris Kyle was unable to attend this meeting due to a conflict, but sent two representatives, to answer  any questions the Board may have. 

Board members commented on the need for expansion of cable services in Wise County, which would bring competition, and better rates for Wise County citizens.  The Board asked for a plan from Shentel for the next five years on its intent to expand its services in to Wise County.

After further discussion, a motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to table the  renewal of the Cable Franchise Agreement  with Shenandoah Cable Television until next month.  The motion  was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  ORDINANCE #1-1995 AMENDMENT-- UNSAFE BUILDINGS/STRUCTURES

Attorney Mullins explained that she has amended the Code Sections noted in Ordinance #1-1995 for removal or repair of unsafe buildings or structures, which will give the County additional authority to go beyond condemning unsafe buildings, but will also give the County authority to take individuals to court to have the structures either repaired or removed.   Some of the 30 or more structures that have been condemned by the Building and Zoning Department have either been sold or repaired.  At this time, no county monies have been set aside for the County to remove such structures.

Supervisor  Rivers was concerned about whether or not the amended ordinance would allow the County to step in only if there is an imminent danger to the public.  He does not see that in this amended ordinance.  With that terminology not being in the ordinance, he feels that the County would be faced with the task of tearing down these buildings and absorbing the cost.  Attorney Mullins noted that it may not depend on identifying the structure as an urgent danger.   With this amendment, the County will be able to take the owners to court at which time a lien can be placed on the property to motivate the owners to remove, renovate, or sell the property.  Also, the Board needs to set a policy on demolition to be approved with the proposed amended ordinance.  

After further discussion, Attorney Mullins asked the Board to consider setting a public hearing on the proposed ordinance for the May meeting to get citizens comments.

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to set a public hearing on May 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM to receive citizens’ comments on the proposed amendment to Ordinance #1-1995 on removal / repair of unsafe buildings.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  BUDGET AMENDMENTS

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the budget amendments as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT COMMUNITY POLICY AND MANAGEMENT BOARD

Bob Adkins nominated Kenneth M. Taylor to the Community Policy and Management Board.
Ronnie Shortt made a motion that nominations cease.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.   Kenneth Taylor was appointed by acclamation.

Steve Bates nominated Jennifer Lilly to the Community Policy and Management Board.
Ronnie Shortt made a motion that nominations cease.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.   Jennifer Lilly was appointed by acclamation.

IN RE:  STANDARDS COMMITTEE (911)

Bob Adkins nominated Grant Kilgore for re-appointment to the 911 Standards Committee.
Ronnie Shortt made a motion that nominations cease.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.   Grant Kilgore was re-appointed by acclamation.

IN RE:  CLOSE SESSION

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to go into close session as permitted by the Code of Virginia per the following Code Sections:

  • Section 2.2-3711(A)(6)  Investing of public funds
  •  (A)(7)  Consultation with legal counsel
  •  (A)(1)  Personnel

The motion was unanimously approved.

Following close session, a motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to reconvene the regular meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION CERTIFICATION FOR  CLOSE SESSION

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to approve the resolution certifying that only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements as were identified in the motion convening the close meeting were heard or discussed by the Board of Supervisors.  The motion was unanimously approved by roll call vote.

RESOLUTION #______2017

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

IN RE:  SHERIFF’S OFFICE – VACANT POSITION

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to authorize the Sheriff to fill the vacant County position in his office.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ADJOURN

There being no further business to come before the Board, a motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Steve Bates, to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 PM.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ATTEST:                                                                    WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

___________________________________                   _____________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                                                        Dana G. Kilgore, Chairperson

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