The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular Meeting on August 3, 2017 at 6:00 PM in the School Board Education Center located at 628 Lake Street in Wise. The following members were present:
Honorable Dana G. Kilgore – Chairperson ABSENT
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr. – Vice-Chair
Honorable Virginia Meador Shannon C. Scott- County Administrator
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert E. Adkins – members of said Board and
David L. Cox – Finance Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Bob Adkins led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.
A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the agenda as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.
ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Supervisor Robbins reiterated his concern for safety on the road from Tacoma to High Knob because of the steep drop off. Guardrails are desperately needed in that area.
Donny Necessary, Bristol District Planner, said he would bring this need to Allen Sumpter’s attention.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – BEER & WINE SALES ON SUNDAY
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments on an amendment to Wise County Ordinance on Sale of Beer & Wine on Sunday.
Billy Bartlett stated that there was no need for a public hearing on this matter because this is a choice of the people. This item should be put on the ballot for the people to decide.
Attorney Mullins stated that this is an amendment to a County ordinance, and it is the Board’s policy to have a public hearing for public input on any amendments to County ordinances.
Suzanne Lawson, owner of MountainRose Vineyard and Winery, stated that she & her family opened the Winery in 2005 to serve the people in our region and to promote tourism in Wise County. She noted that Wine sales promote tourism, and due to the “no sale” of beer & wine on Sunday, their business has suffered loss as well as Wise County. All towns and cities within Wise County allow alcohol sales on Sunday, and so do the surrounding Dickenson and Russell Counties as well as some nearby Kentucky counties and towns, which are the result of recent ordinance and legislative changes. Because of this restriction, the Winery is losing sales and the County is losing tax revenue.
She asked the Board to favorably consider adding this to the November 2017 ballot to hear from the citizens of Wise County on removing this restriction.
There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding the proposed E-911 road name addition of ... Faith Farms Lane located on the road off of Alleghany Road in Coeburn.
There being no public comment regarding the proposed addition, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: MECC ACTIVITIES UPDATE
Dr. Kristen Westover, newly appointed President for MECC, provided the Board with a background of her journey to becoming President of MECC. She voiced her love for Wise County, and her desire to help grow Wise County economy.
Dr. Westover gave a brief update on class enrollment and classes that are being held to provide training for the loss of jobs in our area; especially coal miners.
IN RE: INNOVATION HIGHWAY UPDATE
Bristol VDOT representatives Nick Donahue, Deputy Secretary of Transportation and Chad Tucker, Assistant State Planner, provided a power point presentation on Virginia’s SMART SCALE Prioritization Process, the Reformed Funding Formulas, and explained how the SMART SCALE scoring factors work. They also reviewed the SMART SCALE Measure Development, which is based on safety and economic development.
Mr. Donahue explained the department’s SMART SCALE Project scoring System, and why the local proposal for the Innovation Highway Project did not do well in the 2017 funding cycle. This project having an estimated cost of $77M could only have gotten state funding if the County contributed $47M. He noted that one thing that hurt the project was that it did not list any economic development projects that the road would serve, which is a big factor in this new scoring system. The Innovation Highway Project is extremely expensive, and that is another factor in getting funded. There is only so much money available, which is not enough to meet all the needs.
Supervisor Robbins voiced his concern for improvements which would allow for better access to UVA-Wise and the Tech Park. He feels that the local officials can work with VDOT to reduce the cost of the proposed project for a more feasible project.
Mr. Donahue stated that VDOT is willing to work with the County on any changes they wish to make on its application for funding. However, making improvements to an existing road is less expensive than building a new one.
The General Assembly in 2014 passed legislation, which led to revamping of VDOT’s funding formula. However, at this point, the funding requests outweigh the amount of funding available.
Supervisor Shortt stated that the SMART SCALE Project scoring does not help Southwest Virginia . Without the roads, new businesses will not come into this area.
The State Transportation Board is expected to adopt the SMART SCALE policy changes in October, and the next funding round is in September 2018.
IN RE: HYDROELECTRIC PUMPED STORAGE FACILITY
Delegates Terry Kilgore and Todd Pillion, addressed the Board regarding a proposed hydroelectric pumped storage facility for Southwest Virginia localities. He stated that during the 2017 session, the Virginia General Assembly recognized the value of pumped hydroelectric storage projects by passing Senate Bill 1418 and House Bill 1760. These bills authorize electric utilities to apply to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to construct pumped hydroelectric storage facilities in Virginia’s coalfield region. At least part of the energy stored in such facilities must be generated by renewable resources. This legislation was approved by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and became law on July 1, 2017.
The coalfield region is made up of the counties of Russell, Tazewell, Dickenson, Buchanan, Lee, Wise, and Scott, as well as the City of Norton.
Delegate Kilgore explained the mechanics of the pumped hydroelectric storage facility, and noted that the pumped hydroelectric storage is the only form of very large-scale energy storage commercially available at the present time.
He further explained that the proposed facility offers the opportunity to bring jobs and economic growth to Wise County and our region. With this being a regional cooperation effort by means of sharing of any tax revenues, and cost derived from the proposed facility, our citizens would benefit as well as our local governments in the region.
After conducting a preliminary review of potential sites for the proposed storage facility in the coalfield region, Dominion Energy Virginia has narrowed down the site candidates. Dominion Energy Virginia is currently preparing Preliminary Permit Applications (PPAs) for the remaining sites, and intends to file the PPAs with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the next few months. At this point, Dominion Energy Virginia will begin pre-feasibility work to further reduce the numbers of potential sites. Once the pre-feasibility work is complete, and if it is determined that construction of a facility is practical, then a pre-application will be filed with FERC to further review the site. The pre-application does not commit Dominion Energy Virginia.
Delegate Kilgore asked the Board to consider adopting the proposed resolution supporting the concept of revenue and cost sharing among the City and county governments that would be derived from the storage facility, and move forward with the project.
Bill Murray, a representative of Dominion Energy, stated that incorporating solar facilities would provide a way to store solar energy. He explained the importance of solar energy, and the many benefits it would bring to our region.
Dan Poteet, a representative of Dominion Energy, stated that a pumped hydroelectric facility would be a $1.5B - $2.5B project, which is important for the region’s governments to share the revenue. This regional concept will bring jobs and strengthen the economy.
Billy Bartlett, owner of Bartlett’s Heating and Cooling in Wise, spoke in support of the hydroelectric pumped storage facility, which would provide jobs for our citizens.
Walter Crouse, resident of Hurricane, spoke in support of placing the beer and wine Sunday sales on the ballot for citizens to decide whether they want that or not. He voiced his support for the winery. Regarding the proposed Innovation Highway, Mr. Crouse felt that another route should be considered, which would more likely be funded, and would help alleviate the traffic problem that now exists at the Tech Park and UVA-Wise.
There being no further 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: SHERIFF’S OFFICE - VACANT DISPATCH POSITION
Authorized the Sheriff to fill the Dispatch Position that has been vacated due to retirement
IN RE: DEED OF EASEMENT --TACOMA SCHOOL SEWER
Authorized the execution of the Deed of Easement for the Tacoma School Sewer
IN RE: TREASURER’S REQUEST TO CLOSE BANK ACCOUNTS
Authorized the Treasurer to close the following bank accounts: Guest River Eisenhower Road Sewer Project, Hamilton Town Sewer Project, Roda, Osaka, and Stonega Project, Stephens Sewer Project, and Wise Inn Project
The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.
IN RE: E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION
A public hearing was held on August 3, 2017, to receive citizens’ comments regarding the addition of E-911 road name Faith Farms Lane located off of Alleghany Road in Coeburn. There were no public comments regarding the proposed name addition.
A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to approve the addition of E-911 Road name Faith Farms Lane as presented. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: REFERENDUM ON BEER & WINE SALES ON SUNDAY
A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Bob Adkins, to authorize the County Attorney to file a petition with the Court requesting a referendum on Sunday Beer and Wine sales be placed on the November 7, 2017 Ballot. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: PUMP AND HAUL – BRIAN BLANTON
A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the request from Brian Blanton to be added to the County’s Pump and Haul permit for the purpose of providing sewer to property located at 9713 Norton Coeburn Road. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: APPOINTMENT – COMMUNITY POLICY & MANAGENT BOARD
Ronnie Shortt nominated John McCarroll for re-appointment to the Community Policy Management Board. J.H. Rivers made a motion that nominations cease. Fred Luntsford seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved, and John McCarroll was re-appointed to the Community Policy Management Board for a term of four years.
IN RE: APPOINTMENT – LONESOME PINE YOUTH SERVICES BOARD
Robby Robbins nominated Louvina Ball and Ashlyn Jones for appointment to the LP Youth Services Board. Ronnie Shortt made a motion that nominations cease. Fred Luntsford seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved and Louvina Ball and Ashlyn Jones were appointed to the LP Youth Services Board for a term to expire upon their graduation.
IN RE: APPOINTMENT-SOUTHWEST VA COMMUNITY CRIMINAL JUSTICE BOARD
Ronnie Shortt nominated David Cox for re-appointment to the SWV Criminal Justice Board. Bob Adkins made a motion that nominations cease. Fred Luntsford seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved and David Cox was re-appointed to the SWV Community Criminal Justice Board for a term of 2 years.
IN RE: APPOINTMENT-WISE COUNTY TOURISM COMMITTEE
A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Virginia Meador, to re-appoint Stan Botts to the Wise County Tourism Committee for a term of four years. The motion was unanimously approved.
A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to table Roddy Addington’s appointment on the Wise County Tourism Committee until the September meeting. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: CLOSE SESSION
A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Robby Robbins, to go into close session as permitted by 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 Bob Adkins, seconded by Robby Robbins, to reconvene the regular meeting. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: RESOLUTION CLOSE SESSION CERTIFICATION
A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, 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 discussed or heard 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: AGENDA AMENDMENT
A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Robby Robbins, to amend the agenda by adding two (2) items for consideration by the Board: (1) Authorize the Sheriff to fill the vacant Law Enforcement position in his department, and (2) add the Resolution of Support for the Hydroelectric Pumped Storage Facility.
Aye- Fred Luntsford Abstain: Virginia Meador
J. H. Rivers
Virginia Meador *
Affidavit of clarification that voice abstention was in error and was intended as “aye” vote.
IN RE: SHERIFF DEPARTMENT – VACANT POSITION
A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Robby Robbins, to authorize the Sheriff to fill the Law Enforcement position that is vacant in his department. The motion was unanimously approved.
IN RE: RESOLUTION – HYDROELECTRIC PUMPED STORAGE FACILITY
A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to approve the resolution supporting the hydroelectric pumped storage and revenue sharing concept.
Aye- Fred Luntsford Abstain: Virginia Meador
J. H. Rivers
RESOLUTION # -2017
(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)
There were few comments from Board members.
A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to adjourn the meeting at 8:47 PM. The motion was unanimously approved
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
David L. Cox, Interim Clerk Dana G. Kilgore, Chairperson