Board of Supervisors - March 7, 2002 Workshop Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop Meeting on Thursday, March 7, 2002, in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse.  The following were present:

Honorable Douglas Stallard - Chairman

Honorable Jeffrey Salyers - Vice-Chairman

Honorable Douglas Mullins

Honorable Edgar Mullins

Honorable Virginia Meador

Honorable Betty Cornett

Honorable Robert Adkins

Honorable Robby Robbins - members of said Board and

Edward L. Sealover - County Administrator

Shannon C. Scott - Assistant County Administrator

Karen Mullins - County Attorney

Annette Underwood-Executive Secretary



Rev. T. G. Branson, Pastor Coeburn Church of God, led the Board in prayer.




Chairman Stallard asked that the following items be added to the agenda:

  1. Blaine Delaney and Brian Schmidt- Presentation on Storm Water Management Practices
  2. Appoint representative from County to attend meetings to help in developing an ordinance for storm water management practices
  3. (Consent Agenda)(Item 9)Transfer from reserve for emergencies contingency to the Commissioner of Revenue for P/T line item



Each of the following people were given a pin for 30 years of service to the County:

  1. Jeannie Mullins - Commissioner of Revenue's Office
  2. Gracie Hensley - Circuit Court Clerk's Office
  3. Sheila Shupe - Circuit Court Judge's Office
  4. Annette Underwood - County Administrator's Office


Each of the following people were given a pin for 25 years of service to the County:

  1. Connie Austin - Sheriff's Dept
  2. Ernie Caldwell - Sheriff's Dept.
  3. Eddie Kiser - Sheriff's Dept.
  4. Launa Lawson - Sheriff's Dept.
  5. Joe Kirk - Circuit Court Clerk's Office
  6. Terry Short - Circuit Court Clerk's Office
  7. John Burgett -Public Works Dept.
  8. Tom Sparks, Sr. - Public Works Dept.

Chairman Stallard congratulated each employee for his/her dedicated service to Wise County.



Ron Flanary of LENOWISCO introduced Lou Ann Johnson, a staff member of LENOWISCO who is steering heading the South Fork Water Project, to give the Board an update on the project.  Mr. Flanary made a few favorable remarks regarding the Richmond trip noting that he felt the trip was a success and beneficial for the County.

Ms. Johnson presented the Board with a map and a summary sheet on the status of the water project with a brief review of all funding sources.  She asked that the Board consider adopting a resolution of support for funding from the DHCD for this project.

Edgar Mullins noted that the communities of Arrow Head and Hayes Branch were not included on the map for water.

Mr. Flanary stated that these communities could be added if there is interest from the community residents.

Jeff Salyers expressed his concern that perhaps the line size was not sufficient for fire protection

Ron Flanary stated that it is his understanding that this system is designed for full fire protection.

Jeff Salyers asked the status of funding for the Bull Run Project.

Mr. Flanary noted that Bull Run was not included in the 97 study due to lack of interest at that time.  However, the PER has been approved for Bull Run with hope that the funding will be forthcoming.

Edgar Mullins presented an editorial from the Bristol paper regarding AML funds in the amount of $1.3 billion.  He asked that each Board member be given a copy of this editorial.



Blaine Delaney, representing the Black Diamond Resource Conservation and Development Council, stated that their primary purpose is to focus on improving water quality in the region and promoting environmental education.  He explained their goals and achievements with much improvement to the air and water quality.

Mr. Delaney introduced Brian Schmidt, Storm Water Management Specialist, with the New River Highlands RC&D.  Mr. Schmidt presented a power point presentation on Southwest Virginia Storm Water Management Project, its funding sources, laws and regulations.  He asked that the Board consider appointing one person from each interested locality to participate in a planning committee.  Mr. Schmidt stated that this is an opportunity for southwest Virginia communities to update their knowledge of storm water management and to develop tools that they may wish to use in the future and to further realize an overall cost savings.



A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens' comments regarding the performance of Adelphia and Charter Communications under the terms of the current cable television franchise agreement.

A letter regarding the franchise renewal was received from Circuit Court Clerk Jack Kennedy since he was unable to attend the public hearing due to a schedule conflict requiring him to be in Richmond. 

As a consumer of Adelphia products, Mr. Kennedy urged the Board to require in its next cable franchise agreement the following:

  1. The rapid optional offering a two-way broadband cable modems to enable Wise County consumers to have access to the Internet through its "Power Link" service throughout Wise County within the next l8-to-24 months; and
  2. Retention of the PEG channels for Mountain Empire Community College and University of Virginia's College at Wise along with a dedicated government PEG channel for Wise County to share with local municipal governments for announcements at no cost; and
  3. Inclusion of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration television or NASA channel to the current line-up of programming.  NASA provides valuable technology programs that would be of benefit to the education of the youth and all of Wise County citizens; and
  4. 1-Net or a fiber backbone to link municipal and County government offices in an "Intranet" for enhanced broadband telecommunication services to move data and video such as a linkage between the proposed Regional Jail and the Court and/or the Court and the State Maximum Security Prisons at no cost; and
  5. Require Adelphia to provide the county a digital map of is service area enabling independent review of the cable in ratio to houses and other county planning activities (a point in the current agreement).

Jeff Salyers and Robby Robbins noted that they had received calls regarding the recent increase in the Adelphia Cable rates.  Mr. Salyers said his complaint was not only the recent increase but his constituent was also told by an Adelphia employee that the rates would continue to increase until it reached $40.00 per month with no increase in services

Chairman Stallard noted that the Board nor the towns have any control over the cable rates.  However, competition among cable companies could keep the rates lower.

Edgar Mullins voiced his concern regarding the senior citizens and their inability to pay the rate increases.  He also asked that the Cable Committee attempt to get the number of houses per mile reduced.

Chairman Stallard advised Mr. Mullins that the Cable Committee has requested the number of homes per mile be reduced to 15.  Another request from citizens is a " Life Line Tier", which is a basic channel service.  The senior citizens have also been a concern of the committee. 

Robby Robbins asked if the "Self Help" program whereby residents living in an area of less than 20 homes per mile were willing to share with the extra costs for their cable, would Adelphia be willing to work with them.

C.K. Allen, General Manager for Adelphia, said that Adelphia did not consider Internet services as part of the Franchise Agreement.  However, this has been negotiated and added to the draft agreement as requested.   The internet and digital services will be packaged as well as other programming services that will save the citizens money. Regarding the increase to $40.00, Mr. Allen said the rates on cable is based on need as increases are passed on to them and/or incurred by their company.  He noted, too, that he will look at the "remote" areas on a case by case basis for possible cable.

Doug Mullins asked when modem services were going to be installed by Charter and the cost of said services.

Dale Walker, technical supervisor for Charter Cable, explained that his manager was out of town and unable to attend the meeting.  Regarding modems and prices, Mr. Walker said he was not familiar with that portion of the system.

Robby Robbins asked Mr. Walker if Charter would be willing to work with the residents with less than 20 homes with the residents sharing in the extra cost.

Mr. Walker stated that there was no area in Charter's territory at this time that would fall in that category.

Chairman Stallard said he would bring these questions before the Cable Committee at its next meeting.

Nick Edwards a small business owner in Wise and a professor at MECC brought some of his net working students with him to see the government process and to hear Mr. Allen's status on cable modem access.  He expressed the need for high speed internet access and the need for jobs in this area for students that will soon be graduating with a degree in net working.    

Andrew Morgan advised that he had circulated a petition with a response of 103 signatures from citizens of Wise County wanting DSL line.  He stressed the need to have this type of technology in the area for those that are training in this field.

William Murphy, a disabled Wise County citizen, voiced his concern regarding the rate increases.  Being a single parent and living on disability made it impossible to pay the higher cable rates.

Chris Williams spoke briefly on the internet gaming center that would be good for the youth.

There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.



A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens comments regarding the proposed E-911 road name additions/changes as follows:

  1. The Pines Lane - located off Powell Valley Road in the West Norton Section of Wise County
  2. Copperhead Road - Located in the Crab Orchard Section of Coeburn
  3. Banner Road A portion of the existing Bull Run Road located in the Banner section of Coeburn
  4. Bull Run Road - This section of four-lane located in Coeburn is the unnamed new bypass of Rte. 58 in Coeburn

Virginia Adkins, representing the community of Banner, voiced the community's support for naming the section of Bull Run Road located in the Banner section of Coeburn to Banner Road.  She said this help the police and rescue squads to find people living in the Banner section.  A petition was presented requesting this change.



Carl Stidham asked the status of the Day Town Road.

Attorney Mullins advised that she had attempted once again to talk with Ms. Freeman and was unable to find her at home.  

Mr. Branson reported that there is another property owner on the right hand side of the road and a fence on the left side of which one or the other would have to agreed to give the necessary R-O-W needed for a road.

Chairman Stallard noted that this makes two more obstructions that must be addressed before this road can be considered for the secondary road system.

There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.



Mr. Branson advised that if the Board wishes to participate in the Revenue Sharing Program a letter of intent for the $500,000 matching funds is needed prior to March 30, 2002.  


Mr. Branson gave an update regarding ongoing road projects throughout the County.

Board members presented Mr. Branson with several items to be considered by VDOT prior to the next meeting.



Chairman Stallard reviewed each item listed under the consent agenda.



  1. Wingate Appraisal Services (Presentation next week)
  2. Public hearing-proposed CDBG application for South Fork Water Project
  3. Authorize Administrator to Sign contract with Custom Communications for services related to CATV Franchise Agreement renewal
  4. Appointments
  5. Presentation on Financial Condition by County Administrator (March 12)
  6. Resolution establishing real/personal property tax rate for FY 2002-03
  7. Resolution-CDBG funding for the South Fork Water Project
  8. Fiscal status report through February (March 12)
  9. County Administrator's Report (March 12)



Administrator Sealover gave a power point presentation regarding ongoing revenues and expenditures for FY 01-02 and FY 02-03.



Attorney Mullins presented each Board member with a memo regarding County owned roads.  Ms. Mullins stated that the law no longer allows a county to own roads.  The Byrd Act of l932 revoked the right of a county to maintain a road system and develop the secondary system of state highways.  The secondary system is controlled, supervised and maintained by the Department of Transportation.  The County contributes to the costs associated with making additions to the secondary system and has authority to recommend specific streets for inclusion in the system.  The County surrenders all control, including maintenance upkeep and repair, to VDOT when streets or roads are taken into the secondary system of highways.

However, this issue is complicated by the fact that a county may have public or dedicated rights of way which are not taken into the secondary system.  When a right of way is conveyed to the County, a "fee simple" ownership is established and jurisdiction to control the use of the "right-of-way" is placed with the county.  Such conveyance in and of itself does not create a responsibility to maintain or improve the right of way.

Specifically, when a right of way is conveyed to the county, the county must affirmatively accept such conveyance or dedication and designate or use such right of way as a public way.  Should such designation or use not be made, the mere conveyance to the county is not binding and imposes no duties or obligations on the county.  Should such designation or use be made, the County may determine to what extent it will maintain or improve the right of way.



Brief comments were made by Board members.

Edgar Mullins commented briefly on an editorial written in the Bristol paper regarding AML funding.  He asked each Board member to read the article and consider endorsing the article with a resolution at the next meeting.



There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.




_____________________   _________________________

Clerk                               Chairman

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