Board of Supervisors - September 13, 2007 Regular Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular meeting on Thursday, September 13, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse.  The following were present:

Honorable Ronald L. Shortt – Chairman
Honorable Steve Bates – Vice-Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable John W. Peace II
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Leland Branham
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Fred Luntsford – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – Assistant County Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary


Glen A. Skinner – County Administrator


T. G. Branson led in prayer.


All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.


A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the minutes as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.


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


Delegate Bud Phillips addressed the Board regarding the need for countywide sewer.  He praised the Board for its continued efforts to move forward with water and sewer to further economic development growth and housing for this area.  Wise County has all the key ingredients to be the business, technology, and medical community of all of Southwest Virginia.  However, the number one infrastructure issue is public sewer and without it growth and expansion cannot be accomplished.  He asked the Board to stand with him, the PSA, and Congressman Boucher to work together to build the infrastructure necessary to make Wise County one of the most pro-active, progressive and prosperous county in the region. 

In the last session of the General Assembly, it re-routed $17 million of State funds to the Clean Southern Rivers Act.  Those funds are going to be available to meet needs such as this and hopefully will be expanded with additional State funds.

Delegate Phillips asked the Board to consider putting together the frame work of an overall committee throughout the region of all the towns and city on the issue of regional sewer in cooperation to enhance the abilities of everyone to provide sewer and to further look at the feasibility of mapping out a plan of what the county and the towns, can handle and can’t handle.  After the Committee has been formed, a meeting should be scheduled for discussion.  One of the options for moving quickly on sewer is bond financing.  Put a road map together for Wise County with all the jurisdictions participating on how the sewer issue can be handled and funded.  He stated that he would help the County thru the General Assembly as well as State or Federal agencies for additional dollars for this project.

One of the visions Delegate Phillips has for Wise County is that it will become the Regions Medical Center.  One of the side benefits for developing medical infrastructure is better quality care and it creates good paying jobs.  Several medical agencies have been approached and said they would come to this region with their resources, doctors and specialists when the opportunity becomes available.


Delegate Phillips stated that through the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the University’s School of Continuing Education and the Commissioner of Revenue Association across Virginia, a program has been established whereby the Commissioner of Revenue and its employees can attend various classes and workshops to learn and gain the skills and competency to serve the public and the County.  The State Compensation Board shall prescribe the standards to be met by Commissioners and Deputies in the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to attain the designation of Master Commissioner or Master Deputy Commissioner of the Revenue.

Commissioner of the Revenue Doug Mullins, Jr. was presented the Master Commissioner of the Revenue Certificate.

The following individuals were presented the Master Deputy Commissioner Certificate:

Rhonda Sturgill – Master Deputy Commissioner
Rose Mary Holbrook – Master Deputy Commissioner
John Mullins – Master Deputy Commissioner

Commissioner of the Revenue Doug Mullins praised his employees for their hard work and dedication to achieve this certification which will earn them an increase in pay in the next budget cycle.   

Commissioner Mullins also thanked the Board for its progressive, proactive stance that it  always takes with reference to education in allowing the constitutional officers the funding to educate its staff. 


Don Allen, Law Enforcement Liaison – Virginia Highway Safety Office, addressed the Board stating that the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police annually sponsors the Virginia Law Enforcement Challenge, an innovative program that provides an avenue for healthy competition and a vehicle to stimulate a proactive professional response to traffic safety issues within the police and sheriff’s agencies throughout the Commonwealth.  This program judges each agency on training provided to its members and its success with public education and community law enforcement activities.  Each agency competes only against similar law enforcement agencies in Virginia based on the number of sworn members.

The Wise County Sheriff’s Office applied for consideration for this National Law Enforcement Challenge award for the FY 2006 year of which they were a 3rd place winner in their category.

Mr. Allen stated that it had been a pleasure to work with and support the Wise County Sheriff’s Office and they are a well respected by fellow law enforcement agencies throughout Virginia.

The National Law Enforcement Challenge Award was presented to Sheriff Oakes and his staff.

Major Gene Vanover stated that these awards represent data that has been compiled for 2006.  At this point in time, Sergeant Charlie Sanders is being presented an award by “MAD” for his efforts in apprehending and charging those offenders who operate motor vehicles illegally on our highways under the influence of alcohol and drugs.


Walter Crouse spoke briefly on the need for a recycling center.  He noted that there is a  company that will provide a baler for plastics but the baler must be housed inside.  He asked the Board to consider a building for recycling.

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


Residency Administrator T. G. Branson reported that later in the month there will be a temporary closure of Kent Junction Bridge to allow the pouring of the new bridge deck.  


Mr. Branson explained that the purpose for the advertisement on a “willingness” to hold a public hearing is to provide the opportunity for a public hearing if the citizens so desire. 
He stated that VDOT does not have any issues with the proposed abandonment.

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Leland Branham, to approve the advertisement for a “willingness” to hold a public hearing on a Proposed Abandonment of a section of Rt. 600.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Board members provided Mr. Branson with needs in their district for VDOT review.

Supervisor Meador asked that a speed study be done on Tate Springs Road in Big Stone Gap.

A motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by Bob Adkins, to authorize a speed study on Tate Springs Road located on Rt. 612.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Robby Robbins, to approve the following items under the consent agenda:


The supplemental resolution for financing capital items was approved.

RESOLUTION #                         2007

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


The resolution opposing the propose closing of the Norton VEC Office was approved.

RESOLUTION #                     2007

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


The proclamation proclaiming the month of September 2007 as National Preparedness month was approved.
(Said Proclamation is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)


Set a public hearing (October 4 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request from Phillip Hall for an amendment to a Special Use Permit for the purpose of expanding his existing auto repair business.

Set a public hearing (October 4 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed amendment to the Animal & Fowl Ordinance.

Ratify the notice of a public hearing set for September 19, 2007 @2:00 p.m. on the County’s intent to file an application for designation of a Virginia Enterprise Zone within the County.

The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.


A public hearing was held on September 6, 2007 to receive citizen’s comments regarding nine (9) E-911 road name additions.  There was no opposition to the proposed names.

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the nine (9) additional E-911 road names as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved,


A public hearing was held on September 6, 2007 to receive citizens’ comments regarding a proposal from Estes Brothers Construction to close a section of Rt. 610 for the removal of a rock cliff.  There was no opposition to the proposed proposal.

A motion was made by John Peace, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the proposal as submitted by Estes Brothers Construction to close a section of Rt. 610.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A public hearing was held on September 6, 2007 to receive citizens’ input regarding a propose Ordinance Establishing an E-911 Addressing System.  There was no public opposition to the proposed ordinance.

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the Ordinance Establishing an E-911 Addressing System in Wise County.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ORDINANCE #                         2007

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


Chairman Shortt stated that the requests such as the one for repairs to the Tacoma Community Center are made during the budget process.  Since this request was not made at that time, no action will be taken by the Board.


Supervisor Branham stated that he had received a call from a couple of citizens who owns property near the Animal Shelter and they would be willing to build the building and lease to the County.  He asked Mr. Scott if this would be a viable option.

Assistant Administrator Shannon Scott stated that for some time, various departments have utilized the former Buster Brown building for storage of “off-site” items.  The Building & Grounds Department has utilized a small area for storage of lawn equipment used to maintain the grounds around the courthouse and the various community centers owned by the County and building materials for various needs.

Prior to the Buster Brown building, for the past 20 years, the County has used the old metal building that was used as an office and repair shop when the old Dotson Creek landfill was in operation.  It has since been used to store surplus fixtures, equipment and various other items.  Because of the age of the building, the roof leaks and there have been theft problems because the building is in a remote area. Currently Litter Control & Maintenance are using the building to store certain items.

For the last few years, the County has budgeted $150,000 for the purpose of constructing a facility in the Esserville Industrial Park on a piece of undevelopable land to provide storage for the needs of the county offices, Maintenance, Litter, Sheriff’s Department and HazMat.  This item has been removed from the budget each year because there has been usable storage in the Buster Brown building.

Since the Buster Brown building has been successfully marketed, it’s imperative that a building be constructed before the winter months set in.  At present time, the Maintenance Department has no place to put their mowing equipment, snow removal equipment and other maintenance materials.

The property at Esserville is centrally located for all the potential users and it will be close to the PSA Office that is currently being constructed which will add to the security of the building.  Regarding the property near the Animal Shelter, it is not conveniently located and for the Maintenance Department to travel back & forth for daily use of needed equipment would be a loss of time that is needed to meet the daily routine.  This would also be inconvenient for those offices that have a need to search for files that have been stored, which is done frequently.
Chairman Shortt stated that this building needs to address several different options to meet the County’s needs. 

There was some discussion that perhaps a Recycling Center could be located near the Blackwood landfill shop to allow for use of the County’s equipment if needed.

Mr. Scott brought to the Board’s attention the estimated cost of $150,000.  In discussion with the Maintenance Superintendent this week, the $150,000 was for a 5,000 sq. ft. facility @ $30.00 a sq. ft.  The Maintenance Superintendent after revisiting his department’s needs would require a 10,000 sq. ft. shop area and for proper storage of records and equipment.  At present, the equipment has been moved from place to place as storage space is being utilized by incoming businesses. 

Mr. Scott further noted that the IDA has agreed to build the facility, arrange for financing and the only thing the County would have to pay is the monthly debt service after which the County could own the building.  There is a possibility of adding to this 10,000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate a Recycling Center.

There was a review of the map showing the area for the proposed facility and the surrounding facilities.

Supervisor Peace asked, regarding the recycling, if equipment would be needed for the big bales and if box trailers would be used or flat beds.
A motion was made by John Peace, seconded by Virginia Meador, to table this request for more information and to authorize the County Administrator to explore further options on the building and bring his findings back to the Board for consideration.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Chairman Shortt noted that this policy will be changing from time to time as needed.

A motion was made by Leland Branham, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the Internal Control Policy as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Leland Branham, to approve the appointees to the Community Criminal Justice Board as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve budget amendment # 8 thru # 11 as follows:

#08      Source of Revenue – Byrne Grant $2,984.00
            Expenditures:  (3102) Sheriff’s Law Enforcement (505409) Police Supplies - $2,984.00

#09      Source of Revenue – Va. St. Social Welfare Funds - <$12,142.00>
            Expenditures:  (5301) Welfare Administration (505610) Contribution to Local Welfare - <$12,142.00>

#10      Source of Revenue – Prior Year Fund Balance - $1,218.43
            Expenditures: (9316) Non-Departmental (509999) Unbudgeted Expenses - $1,218.43

#11      Source of Revenue – Prior Year Fund Balance - $399.00
            Expenditures:  (2103) Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Clerk (507001) Machinery and Equipment - $399.00

The motion to approve the budget amendments #8 thru #11 was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by John Peace, to approve the resolution authorizing the submittal of an application to the Department of Housing and Community Development for a Virginia Enterprise Zone designation in Wise County.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #                          2007

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


Wally Witt, representing the Cumberlands Airport Commission, came before the Board to answer any questions the Board may have regarding the request from the Cumberlands Airport Commission for additional funding for legal expenses.  Mr. Witt referred the Board to a letter in their packet from Donnie Rose, Chairman of the Cumberlands Airport Commission, dated August 28, 2007, which read:

“The Cumberlands Airport Commission is in need of additional funding to cover recent extraordinary legal expenses.  These expenses have been incurred over the past several years due to several non-operational occurrences, which is not expected to re-occur in the future.  Below are the reasons for the extra expenses:

  1. Even though the Commission was the petitioner in a condemnation proceeding in the early 1970’s, the land that was granted to the Cumberlands Airport Commission was incorrectly deeded to Wise County and the City of Norton.  A few years ago, without the knowledge or concurrence of the Commission, twelve (12) acres of this land was given to the Sykes Corporation.  Another small tract of land was used to build a water storage tank.  To correct this, required a great deal of negotiation with the FAA.  Part of the resolution involved returning the remaining property to the airport.  Unfortunately, the returned land included the water tank property.  After a lengthy FAA release process, we currently are concluding the transfer of this property to the Wise IDA.
  2. Since the inception of the airport in 1958, there have been adjacent landowners who have had taxiway access to the runway for their aircraft.  Over the years, this has been cause for concern by the FAA and the Virginia Department of Aviation.  There is a concern when an adjacent landowner of any public airport has access to a runway.  There can be abuses by what they term “through-the-fence” operations, and there can be traffic problems while taxiing.  In the l980’s there was an attempt to license the access, but no official action was taken.  Part of the negotiations in item “A” above required the airport to obtain strict and enforceable user access agreements with the landowners.  Due to an initial misinterpretation, this took over four years to resolve.  It has now been resolved and both the FAA and the VDOA have reinstated the airport standing for receiving grants.
  3. Our previous representative on the Virginia Aviation Board, Emmitt Yeary of Abingdon, made an accusation that members of the Commission had conspired to give our adjacent landowners special consideration and privileges in return for unspecified remuneration.  At the suggestion of counsel, we presented all of the facts to the U.S. Attorney, and were completely exonerated by his office.

The extra legal expense for dealing with these problems over the past four (4) years has exceeded our funding.  Since we budget modest amounts for legal work, it is now faced with not being able to keep up with normal operating expenses and its normal local share of grant funding.  The Commission is unable to pay all of what it owes the consulting engineer, Delta Airport Consultants, Inc.  They have just completed an Airport Layout Plan, which was mandated by the construction of an instrument landing system.

We feel that Wise County and the IDA can justify reimbursing the airport for these extraordinary legal expenses.  Wise County and its IDA used twelve (12) acres of the airport’s property for industrial recruitment in the Technology Park.  At that time, the rest of the property owned by the IDA had no suitable building sites.  Their property had been strip mined and could not support buildings.  To this end, the airport’s property was used successfully, and has been the springboard for follow-on development of the Park.  For proper fire suppression, a water tank was constructed on airport property, and must be transferred to the IDA who in turn will transfer it to the Town of Wise.  Wise will administer it as part of their water system.

We have explored other means of funding this shortfall and have concluded the following:

In addition to the water tank property, there are three (3) tracts of airport property, which will be sold to the IDA.  However, the money for these properties can be used only in conjunction with projects, which have been prior approved by the FAA and the VDOA.  The money cannot be used for operations or past projects.

While there was an initial indication that Dickenson County would be willing to fund the Commission this year with $30,000, that has since been rescinded, and there will be no opportunity for them to fund the airport until their next fiscal year.

None of the newly added towns represented on the Commission will be able to make any significant monetary contributions this year.  Norton, Wise and Coeburn will continue to provide funding while the towns of Appalachia, Big Stone Gap, Pound, Clintwood, and St. Paul do not have us in their budget.

We have no one else to turn to, and we have a critical need to be reimbursed for these extraordinary legal expenses.

I am therefore, respectfully requesting that the Wise County Board of Supervisors consider and enact funding for the Cumberlands Airport Commission in the amount of $45,000.  I would be happy to provide you with detailed general ledger excerpts and accounts payable schedules.”

There was some discussion on the Airport budget, its daily operations and other expenses.

Mr. Witt advised that the Airport Commission funding from Wise County was cut to $45,000 at one time and for the past three (3) years it has been $90,000.  He noted that several requests have been made for additional funding, which has been denied.   

Mr. Scott stated that the previous requests from the Commission for an increase in its budget was to restore the funding to the Airport to the level it had been in the past.  

Mr. Witt was asked if other financial supporters have been approached to offset these expenses. 

He stated that there is no other source at this time.  However, the other towns not presently supporting the Airport will be approached at budget time for assistance.   

There was some discussion on the possibility of “revamping” the composure of the Cumberlands Airport Commission and include some enforcement on participation.

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford to table this request for thirty days to allow the County Attorney to meet with the County Administrator to gather all the detailed information possible to assist the Board in making a decision on this request.  John Peace seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Leland Branham nominated Harold L. Ringley to replace Mike O’Donnell on the Planning District I Community Services Board.

Virginia Meador nominated Loretta Stapleton to replace Nancy Reece on the Planning District I Community Services Board.

Robby Robbins made a motion that nominations cease.

Harold L. Ringley and Loretta Stapleton were appointed by acclamation.


A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to reappoint Elsie Kern to the Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Leland Branham, seconded by Bob Adkins, to move the October Workshop meeting to the Estonoa Learning Center located in St. Paul.  The motion was unanimously approved.


There were brief comments from Board members.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by John Peace, to adjourn the meeting.

ATTEST:                                             WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

__________________________            ________________________________________

Glen A. Skinner, Clerk              Ronald L. Shortt, Chairman

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