Board of Supervisors - May 1, 2008 Workshop Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room.  The following were present:

Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador – Vice-Chair
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Steve Bates, members of said Board and
Glen A. Skinner – County Administrator
Shannon C. Scott – Assistant County Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary


Bob Adkins led the Board in prayer.


Everyone led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.


Administrator Skinner asked that the following items be added to the agenda under New Business for consideration by the Board at its next meeting:

  • Tri-State Singing Convention Committee Request for Funding

  • LEPC Appointments


Dr. Terry Suarez, President of MECC, thanked the Board for its continued support of MECC in its endeavors to bring better education to Wise County and the surrounding area.  He briefed the Board on projects ongoing at the college and the new programs that are being offered.


Jackie Darter, Superintendent of Public Works, informed the Board that space in the landfill is nearing its capacity in its present cell and expansion should begin soon.  Construction should begin in 2009 to expand into phase IV to meet all of DEQ requirements.

Bill King, representing Thompson & Litton, stated that the landfill is at a cross roads and at the request of staff he will provide an outline of some of the issues that need to be considered as the next steps are being contemplated. 

T&L has worked on the Blackwood landfill prior to the installation of the first cell in 1990.  The  evaluations that are currently being done by T&L are being provided to the County at no cost.  This will continue, on that basis, if the County so desires, until the Board establishes a positive direction for the landfill.  At the time design services are necessary, T&L understand that their existing agreement with the County probably would not apply and procurement steps would be necessary at which time T&L would respond to an RFP.

With the landfill being full by the end of 2009, there are two basic options available for future solid waste disposal.  Alternative (A) would involve closing the landfill and not expanding into phase IV.  Alternative (B) would involve expansion into phase IV, which is the next phase to be developed.  T&L does not believe there is any compelling case that would be logical to implement alternative (A).  If closure were implemented at this time, it would cost the County approximately $7.37 million.  All waste would be directed to the transfer station which would be problematic because it has been shown that the transfer station cannot reliably handle the entire waste stream on a continuous basis.  This would mean an expansion of the transfer station, and additional tipping fee cost associated with redirecting all the waste to the transfer station.  Also, the County would have the obligation for reclaiming the adjacent high walls next to the landfill. 

Mr. King explained that the landfill was an advantage to the County when the tornado occurred in Big Stone Gap.  Taking all things into consideration it would seem that alternative (B) would be the most logical choice.  The question for alternative (B) is how much landfill liner needs to be installed with that project.  With the current 30,000 tonnage per year going to the transfer station and 15,000 tons per year going into the landfill, a rough estimate would require a 6.2 acre expansion and a preliminary cost of about $3.5 million with a life expectancy of seven years.

With the increase of transportation costs, Mr. King suggested that the Board consider a more comprehensive expansion of the landfill to reduce some of those transportation costs.  Within phases IV and V, the County has the ability to install approximately fourteen to fifteen acres of landfill area that is not within the 100 ft. set back requirement of the Clintwood mine.  This would provide around fourteen to fifteen years of life for the entire waste stream. 

In order to extend phase IV, the Board may consider appointing a committee to address this issue.  With the life expectancy of the landfill being full at the end of 2009, some major timing considerations are of the essence.  Going into phase IV will require a major permit modification by DEQ.  That process should begin in June with submission being made in December of this year.  This would give DEQ from December of 2008 to May of 2009 to issue the permit.  The project could then be bid in May and June of 2009 with construction to follow from June thru December of 2009. 

There was some question as to the use of the landfill at this time and if it is being used more than was anticipated at the inception of the transfer station.

Mr. Darter explained that the landfill is still being used for construction and demolition, for disposal of other debris such as waste from the tornado in Big Stone Gap, larger structures that have been torn down, and excessive waste that cannot be handled by the transfer station.  Dominion power plant has also been a large contributor.  The tornado and the power plant together have taken approximately six months of life from the landfill.  Last year 34,000 tons were shipped out and approximately 9,000 tons in the landfill.  This year, for the landfill, the tonnage is expected to be approximately 12,000 tons.  Mr. Darter further noted that nothing can be burned in the landfill other than brush.  No wood materials of any kind are allowed to be burned.

Supervisor Luntsford stated that he and Bob Adkins were on the previous Landfill Committee and it was their recommendation that the landfill not be closed.  This option was left open in the event something happened and the landfill would be a source for waste in time of need.

With the cost of fuel rising, it was the consensus of the Board to review its options with the landfill.


Art Meade, representing UVA-Wise Weldon Cooper Center, in response to some inquiries of Wise County officials, spoke regarding the sewer needs in the areas of the new Wal-Mart Shopping center, Esserville and Hamilton Town.  There is an opportunity in these areas to go forward with development which is prohibited for lack of sewer service.  With the County lacking the infrastructure to provide sewer, the Town of Wise or the City of Norton would be the source for providing this service.  For the Town of Wise to provide sewer, it would require a pumping system for which a PER has been done to identify related costs.  A memo was provided outlining a scenario that may be considered as a starting point for negotiations with these three (3) parties: the County, the City of Norton, and the Town of Wise.  One possible factor to be considered would be a boundary adjustment with a revenue sharing agreement.  A brief overview of a boundary adjustment and a revenue sharing agreement among the three entities was reviewed.

Mr. Meade noted that services of the Weldon Cooper Center are available to the County at no charge.       

IN RE:  BUDGET FY 2008-2009

Administrator Skinner and Assistant County Administrator Scott presented the Board with a power point presentation on the proposed FY 2008-2009 County budget.

The proposed budget totaled $47,587,827.00, considered $450,000 as anticipated revenue from Dominion Resources and required a re-appropriation from the General Fund of $555,582.00.  This proposal was met with opposition from some Board members who did not like counting Dominion Resources revenue before they are known and re-appropriation of General Fund balance.  They also felt that further savings could be shown.  Chairman Adkins appointed Board members Steve Bates and Dana Kilgore to serve on the Budget Committee.

The staff was asked to meet with and work with the Budget Committee and other Board members to develop a budget that represented the wishes of the Board as stated and removed those items about which the Board members were concerned.  Budget figures are to be brought to the Board at a Recessed meeting to be held on May 22, 2008.


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizen’s comments regarding a proposed amendment to the Central Absentee Voter Election District Ordinance,

General Registrar Tommy Chester explained that the proposed amendment is to allow Wise County to conform and comply with the Code of Virginia, as amended, whereby a central absentee voter election district is established to receive, count and record all absentee ballots voted by registrants of the County of Wise, Virginia, and Towns located therein, in all elections. 

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


Residency Administrator T. G. Branson provided an update on construction ongoing in the County.  He advised that the signs “Pedestrian Crossing” on Pole Bridge Road at the Mountain View Church will be installed soon.

The resolution “Watch for Children” signs were reviewed.

Board members provided needs in their district for VDOT review and response.


Tracie Hall thanked the Board for its support of the Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia in its effort to rebuild lives of those that have brain injury.  Many brain injury survivors can regain a sense of independence and self-sufficiency regardless of the degree of injury, or whether it happened recently or long ago.  Help is given to survivors and families by providing long term assistance in the communities where they live or work.  Survivors’ strengths are assessed and they are connected to resources to help realize their goals.

Andrew Arney and another individual spoke of the support they have received from Brain Injury Services organization, which has helped them to adapt to civilization and to care for themselves.

Helen Butler, Executive Director, briefed the Board on funding sources for their organization.  Each county served is asked to contribute 15% of the cost per client from their county.  For Wise County, the cost is $5,438.00.  Last year the County contributed $1,000 that was much appreciated.  However, she asked the County to consider contributing additional funding for FY 2008-09 since the number of clients has increased for Wise County.


Jack McClanahan, Temporary Chairman of the Southwest Virginia Region Multi-Use Trail Steering Committee, gave the Board an overview of the 2007 Virginia Outdoor Plan which included swimming, bike riding, hiking, and nature study opportunities.  Some of the most popular outdoor activities are walking for pleasure, swimming, jogging, running, fishing, hunting, using a playground, sunbathing and bicycling. He reviewed the Comparative Report on Local Government Revenues and Expenditures per capita spending on parks and recreation for each locality in this region.    

Mr. McClanahan referred to the natural beauty that is abundant here and can be enjoyed in many public recreational areas, parks, and forests.  Regarding the trail initiative, this could be a “jump start” to enhance tourism in this area. 

The development of a multi-use trail system in southwest Virginia, with proper planning and partnerships, could possibly allow for a multi-state trail system that connects trails in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Supervisor Luntsford stated that $50,000 must be raised to pay for the feasibility study for the Multi-use trail.  The Multi-trail project will generate revenue within the County whether or not Wise County participates.  He was of the opinion that Wise County should be the leader in developing this revenue producing giant.  He challenged other counties that are involved in this project to appropriate $5,000 toward this feasibility study.  Mr. Luntsford asked the Board to consider his request and appropriate $5,000 toward this project.

Supervisor Robbins noted the importance of this trail concept which will enhance recreation and promote tourism which will bring in more revenue to this area as well as the surrounding areas.

Walter Crouse, Chairman of Keep Wise County Beautiful Committee, thanked all those that participated in the cleanup on Saturday.  He also spoke on the following:

  • Construction of recycling center at Esserville

  • Pursue sewer installation throughout the County for economic growth

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


Ron Prewitt , Board Chairman of Wellmont, addressed the Board stating that on February 7 Wellmont started the process of requesting a resolution from the Board allowing Wellmont to go forward with a Virginia license which would allow them to do transports from Virginia hospitals to Virginia hospitals and do scene work in any county that did not have a franchise similar to Wise County’s.  A second resolution that is required by Wise County giving permission to operate an emergency service within the County was also being requested.  Due to the delays of getting these resolutions from this Board, it was necessary to request the first resolution from Lee County which enabled Wellmont to move forward with its Virginia License.  These delays presented a significant quality and safety concern for Wellmont’s patients not being able to stop at a Virginia hospital if assistance was needed.  The request made to Lee County was approved on April 15.  The only remaining issue for the helicopter program is to be able to do scene work in Wise County.  Mr. Prewitt stressed the point that at the time Wellmont first addressed the Board they did not ask for a base.  He said no plans were made for a base and did not asked to be first called but only to provide back up when needed and to support, particularly, the Med-Flight II Program.  Med-Flight is and continues to be the only air transport service that provides no cost to this Board’s constituents.  Since Wellmont’s only purpose was to be a back up, it is estimated that they may get 10% of the med-flight calls assuming the other program would pass them thru its own system first.  This would amount to 3 to five scene calls per year.  Based upon the minimal benefit of the scene calls to Wellmont and the struggle the Board is having adopting the needed resolution, Wellmont One Air Transport respectively withdraws its request for authorization to operate its EMS Program in Wise County.

Jim Manicure, member of the Norton Community Hospital Board, thanked the Board of Supervisors for its time and effort spent on the proposed resolution for the Wellmont One Med-Flight services.  He stated that the citizens Wise County and the City of Norton are blessed to have two of the best health care delivery systems in the area that are providing the best health care for Wise County citizens.
Tim Mullins voiced his opposition for Wellmont’s services in every way.  He said their brochures and advertisements are misleading and their care is appalling.  


Bob Spera, President of the Lonesome Pine Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, addressed the Board regarding the 50th anniversary of the Lonesome Pine Regional Airport for which a celebration is being planned.  This is also the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift for which he gave a brief history.

A flying museum has been built to honor those that gave their lives to support that country as they fought communism in the early days of the cold war.  This aircraft will be a part of the 50th anniversary celebration and plans have been made to drop candy from the aircraft to the children attending the celebration as it did for the children in Berlin during the war.   

Mr. Spera asked the Board for a donation to help with the expenses of this event.  The cost of the celebration will be approximately $15,000 and other organizations and government entities will also be approached for support.



The following items were reviewed under the Consent agenda:

  • Set public hearing (May 29 @ 5:00 p.m.) on the proposed County FY 2008-09 annual budget

  • Set public hearing (June 5 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed Conditional Change of Zoning

  • Set public hearing (June 5 @ 6:00 p.m.) on nine (9) E-911 road name additions


County Attorney Karen Mullins reviewed the resolution on Restrictive Funds on Health Insurance Savings explaining that it is anticipated that the Wise County Board of Supervisors will have a health insurance premium reduction of approximately $197,007.00 for FY 2008-2009.  Rather than passing this small reduction of less than $2.00 to each employee and since history has shown that an increase will be forthcoming at a later date, a request is being made to set these funds aside in a restrictive fund, which would be made available to offset any future increase to the employees and the County.

  • LENOWISCO Charter amendment

  • Budget Amendments #78 Thru #82

  • Appointments

  • Closed Session 2.2-3711(A)(1) Personnel


Supervisor Rivers expressed his dissatisfaction with the proposed budget being presented to the Board with no prior review, and expected to send it out for public hearing on the 29th.  He felt this unfair to Board members.  Also, he said the FY 2007 audit has not been provided for Board review.  He further stated that next year he wanted the budget in February or March which would give the Board ample time to review it. 

Regarding the Wellmont request, he said the citizens are the losers and the Board should have looked at this request more closely.

Supervisor Meador agreed with Supervisor Rivers noting that the loss of Wellmont One Med-flight services was a disservice to the citizens of Wise County.


There being no further comments, the meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

ATTEST:                                             WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS


______________________________            ________________________________________
Glen A. Skinner, Clerk                          Robert R. Adkins, Chairman 

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