Board of Supervisors - August 7, 2008 Workshop Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse.  The following were present:

Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador – Vice-Chair
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Steve Bates – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – Interim County 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.


Suzanne Lawson, (title) _______ of the Wise County Tourism Committee, provided an update on the following:

  1. Wise County Tourism Activities
    • Resource Directory—One bid has been received and a bid for a different size booklet will be forthcoming
    • Had a Hospitality “Workshop” with Virginia Tourism on June 18
    • Need to update tourism information for Leisure Publishing
    • Need to update Wise County’s web presence on
    • Updated information for the Mountain Wonder
  2. Coal Heritage Trail –
    • A Virginia Scenic By Way—Wise County needs a Coal Heritage Trail (CHT) brochure, Website, Driving Tour CD and a “Fam” tour tied to Coal Heritage Trail
  3. Heart of Appalachia
    • Needs someone to maintain distribution of brochures, phone services, some marketing, and assist with day to day operations

Ms. Lawson stated that the person responsible for tourism should work closely with the Wise County Tourism Committee. 


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Alpha Land & Reserves, LLC for a Conditional Change of Zoning for property located on 11117 Old Norton Coeburn Road to be used for office for a surveying and mapping business.

Jerry Baird representing Alpha Land & Reserves, explained that Alpha plans to sell the building for offices for a surveying and mapping business.  The property was purchased by Alpha when the adjoining property was mined and the building is now vacant.

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


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Realty Income Corporation for a Change of Zoning for an existing gas station/store located at 502 Powell Valley Road in Big Stone Gap, formerly known as Double Kwik and now FasMart, for the purpose of bringing the property into compliance with the zoning regulations for possible future expansion.

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


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments on a proposed ordinance exempting HIS Ministries from taxation.

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


Nancy Davis spoke briefly on the County’s Solid Waste Ordinance as it pertains to Dominion Resources.

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


Jackie Christian, representing VDOT, stated that road and bridge  projects are running ahead of schedule due to the good weather.

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


  • Resolution - Designation of Applicant’s Agent
  • Resolution - Behavioral Health Services Performance Contract
  • Resolution - VRS Pick-up Plans (Supervisor Robbins asked that this item be placed under New Business for discussion
  • Proclamation Volunteer Appreciation Week
  • Set public hearing (Sept. 4, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance regulating safety equipment for mopeds
  • Set public hearing (Sept. 4, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed amendment to Ordinance #9-1987 Administrative Fee For Delinquent Taxes


  • Committee recommendation for exterior courthouse contractor
  • Needs Assessment Committee recommendation for interior courthouse architect
  • Resolution Honoring Charlie McConnell
  • Resolution Recognizing Dock Boggs Music Festival
  • Set public hearing (Sept. 4, 2008 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed budget revision
  • Directive to dissolve the existing Landfill Committee
  • Richmond Legislative Agenda
  • Appointments
  • Closed session 2.2-3711(A)(1) Personnel


It was noted that in the Joint Resolution for Service Availability by the Wise County PSA and the Wise County Board of Supervisors the word “adjacent” should be “adjoining”.  In paragraph 2 under Now Therefore Be it Resolved, which states “those persons having a domestic supply or source of potable water shall “not” be required to discontinue the use of such water”.  The word not was omitted in the Board packet version.

Attorney Mullins noted that these changes will be made accordingly.


Mr. Scott explained that the county has not increased its mileage rate for more than six years.  As of July 1, 2008, the State and Federal rates have been raised to 58.5.  The county’s current rate is 44.5.

Supervisor Rivers suggested that rather than changing the rate as gas prices fluctuate that the county tie its rate to the IRS rate because they do an update periodically.

Attorney Mullins stated that the county can do this.  It has been discussed in the past and the previous Boards have decided they wanted to address it each time.

Mr. Scott recommended, as Supervisor Rivers pointed out, that the Board consider the IRS approved rate to be monitored in-house and act accordingly.
Supervisor Shortt said he would recommend employees using the county vehicles as much as possible due to the high gas prices. 

Supervisor Meador questioned whether or not the rate increase was projected in this year’s budget.

Administrator Scott:  At the time the budget was prepared, the travel budget was adjusted by approximately 40% in most budgets with the anticipation of an increase in gasoline. 

Supervisor Rivers:  There are state and federal guidelines that make the reimbursement price different.  If a county vehicle is available to the employee the rate is reduced.  He suggested that this be a part of the county policy if a vehicle is available that the lesser rate be provided.

Administrator Scott said that he would work with Attorney Mullins on a policy reflecting these guidelines by mirroring the State and Federal guidelines.

Supervisor Kilgore noted that the State has notified them that if driving in a State vehicle one cannot use a cell phone, or eat in the vehicle while driving.  She recommended reviewing other vehicle policies.


The Board was given for review a Summary of Technical Recommendations for the Blackwood Landfill from Thompson & Litton, Inc. and also minutes of the meeting held at the County Shop on July 30, 2008.  Mr. Scott asked the Board to call him with any questions they may have and he would contact Mr. King with Thompson & Litton to answer any questions prior to the next meeting.


Each county in the State of Virginia is being asked to consider the appointment of a committee of five (5) individuals to meet and address how each county might participate in the State of Virginia Sesquicentennial celebration of the American Civil War.  This has the potential of being a local tourist tool for Wise County as well as the neighboring counties.

Mr. Scott stated that he would prepare a list of suggested names including his own for this committee and perhaps someone from the Board would like to serve.  This committee is not limited to five members.

Supervisor Robbins suggested that an individual from the Sons of Confederacy and also from the Historical Society serve on this committee.

Supervisor Meador suggested Sharon Ewing from the museum.


Mr. Scott:  The question arose at the July 10, 2008 Board meeting regarding the fact that he, as Interim County Administrator, be authorized to sign local documents in July 2008 for capital purchases and improvements that were a part of the FY 07-08 budget and appropriations.

Primarily, the delay on starting improvements to the courthouse exterior caused paperwork for financing all FY 07-08 capital items to be laid aside which resulted in a delay of securing bank financing for FY 07-08 until after completion of the FY 08-09 budget.

As of July 1, 2008 the capital budget unspent is:  Courthouse exterior --$470,000 and courthouse heating (old side) --$5,700 for a total of $475,700.

Mr. Scott asked the Board to allow him to sign necessary loan documents with First Bank & Trust to secure needed financing for the $475,000 and the currently budgeted capital figure (FY 08-09) of $978,000 for a total of $1,453,700.

The original bid amount to be financed was $1,473,500.

Since the new figure is lower than the earlier advertised figure, Mr. Scott asked permission to proceed with loan documentation since all the loan proceeds and capital expenditures will occur in FY 08-09.  However, during discussion of this request, it was noted that financing for the $475,700 could not be arranged until after the public hearing.


Mr. Scott stated that there were no further budget amendments for FY 07-08.

He reviewed the budget amendments for FY 08-09 #1 thru # 5.

Supervisor Kilgore questioned budget amendment #1: purchase of Airport property by the Industrial Development Authority.  She asked why the IDA could not purchase the property instead of the County.

Mr. Scott explained that the IDA has only flow-thru funds and monthly rent payments that are used toward upkeep of rented facilities.


Chairman Adkins called a brief recess at 7:20 p.m.
The meeting reconvened at 7:25 p.m.


Supervisor Robbins voiced his support for going full speed ahead on tourism in Wise County.  He noted several events that would bring tourists to this area and would also be a source of revenue.

Supervisor Kilgore made a request that the Board do a Work Session on the County’s website.  Compared to other counties websites, Wise County is lacking and needs improvement with more updated information.  The website needs to be more user friendly with a listing of events and recreational facilities that are available.  This is also a marketing tool for this area.

Supervisor Rivers asked that Cathy Roberson’s appointment to the PSA be placed back on this month’s agenda.  Since he voted in the affirmative on this motion, he will ask that the appointment made last month be rescinded.  The reason for this request is because he has done some research on the appointment.  Cathy Roberson lives in district 2 and not in district 1.  From the minutes of May 11, 2000 Doug Mullins made a motion to nominate Cathy Roberson which carried.  From the minutes of June 8, 2000, Edgar Mullins made a motion to rescind that action.  That motion failed due to lack of second.  The minutes of June 3, 2004 indicate that Bob Adkins made a motion that was seconded by Steve Bates to reappoint Cathy Roberson to the PSA.  The motion was unanimously approved.  His conclusion is that Cathy Roberson is a representative of district 2.  He further stated that this should have been a district 2 appointment and not a district 1 appointment.  As pointed out last month, district 3 does have three members.  But when the next member of district 3 expires, that is when district 1 should have the appointment.  He said that this is nothing personal against Mr. Luntsford but is a procedural matter.  The Board made an exception on the Library Board because the terms of four members were expiring at the same time and a quorum would not be present for the next meeting of the Library Board.  According to the minutes, Ms. Roberson was voted on in May and June in 2000 and 2004.  So the Board did replace the person prior to their term expiring.  He thinks this is appropriate and the Board should not have a gap, a potential gap.  He recommended that the Board reconsider and go back to the way it has been done.  He said if he has missed something in the minutes where this has been changed, he asked that it be brought to his attention.

On last month’s agenda, regarding the agreement with First Bank and Trust for $1,473,500, he did not think the Board had the authority to do that, and since he voted in the affirmative to do that, he asked that this item be placed back on the agenda and he will be prepared to make a motion to rescind that action.  This is in accordance with the previous discussion tonight.  The Board is going to re-advertise the budget putting the expense of the exterior courthouse and to allow, if the Board agrees, the County Administrator to conduct that loan.

Regarding the School Board issue:  At its meeting last month, the School Board unanimously voted to transfer $70,000 from the category Operation Maintenance.  According to resolution approving this year’s school budget signed by Mr. Skinner and Mr. Adkins on June 9, 2008, the budget was approved by classification and category.  The Code of Virginia Section 22.1-89 states “If funds are appropriated to the School Board by major classifications as provided in Section 22.1-94, no funds shall be expended by the School Board except in accordance with such classifications without the consent of the governing body appropriating the funds”.  Based on this knowledge, he was expecting this as an agenda item this month.   He feels that there should be written communication between the County and the School Board.  They may be intending to do this at a later date.  Before they can actually move that money, the Board has to give them the authority to do that.  He felt that this should be brought to the School Board’s attention.

The Board still does not have an audit report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007.  He feels that the Board should be working on the audit report for fiscal year ending June 30, 2008.  He asked who is doing the financial statements for this report and whether or not the work been started.  According to the Supervisors Manual, it is suggested that these audit reports be prepared by December.  He has expressed to the Board that the budget procedure needs to be stepped up.  The budget should not be approved the last day of June but should be approved no later than May.

He asked that the website be updated to include information such as agendas and up-to-date minutes, tourist attractions and events.  He agreed for a work session on the website which he hopes can be done without hiring an additional person.  However, if that were to be necessary and for the benefit of the County, this would be money well spent.     
He asked for guidelines on hiring a marketing tourism person.

He further comments that he felt that the work session on the sewer was productive and informative.

Supervisor Meador stated that she too felt that the work session on the sewer was very informative.  She thanked Jack Still for the video that is being televised on channel 19 regarding the Civil War Re-enactment.

Supervisor Luntsford commented on the recent Rail Road Days celebration held in Appalachia which was attended by a gentleman from England who has an interest in rail roads and the model rail road exhibition that was on display.  He suggested that one thing the tourism person could do would be to coordinate events between the towns and to update the website, and to keep in touch with the local events in our area that keep growing each year and make that a part of the tourism attractions.  

Supervisor Shortt, addressing Supervisor Rivers concern on the PSA appointment, stated that he previously talked with the County Attorney concerning that appointment prior to the appointment being made.  He asked that she do some research to ascertain which district appointment this was.  He asked the County Attorney to double check her information to make sure it is correct.  By reading the history, initially this was a district one appointment.  Board members have had the latitude to step outside their district for an appointment if they desire to do so and Mr. Mullins exercised that option.

Attorney Mullins suggested that the Board place this item on the agenda for next week and she will review her information again.  Even if her opinion is that this is a district 1 appointment, and Mr. Rivers disagrees with that, he can make a motion to reconsider that vote.  She noted that she will also address the other issue regarding the bank financing that Mr. Rivers has concerns about and has asked to be placed on the agenda for discussion.  This item would also need a vote to reconsider unless it is found to be invalid.

Supervisor Bates voiced his support for hiring a Tourism Director to work with the different agencies, town and county events, to enhance tourism for this area.

Supervisor Robbins commented that a lot of counties provide a park for its citizens.  This would also be a recreational tool for tourism.

Supervisor Adkins gave a brief report on the recent RAM event.


The Board agreed that it would recess its August 14 meeting until Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

ATTEST:                                             WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS        


____________________________            _____________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                          Robert R. Adkins, Chairman

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