Board of Supervisors - February 4, 2010 Workshop Meeting

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The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse.  The following were present:

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


All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.


Resident Engineer T. G. Branson gave a brief update on the HB regarding secondary road changes.

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


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Wade Short for a Special Use permit to establish a private/family cemetery in the Old Mill community of Pound.

There being no one to speak the public hearing was closed.


A second public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a proposed amendment to ordinance #06-2002 regarding a change to the existing Enterprise Zone.

There being no one to speak the public hearing was closed.


A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from the Education Medial Foundation for a tax exempt status for broadcasting equipment located in Coeburn.

There being no one to speak the public hearing was closed.


Diane Withen encouraged the Board to have public expression at its meetings on such issues as the SB564 to allow citizens’ input and also that the Board have sufficient information possible because the SB564 in Richmond right now leave underground mining out.  The bill was never intended to stop underground mining but to stop waste from being dumped into the streams.  The two meetings that she attended recently both addressed a significant amount of pollution that is in the Powell River and the Pound River.  She provided more information on the streams in Wise County noting that Wise County is the heaviest strip mining county in the state of Virginia.  She asked that the Board look at the proposed amendment and consider approving another resolution in favor of SB564 (the Stream Saver Bill) because it is our rivers that are being polluted.

Pete Ramey, a resident of Big Stone Gap, spoke in favor of the Steam Saver Bill stating that it will not remove any jobs.  This bill will hold people responsible in keeping our water clean.  He voiced his opposition to mountain top removal and the impact it has on the communities.

Harold Greear, a resident of Pound, spoke on the proposed consolidation/renovation of the schools and coal severance.

Kathy Selvage, a resident of the Stephens area, provided the Board with a copy of a mountain top mining techniques and a list of impaired streams.  She voiced her appreciation for public expression and the time that citizens are allowed to speak on different issues.  Ms. Selvage voiced her opinion of the Steam Savor Bill noting that it was never intended to stop all coal mining in the state of Virginia.  However, she felt that the people should have been allowed to speak before the vote was taken by the Board to share their views on the proposed bill. 

Gary Selvage, a resident of the Stephens area, read a portion of the Constitution for the Commonwealth of Virginia which stated the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia regarding the environment and the people of the Commonwealth.  

Lara Miller, a resident of the Wise community, voiced her concern that the Board disregarded the opportunity for citizens to speak prior to taking a vote on this important issue.  She spoke briefly on strip mining and the impact that it has on tourism in our County.

Judy Needham, a resident of Andover, which is in one of the coal camps of our area, stated that she was disappointed that citizens were not allowed to speak prior to the vote on SB564.  Callahan Creek runs through their community which has been declared an impaired stream because of all the pollution dumped into the water.  Mountain top removal has destroyed their community and water.  People are concerned but they don’t seem to be heard.  She noted that if the Stream Saver Bill is not approved it would be a great injustice for the streams and the people.

Adam Wells, a resident of Norton, questioned the source of the resolution opposing SB564.  He spoke on the water and the importance of keeping the water clean and safe for the people.  He asked the Board to take the challenge and step up to the plate to start making a change from coal to another resource.

There being no further comments, the public expression was closed at 7:40 p.m.


Bonnie Elosser, Executive Director for Pro-Art and Mike Abbott, President of the Board of Trustees, provided the Board with materials and a booklet on the 33rd season for the Pro-Art Association.  The Board was updated on the activities of Pro-Art which included a community cultural arts series featuring artistic performances, lectures, and art exhibits for schools and the general population
For more than 31 years, the Pro-Art Association has provided high-quality free arts performances to the residents of Wise, Dickenson, and Lee Counties, as well as the City of Norton.  Its programs have grown considerably over the years and now draw individuals from the Tri-Cities area and extreme Southwest Virginia, as well as upper East Tennessee.

Pro-Art Association’s programs also create jobs, and generate revenue and tax dollars that sustain its communities.

If the Board can maintain level funding for Pro-Art, those funds will be matched by the Virginia Commission for the Arts in the amount $5,000.00.  The application is due April 1.
Ms. Elosser thanked the Board for its continued support, which allows Pro-Art to expand its efforts in bringing quality performances to our citizens.


Jessica Swinney, GIS Officer for Wise County, informed the Board that Wise County is now officially Enhanced 911 Verified.  The Enhanced 911 Verified means that 95% of the phone numbers have a valid 911 address.

A power point presentation was presented with an update on the addressing history for Wise County and the status of the addressing at this point in time.  To enhance this endeavor, for the past several years wireless 911 funding has been made available and those funds have made it possible to network the GIS Program with the 911 Central Dispatch. 

Another important note is that Map Quest now has the current addresses and roads for Wise County.

Ms. Swinney further explained the process for assigning the 911 addresses and the need for residents to post their 911 house numbers in plain view, preferably at the base of their driveway.  She explained the use of other equipment that has been made available to them which will assist the Dispatchers to identify the location of calls that come into the center.  


Mark Wooten, President of ACT, addressed the Board with an update on the activities of ACT and the programs that are made available to this area.  He expounded on the impact ACT has had on the lives of those young people that have been a part of ACT programs.  Mr. Wooten asked that ACT be considered in the County’s upcoming budget for FY 2010/2011.


The following items were reviewed.

  • Set public hearing (March 4, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request from William Kelly Stidham for a Special Use Permit for a private/family cemetery

  • Resolution authorizing the preparation and submission of application for amendment to Enterprise Zone


Financial Administrator David Cox provided Board members with a draft of the proposed CIP Plan for their review and input.

Supervisor Robbins stated that since the Board has presented a resolution for $42 million, he asked that it be included in the CIP.


Attorney Mullins reported that she had met with PSA Director Danny Buchanan and Wayne Watts and they reviewed the map on the Riverview sewer system.  They are checking to ascertain if there are specific easements that have been recorded.  If all paper work is in place, the Board will be provided documentation for their input for possible action at the meeting on February 22.


The appointments were reviewed.


Administrator Scott explained that there is before the State Legislature as a part of the Governor’s budget cuts plans to reduce the daily per diem made to local Regional Jail Authorities to reduce that from $8.00 to $4.00.  If that happens, it will be an unfunded mandate and this will be transferred to the locality.  This resolution asks that the legislators reconsider and oppose the change from $8.00 to $4.00.  Should the budget remain as it is, Wise County’s participation in this cost increase for the Regional Jail would be approximately $770,000.00.

There was some discussion on the possibility of getting the resolution approved and into the hands of our legislators while they are in session.

Since some of the Board members will be going to Richmond next week, Attorney Mullins suggested have a special called meeting which would allow the Board to vote on this resolution and it could be delivered to the legislators while they are still in session.

After discussion, it was agreed that the paper work be processed for a Special Called meeting on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.


  • Financial Administrator

  • County Attorney

  • County Administrator


Supervisor Robbins reiterated his stand on allowing the public to speak on items being brought before the Board.  This gives the people a voice.

Supervisor Meador stated that a hearing was held at MECC regarding mountain top removal at which time most Board members present.  At that time, both pros and cons were heard.  That is why she felt the Board has already heard from the people and Board members also had the opportunity to speak.

Supervisor Kilgore explained the reason for not having public expression at the Special Called meeting.   She spoke briefly on the meeting with the Division of Mines and DEQ at which time she understood that the most dangerous problem with the streams is bacteria from straight piping; the number one problem.  They encouraged removal of the straight pipes because of the E-coli in the streams.  Also, another problem is cattle being in the streams and their waste being deposited in the water.  The new mining operations are cleaning up past pollution from prior mining that will help clean up the streams.

Chairman Rivers stated that he was not aware that the Dept. of Social Services provided shelters during a disaster.  Since this would be an extra expense, he suggested placing $10,000 in EOC’s upcoming budget that could be used to reimburse the Dept. of Social Services for this type of emergency.


There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

ATTEST:                                                         WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS


___________________________________  _____________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                                               J. H. Rivers, Chairman

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