Board of Supervisors - October 14, 2010 Regular Meeting

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 The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Regular Meeting on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse.  The following members were present:

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


Dave Henderson, Sr. Pastor Trinity United Methodist Church of Wise, led in prayer.


All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.


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


Chairman Rivers asked that the resolution authorizing hiring of legal counsel regarding school consolidation under New Business be tabled until the November meeting.

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the agenda as modified.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Chairman Rivers noted that a speed sign is needed on Skeen’s Ridge Road on Route 785.

Supervisor Robbins asked the status of a bike lane between the college and the Town of Wise.

Administrator Scott said that this is a Town of Wise issue but he had spoken with VDOT and the Town of Wise and asked all parties involved to address this request at their earliest convenience. 

Mr. Scott also gave a report on VDOT clean up of the debris from the winter storm.

Supervisor Luntsford approached the podium with the following statement:

We, the Supervisors, have been and are being accused of being the reason there is no advancement on the school issue.  I take issue with that because, for many years the BOS has funded the SB nearly double over what the State of Virginia mandates and most recently the BOS supported giving the SB $42M for school construction/renovation.  Poor management of a flush financial situation and blatant failure to maintain the current school buildings would be my guess as to why we are in the situation we find ourselves in today.  If the BOS is to be blamed for anything it would be they failed to cause the SB to provide evidence of where every penny funded to them was spent.  But remember, however, that when the BOS pressed the SB for additional information or offered assistance with managing their well documented funding woes, the BOS was accused of usurping their power.  In addition, the BOS has been blamed with thumbing their noses at every school plan offered by the SB, insinuating that the BOS was doing nothing to resolve the problem.  On the contrary, some on the BOS have worked diligently to offer its own plans in an effort to compromise.  The latest attempt occurred early last week when four plans were presented by two supervisors to the School superintendent.  A commitment was made by the superintendent to put some numbers to the plans and share the info with other SB members.  It seems only two SB members were made privy to the offers and not until the day of the SB meeting this week, were the other members made aware of what had been offered.  By then the two privileged members of the SB had already given the superintendent his marching orders, which, you guessed it, was to trash all the plans and proceed with the closing of Appalachia and Pound.  I do not take pride in pointing fingers, but I felt it time to set the record straight.

Where do we go from here?  Four of you on the BOS gave your support to a plan offered some time ago.  If you honor your previous commitment, it takes only one more vote to bring that plan back to life.  That puts one person on the BOS in a very unique position.  The battle to keep all the schools open may be lost and now the battle to prevent the plan of closing only Appalachia and Pound may be lost, but with the reviving of a previous plan, one supervisor in conjunction with the other four, who have already committed themselves, could be responsible for determining several things:

  1. Where the Appalachia students attend school, either in the valley or near Norton, or in a new school at a neutral site or crammed into trailers till some remodeling occurs at the current PV site

  2. Where the Pound students attend school, either at a remodeled or new school at the present Kelly site or at a neutral site in a new school

  3. If Kelly or Coeburn or any other school on the county keeps its current identity

I, as one supervisor, have tried to listen to the desires of the folks who pay the bills with their tax dollars and who have tried to keep compassion as part of the equation for solving the school problem; the public.  Some folks in elected positions have mistakenly thought they had to answer to only 10 people; the majority of two boards.  WRONG!!!! Depending on developments in the next 30/60 days, that old plan may receive new life.

Two numbers and one word:  3 on 1

Marlene Bush, a resident of Appalachia, voiced her concern regarding the Board’s attitude and lack of concern for the education of our children.

Harold Greear, a resident of Pound, voiced his views on the latest consolidation plan provided by the School Board and the cost figures for that plan.  He also questioned the financial operations of the School Board.

Walter Crouse spoke on the following:

  • Going regional for the schools

  • Landfill / disposal of garbage

  • Litter  /  Recycling

Eddie Giles, resident of Big Stone Gap, encouraged the Board to move on with a school plan so the County can move forward.

Conner McCoy, a resident of Pound, voiced his opposition to the proposed school consolidation plan.

Anita Hayes, a resident of Pound, was concerned with children having to catch the bus so early in the morning and during the winter the roads would be slick and dangerous for those traveling over the mountains.  She was from a consolidated school and there were drugs, fights and gangs.  She opposed consolidation.  She also noted that the proposed consolidation of the schools has made enemies between the school kids.

Donald Purdie, a resident of Wise, asked the Board to consider tax breaks for the senior citizens.  He voiced his support for consolidation.

There being no one else to speak, the public expression period was closed.


Mark Leonard,     (title)  , gave a brief overview of services being provided by Norton Community Hospital for Wise County citizens.

Stacy Ely, Director of Government Relations for Mountain States Health Alliance for all of Virginia’s hospitals, told the Board that she is a resource for the County and is available for needs that may arise.


Dr. Jeff Perry, Superintendent of Public Schools, informed the Board that the proposed consolidation plan to close Pound and Appalachia high schools and sending those students to J.J. Kelly and Powell Valley is set for a public hearing November 16 to receive citizens’ comments regarding the proposed plan.  He noted that the School Board received (yesterday) information that the State is giving QSCB bonds for a short period of time.  There is a possibility that Wise County could receive up to $15,000,000 of these funds at a zero to low interest.  The deadline for submitting an application is November 19, 2010.

Dr. Perry presented the following power point on a possible plan for consolidation that has been re-visited by the School Board.

He informed the Board that there is a plan that may be of some consideration to the Board of Supervisors and the School Board that has been re-visited by the School Board.  That plan includes building a new school somewhere in the Wise area that would encompass the schools of Pound and Kelly for an approximate cost of $28M if built on property already owned.  Build a new school behind the current Powell Valley High School that would encompass the students of Appalachia and Powell Valley for an approximate cost of $28M.  Do renovations to Coeburn High School for $5M and convert St. Paul to a K-12 school for which no money has been budgeted, build a gym at Appalachia Elementary School for $1.5M, which has been budgeted and leave the 8th graders there.  The plan would be to keep the five (5) high schools open until 2013 with financial assistance from the Board of Supervisors because it is being anticipated that next year there will be a short fall in funding.  The total amount for this plan would be $62.5M.  The total enrollment of these schools with this configuration is 1,973.

The following topics were reviewed regarding this plan:

  • Enrollment Projections 2012

  • Consolidation Savings

  • Projected Staff Savings

  • Transportation Impact

  • Projected Athletic Savings

  • QSCB Criteria Points

  • Advantages of this Plan

    • Keep HS open for another two years

    • Graduate most HS students

    • Apply for QSCB Funding by November 19

    • Take advantage of low interest

    • Take advantage of low construction costs

    • Give time for transition

    • Reduce need for RIF policy

Dr. Perry urged the Board to act quickly on the proposed plan since time is of the essence per the following reasons:

  • QSCB –Deadline for Application---Nov. 19

  • BOE Public Hearing – Nov. 16

  • Athletic Schedules

  • Student Schedules

  • Inform Staff

  • Inform Communities

There was some discussion on different plans that may benefit all the students and the different sites that would accommodate the needs whether it be two on one or three on one.  Dr. Perry pointed out that the land preparation costs have shown a great deal of savings on the three schools on one site and this could apply to a two on one site.  For a three on one it would require approximately 90 acres and for two on one the acreage would be a little less.  Parking would remain the same but the number of practice fields would be reduced which would reduce the amount of land that was needed.

Supervisor Kilgore noted that its time to come to a compromise and apply for the $15,000,000 before that window of opportunity is closed.

Chairman Rivers made a proposal for a two on one in Wise that would include Pound, Wise, and Coeburn, and a new school in Powell Valley.

Supervisor Kilgore stressed the point that some agreement should be made to build at least one school which would allow the School Board to file an application for the zero to low interest funds that are now available for only a short period of time.

When asked if the School Board would consider other plans, Dr. Perry stated that he felt that the School Board would consider any legitimate offer that the Board of Supervisors could support and was financially feasible.  If the Board has a better plan, it would need to be submitted to the School Board prior to November 16 and moved forward quickly to apply for the QSCB funds.


A recess was taken at 8:05 p. m.
The meeting reconvened at 8:25 p.m.


A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the consent agenda as follows:


Approved the resolution honoring Papa Joe Smiddy for his dedication to education and the many ways he helped the youth of Wise County to afford a college degree as well as his contributions to his community.

RESOLUTION #              2010

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


Approved the Resolution Recognizing the Twentieth Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

RESOLUTION #                     2010

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


Approved the resolution approving Cable Franchise transfer from JetBroadband to Shentel Cable Company           

RESOLUTION #                     2010

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


Authorize the Treasurer to destroy paid tax tickets on personal property and real estate for Jan. 2004 – Dec. 2004


Approved the 2nd quarter appropriations


There are several special sheriff funds designated in the Virginia Sheriffs’ Accounting Manual that must be used for the betterment of the respective sheriff’s department.  These funds in the amount of $93,913.96 are being appropriated for expenditure in FY 2011.  This appropriation amount is made up of the $93,913.96 balance that existed at 06/30/10.

Approved the appropriation of Sheriff Funds in the amount of $93,913.96 for expenditure in FY 2011.

The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to table the resolution on Independent review of Expenses & Revenues of Wise County until the November meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to change the regular November Board of Supervisors meeting from Thursday, November 11 to Wednesday, November 15 because November 11 is a holiday.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the budget amendments as follows:

#8        SW VA Community Corrections – Grant Funds          ($4,267.00)

#9        State Homeland Security Grant                                    $17,000.00

#10      Wise County Safe Roads Initiative Grant         $  4,300.00
            Overtime            $3,800.00
            Travel                     500.00                             

            Carryover Grant Funds Not Expended in FY 2010

#11      Unreserved Fund Balance                                $17,500.00
            Capital Outlay – Clerk of Cir. Ct                     $17,500.00
            Monies for digitalization project for Clerk of
            Cir. Ct.  Capital plan included but had been
            Anticipated to come from Law Library Fund

The motion to approve the budget amendments was unanimously approved.


A request was made by Supervisor Shortt for funds to provide full-time school resource officers to both Pound High School and St. Paul High School for the remainder of this school year as of Oct 1 (27 weeks).  The estimated cost of both would be $75,000. This would be coordinated by the Town of Pound—estimate $31K and the WCSO estimate is $44K.  The Town of Pound’s amount would cover the amount for which the grant was cut and the WCSO amount would cover the overtime for this coverage.  The source of funding would come from unreserved fund balance.

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to approve a one-time  appropriation of $75,000 from the unreserved fund balance to provide funding for two Resource Officers for the Town of Pound and St. Paul for the remainder of this year.  The motion was unanimously approved.


No action taken.


Chairman Rivers noted that a response on this appointment would be coming from the Town Counsel of Big Stone Gap after its monthly meeting.  This appointment would be addressed in the November meeting.


Robby Robbins nominated Randy Gilmer to be re-appointed to the Planning District I Community Services Board for a term of three (3) years.

Bob Adkins made a motion that nominations cease.
Randy Gilmer was re-appointed by acclamation.

Robby Robbins nominated Loretta Stapleton to be re-appointed to the Planning District I Community Services Board for a term of three (3) Years.

Bob Adkins made a motion that nominations cease.

Loretta Stapleton was re-appointed by acclamation.


A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to table the appointment to the Redevelopment and Housing Authority until next month.  The motion was unanimously approved.


A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to go into closed session per the following Code Sections as permitted by the Code of Virginia:

  • Section 2.2-3711(A)(6) Investing of public funds

  • Section 2.2-3711(A)(7) Consultation with legal counsel

The motion was unanimously approved.

After a lengthy closed session, a motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to reconvene the regular meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Secretary Underwood read the certification for closed meeting.

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to adopt the resolution verifying matters discussed while in closed session.  The motion was unanimously approved by roll call vote.

RESOLUTION #                     2010

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


A motion was made by Dana Kilgore, seconded by Bob Adkins, to authorize Financial Administrator David Cox to proceed with the financing negotiations with BB&T in order to secure lease purchase financing for Wise County FY 2011 Capital Plan in the amount of $1,473,000.00.  The motion was unanimously approved.


Regarding school consolidation, Financial Administrator David Cox, encouraged the Board to entertain ideas on compromise as far as taking advantage of the QSCB funds.  Based upon 4% interest, that would be a savings of $7M.


There were few comments from Board members.


A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to recess the meeting until Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ATTEST:                                             WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS


_______________________________          _________________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                                   J. H. Rivers, Chairman

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