Board of Supervisors - March 11, 2004 Regular Meeting

Home ] Up ]

The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a regular meeting on Thursday, March 11, 2004 at 6:00 PM in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse.  The following were present:

Honorable John Peace, II - Chairman

Honorable Fred Luntsford - Vice-Chairman

Honorable Robert Adkins

Honorable Steve Bates

Honorable Ronnie Shortt

Honorable Virginia Meador

Honorable Leland Branham

Honorable Robert Robbins - members of said Board and

Edward L. Sealover - County Administrator

Shannon C. Scott - Assistant County Administrator

Karen T. Mullins - County Attorney

Annette Underwood - Executive Secretary

 

PRAYER

Steve Bates led the Board in prayer.

 

PLEDGE

All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

 

MINUTES

Board member Ronnie Shortt noted that an error in the minutes has been corrected as per his request.

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Bob Adkins, to approve the minutes as amended.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  APPROVAL OF AGENDA

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

 

IN RE:  TRANE ENERGY PERFORMANCE PRESENTATION

Bill Upthegrove, representing Trane, an energy services company, presented an overview of the proposed Energy Performance Contract for the courthouse.  A performance contract is a vehicle that allows a customer to make necessary capital improvements by capturing savings in operating and maintenance budgets.  Energy conservation measures are implemented to reduce energy consumption, as well as building improvements jointly agreed upon by Trane and Wise County.  The total cost to implement all the changes will be $475,909.00.  With the project as it is currently defined, the energy savings will produce $17,800 per year to offset Wise County's annual payment.  The savings of $17,800 is guaranteed by Trane, based on both parties fulfilling their responsibilities spelled out in the contract.

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING/CDBG APPLICATION/NORTH FORK WATER PROJECT

A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens' input on the proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application to be submitted to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for the North Fork Water Project.  The North Fork Water Project's proposal will include installation of 82,800 L.F. of 6", 4", and 2" waterline and related appurtenances.  This project will provide approximately 150 households with public water for the first time.

Chairman Peace asked for any public comments.

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

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC EXPRESSION

Walter Crouse presented each Board member with an article from the Times News regarding a means of disposing of garbage.  He noted that this would save space in the landfill and help reduce the landfill fee.  He also suggested cutting staff in the school board offices, which would allow more money for teachers and further bring consolidation in to play by building new schools so there would be no conflict of being on anyone's territory, so to speak.

Joe Bolling, a private contractor living in the Wise area, asked that allowance be made for white goods to be disposed of at the convenience centers, which in his opinion would stop the dumping of such items over the hill.

Kenneth Mullins voiced his opposition to the proposed landfill use fee increase.

Cathy Selvage spoke briefly on jobs within Wise County.  She asked that the Board enforce recycling to save space in the landfill.

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

 

IN RE:  ROADS AND HIGHWAYS

Highway Resident Engineer T.G. Branson informed the Board that patching of the roads would begin as soon as the weather breaks.

Board members presented Mr. Branson with needs in their districts.

 

IN RE:  CONSENT AGENDA

A motion was made by Robert Adkins, seconded by Steve Bates, to approve the consent agenda as follows:

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING/E911-ROAD NAMES

A public hearing was set for April 1 at 6:00 PM to receive public input on proposed E-911 road name additions.

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING/ CONDITIONAL ZONING/JERRY D. ATWOOD

A public hearing was set for April 1 at 6:00 PM to receive public input regarding a request from Jerry D. Atwood for Conditional Zoning in the Riverview section of Coeburn for the purpose of establishing a tanning salon.

 

IN RE:  RESOLUTION / ALL HAZARDS EMERGENCY OPERATIONS PLAN

Approved the resolution on adopting the All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan

RESOLUTION #         2004

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

 

IN RE:  RESOLUTION/VIRGINIA COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROPOSAL

Approved the resolution authorizing the County Administrator to execute documents relevant to the VCDBG proposal and further that the Board of Supervisors agrees to serve as legal applicant for this project.

RESOLUTION #           2004

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

 

IN RE:  RESOLUTION SUPPORTING COAL MINER STAMP

Approved resolution encouraging the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to give support the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee of the US Postal Service in its effort to issue a commemorative stamp honoring the coal miners and their contributions to our nation and its citizens.

RESOLUTION #                2004

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

 

IN RE:  DERBY PROJECT APPLICATION

Authorized the Chairman to execute application for purchase of property for the Derby Project

 

IN RE:  BUDGET AMENDMENTS

No. 19:  Increase in ambulance and rescue services State 2-4 Life Funds revenues and expenses $724.50 (State Funds)-No local match  

No. 20:  Increase Social Services Federal and State revenues by $162,000.00 Increase Social Services Budget $162,000.00 - No local match required

The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  CNW CONTRACT AGREEMENT

A motion was made by Leland Branham, seconded by Robby Robbins, to approve an amendment to the CNW Contract Agreement to increase the number of connector terminals for conveyance of wastewater to CNW for treatment on an as needed basis.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  PRO-ART FUNDING REQUEST

A motion was  made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the request from Pro-Art for $5,000 to be used as matching funds for the Virginia Commission for the Arts challenge grant.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  ORDINANCE FOR ASSESSMENT OF FEE FOR DISPOSAL OF SOLID WASTE

Ronnie Shortt made a motion to delete from the proposed ordinance the provisions that relate directly to imposing of the landfill use fee and further that the County Attorney prepare a new ordinance with the new language to be voted on at the 25th meeting if possible.  Bob Adkins seconded the motion.

Virginia Meador questioned whether or not these changes would require a public hearing.

Attorney Mullins explained the proposed changes, as she understood it to be and stated that said changes would not require a public hearing.

There was some discussion on amending the ordinance regarding the dumping of white goods at the convenience centers and whether or not a public hearing would be required for said amendment.

Attorney Mullins advised that she would need to review the restrictions in the Solid Waste Ordinance regarding white goods before she could make a recommendation to the Board.

The motion was unanimously approved.

Robby Robbins made a motion to hold a public hearing on amending the language in the Solid Waste Ordinance regarding the white goods.

Attorney Mullins recommended that this request be placed on the agenda for April at which time she can have the appropriate language prepared for the Board to review.

Mr. Robbins withdrew his motion.

 

IN RE:  RESOLUTION APPROVING NEW COUNTY PAY PLAN

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to approve the resolution adopting the new county pay plan.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #            2004

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

 

IN RE:  RESOLUTION APPROVING NEW COUNTY JOB CLASSIFICATION

A motion was made by Leland Branham, seconded by Virginia Meador, to approve the resolution adopting the new county job classification plan.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #         2004

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

 

IN RE:  PROPERTY TAX RATE FOR FY 2004-05

Chairman Peace asked the County Administrator for his response to the tax rate.

Administrator Sealover advised that in a previous memo and in follow up on last week's power point presentation  he had noted that if the Board was amenable to an increase in general fund spending of approximately $2.4 million or 6% increase and if the Board was amenable to funding a $2.0 million project related to the landfill ( 5 years debt) the real property tax rate to meet those would require an increase of 10 cents.

A motion was made by Bob Adkins to increase the real property tax to 57 cents.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Chairman Peace asked County Administrator for his response regarding the personal property tax rate.

Administrator Sealover stated that it was his understanding that there has been discussions on increasing the personal property tax rate for; (1) to replace the landfill use fee in order to fund the debt service in its final year's payment in FY 2005 to replace the landfill use fee in the fully funded debt service requirement of $887,000 which will require an increase in the personal property tax rate of 29 cents and discussions have also ensued that the total increase in the personal property tax rate would be 34 cents.

Vice-Chair Luntsford stated that in view of the information provided by the County Administrator, he made a motion to increase the personal property rate to $1.49.  The motion was seconded by Bob Adkins.

Virginia Meador questioned the mechanics of the car tax reimbursement in regard to this increase.

Administrator Sealover advised that to his understanding the State will only reimburse the County for the personal property tax rate that was in affect at the time that the reimbursement was initiated which means that the proposed increase would not be borne by the State but borne entirely at the local level.  He further noted that VRA has been contacted regarding this stream of revenue to repay the loan and was told it will be sufficient to meet the requirements for repayment of said loan.

Ms. Meador voiced her opposition to the unfairness of this proposed tax.

Mr. Shortt stated that it is his understanding that the personal property tax has not been increased for many years.  Some of this money will be ear marked for education to do some capital outlay projects. The citizens complaints regarding the unfairness of the landfill use fee have been taken into consideration and this is an alternative to that fee.  This tax will have a 95% collection rate with a means of collection, and no need for a mailing list. 

Mr.  Adkins read the tax table for other counties and in comparison, Wise County was among the lowest.  He also believes this tax increase is a more fair and equitable means to meet the County's financial obligations including the landfill use fee.

Mr. Bates noted that the County's personal property tax is next to the lowest and the real estate tax is 92nd out of 95 counties.  The personal property tax hasn't been increased in fifteen years whereas inflation comes in government and the Board must be responsible to move ahead.  This tax increase will balance the budget and allow the County to provide the needs of the citizens.  Mr. Bates further noted that the County has become stagnated because the past Boards have failed to raise taxes on a regular basis to keep the County financially stable and the burden has fallen on this Board to make a large tax increase to overcome the financial situation that the County has fallen into.  Other counties have moved forward and been progressive because they made the decisions to grow and be productive.  He asked that the citizens stand behind this Board and work with them in moving forward. 

Mr. Robbins stated that even though he hates taxes, he feels that this tax increase is going in the right direction.

Mr. Branham stated that the Board is obligated to bring financial stability to Wise County.  Some of these funds are necessary to enhance education and to move Wise County forward.

Chairman Peace asked for a vote on the motion to increase the personal property tax to $1.49.

Aye-     Bob Adkins              Nay-Virginia Meador

            Steve Bates

            Ronnie Shortt

            John Peace

            Leland Branham

            Robby Robbins

            Fred Luntsford

Motion carried.

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING/ TAX RATES FOR FY 2004-05

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to hold a public hearing on March 25, 2004 at 6:00 PM to receive citizens' comments regarding the tax rates for FY 2004-2005.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  TREASURER'S REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING

A motion was made by Bob Adkins, seconded by Leland Branham, to approve the request from the Treasurer for additional postage.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING/ ORDINANCE REPEALING ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A REAL ESTATE TAX DISCOUNT FOR EARLY PAYMENT

It was noted that the Treasurer has made a request to repeal the Ordinance regarding the discount for early payment.

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Bob Adkins, to hold a public hearing on March 25, 2004 at 6:00 PM to receive citizens' input regarding an ordinance repealing the Ordinance Establishing a Real Estate Tax Discount for Early Payment.

Treasurer Rita Holbrook addressed the Board with a cost estimate to implement real estate discount software changes for the 5% discount for early payment.  

After further discussion, the motion to hold a public hearing on repealing the ordinance was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT/ IDA

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by Bob Adkins, to reappoint Bill Hunsaker to the IDA for a term of four (4) years.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT / LENOWISCO SERVICES BOARD 

Ronnie Shortt made a motion to table this appointment until the April meeting.  Leland Branham seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT / PLANNING COMMISSION

Virginia Meador made a motion to reappoint J. Fred Tate to the Planning Commission for a term of four (4) years.  John Peace seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT / VIRGINIA COAL COUNCIL

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt to table this appointment until the April meeting.  Bob Adkins seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

IN RE:  LANDFILL COMMITTEE REPORT

Bill King representing Thompson & Litton, Inc., addressed the Board primarily with the technical and regulatory conclusions that the Committee reached, basically on three main options.

Ron Flanary of LENOWISCO, representing the Landfill Committee as a citizen of the Committee, gave the Board a brief history of solid waste collection in Wise County.  He suggested raising personal property tax as an alternative to the landfill use fee since there is a built-in database within the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Treasurer's Offices for assessing that tax.

The committee considered the following options:

     Expanding the landfill for continued use by Wise County and Norton, with one five-year expansion, followed by another.  In both cases, a loan from the VRA - serviced by a dedicated source of revenue sufficient to service that debt - was a requirement to cover an expected capital outlay of $12 million.

     Closing the landfill now, making arrangements to ship the garbage to a private landfill (most likely one of those in East Tennessee), or possibly to the City of Bristol, Virginia's landfill if available, and using the existing landfill for CDD (Construction Demolition Debris) waste only.  This would require construction of a transfer station, estimated to range from $500,000 for a temporary station (which could be upgraded to permanent status later), to $1 M for a permanent station.  A variation of this scenario would call for sending the waste stream to another landfill and immediately move to closure and reclamation of the County's landfill.

     Expanding the landfill now, but opening it to the waste of surrounding jurisdictions, such as Lee County, and the Cumberland Plateau Solid Waste Authority (Dickenson, Russell and Buchanan Counties).  This would be for a tipping fee, of course, which could be used as the principal revenue source to incur debt to finance the required expansion.

The Committee did not consider solid waste incineration.  While this might appear appealing at first glance, such a facility would be extremely expensive to build, and even more expensive to operate.  All available technical and financial data suggest an incinerator for Wise County alone would increase the county's solid waste costs by a factor of two or three.  Even if such a facility could be constructed for regional use, it would be difficult to site and permit, not to mention the fact there is no identified use for the waste energy (such as steam sales, or co-generation of electricity).  And, a landfill would still be required, since there would still be up to 20 percent of the waste stream surviving as ash, which might be considered "hazardous."  Disposal costs for such waste are extremely expensive.

The Committee did not seriously consider a recommendation of closing the landfill permanently now, since such an action would have immediately triggered closure and reclamation costs the county couldn't afford.  Costs for closure are estimated to range from $5.5 million to $8.7 million.  Obviously, the county does not have the funds to accomplish that at this time.

In studying these options, the committee began to focus on these issues:

 

1.   The subject of an arbitrary "set back" limit at the landfill severely limits its capacity.  Consultations between DEQ and T&L suggest a successful engineering demonstration that would satisfy DEQ and DMME could eliminate this constraint.  While there is no guarantee these regulatory agencies will agree with the findings of such a study, there is optimism that it would be a worthwhile exercise.  The cost of such a demonstration is estimated to be $52,000.  It is recommended that if the County pursues this option, that any fee be negotiated closely, with close examination of the minimum scope of work that would meet DEQ's and DMME's expectations.

2.   Presently, Cumberland Plateau Solid Waste Authority is locked into a contract with a private landfill operator in Tennessee until 2008, so it is a moot point to discuss any opportunity for that waste stream (and revenue source) to be available to Wise County.  Cumberland Plateau officials would welcome the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with Wise County, with an eye to improving on its current contract rate, if there is interest.  Note:  any future reduction in the solid waste tipping fee at the landfill must also be extended to the City of Norton (which currently pays $35 per ton).  For reference, Cumberland Plateau currently pays $21 per ton (not counting shipping to Tennessee, which is another $10 per ton).  Also, Cumberland Plateau is skeptical Wise County can offer a rate that would be significantly better that its current arrangement, even four (4) years from now.  Furthermore, Cumberland Plateau points out that several attempts have been made in the Virginia General Assembly (including the current session) to impose a $5 per ton surcharge for any waste going into a Virginia landfill.  This will be introduced again next year, and probably every year thereafter until it's finally approved in some manner.  Such a surcharge would almost immediately render any Virginia landfill as noncompetitive with the Tennessee landfills.  The committee agrees with Cumberland Plateau on these points.

3.   Lee County has also recently renewed a contract to ship its waste to Bristol, Virginia's landfill.  Similarly, county officials there would welcome continued dialogue with Wise County, but they cannot void their contract without penalty.

4.   Wise County presently has an ordinance on the books that prohibits solid waste from outside the county (excluding the City of Norton). 

The Committee offers these ideas for the Board's consideration:

1.   Construct a temporary transfer station that can later be modified to permanent status and enter into contract negotiations (term, tipping fees, haulage options and prices) with all available landfill operators who would be interested in receiving Wise County's waste.

2.   Do not expand the landfill now, and convert it to CDD waste only.  This will allow more time to accumulate the necessary funding to close and reclaim the landfill (which must be done no matter what option is selected).

3.   Consider a two to three-acre expansion (estimated to be about $700.000) three years from now to Subtitle D standards, but continue to handle CDD waste only.

4.   Consider an engineering demonstration to ascertain, once and for all, whether or not the existing setback limit can be extended at the landfill.  There is no certainty this can be done, but it does appear to be a logical action.  Not doing it will always leave that question hanging in the air, "could we have extended the life of our landfill?"  However, it is suggested that this not be initiated unless the Board has some comfort in considering the landfill as a host facility for the entire region.  Undertaking this study for Wise County's exclusive use of its landfill is not advised, since a stand-alone landfill operation is clearly not cost effective.

5.   Enter talks with the Cumberland Plateau Solid Waste Authority, Lee County, and possibly Scott County (which must close its landfill within four to five years) on one of three regional possibilities.  One would see Wise County continuing to operate its landfill, but also for other waste from adjoining Virginia Jurisdictions.  The second option would see Wise County transferring ownership, operation and responsibility of its landfill to a surviving regional authority, in a manner similar to the regional jail authority.  The third option would be a variation where a regional solid waste authority, with Wise County as a member, might send all its waste to a landfill out of its service region.  The benefits of this arrangement would be the "economies of scale" such a heavy waste load would bring to rate negotiations.  Also, such an authority can issue its own revenue bonds to pay for capital outlays.

6.   For any of the options that would require bringing out-of-county waste into Wise County, consider repealing the existing ordinance that prohibits this from happening now.  The Board of Supervisors enacted the ordinance under a different set of circumstances many years ago.  Then, the concern it addressed was the threat of private landfills locating in Wise County.  The ordinance was one of several "fire walls" put into place.  However, the most legally sound method of controlling such proposals took longer to study and enact, namely a revised comprehensive plan, and a zoning ordinance.  With those in place, and still enforced today, the ordinance prohibiting the importation of out-of-county solid waste is not necessary to prohibit the siting of a private landfill in the county.

As June 30, 2005 approaches, the longer-term options for the county should become clearer.  If initiated, the engineering study should have "erased" the setback line, or not.  The existing landfill would continue to be used for CDD waste only, which is a mere fraction of the total waste stream.  By "moth balling" the landfill until such time that (1) the ordinance prohibiting outside waste is repealed (if necessary), and (2) contractual arrangements with neighboring jurisdictions appear promising, Wise County thus keeps all its options open, while minimizing its short term costs, and avoiding substantial new capital debt.  Selection of the best long-term option should be driven primarily by economic feasibility for the taxpayers of the County.

If it appears financially feasible (and attractive) for Wise County to fully reopen its landfill as a host for regional waste, that could be done sooner than four (4) years from now.  If for whatever reason or combination of reasons it is not feasible, the "temporary" transfer station can be up fitted to permanent status, and Wise County can move toward permanent closure of the landfill at whatever pace the regulatory agencies and available funds allow.  It is suggested, however, that operation of CDD waste only continue as long as possible into the future to allow the county to generate sufficient reserve to cover the closure and reclamation costs, which will be considerable.

Most of the committee members are not optimistic that the regional landfill options are financially viable.  It requires a leap of faith and maximum participation by as many jurisdictions as possible to even be worthy of serious study.  Solid waste is all about volume, and without it, any Subtitle D landfill is quite literally a "money pit."

The Board should look no further than Lee, Dickenson, Buchanan and Russell Counties (and soon to be joined by Scott County) for examples of how local governments have learned landfill operations for their counties are not financially feasible.  All are now shipping their waste elsewhere, and have saved huge sums of money for their taxpayers in the process.  Lee County found that it could ship its waste to Bristol's huge landfill for $32 a ton vs. $95 a ton to continue to operate its own landfill. 

Fred Luntsford, Co-Chair of the Landfill Committee, made a motion that the County immediately enter into contract negotiations with all available landfill operators that would be interested in receiving Wise County's waste and also enter into contract negotiations for those interested in constructing a temporary transfer station.  This is the recommendation of the Committee and he asked that the Board honor their recommendation.

Mr. Robbins asked that the "tests or demonstration" also be added to his motion.

Mr. Luntsford stated that doing the demonstration drives toward keeping the landfill open.  According to the comments made, that may not be the best direction.  However, if the landfill is made regional, then the demonstration should be done.

Mr. Adkins asked that Mr. Luntsford amend his motion to include holding a public hearing to repeal the ordinance prohibiting out-of-county waste.

Ms. Meador made a substitution motion that the Board proceed with Option #2 which includes building a permanent transfer station. 

Mr. Luntsford noted that is was not the Committee's recommendation to build a permanent transfer station because it was not the most cost effective and would not leave open other options if needed.

There was further discussion on clarification of the different options available to the Board. 

Mr. Luntsford restated his motion that: 1) the County immediately enter into contract negotiations with all available landfill operators that would be interested in accepting Wise County's landfill waste; 2) enter into contract negotiations with those who would be interested in constructing a temporary transfer station; and 3) hold a public hearing to repeal the ordinance prohibiting out-of-county waste.  Bob Adkins seconded the motion.

Ms. Meador restated her substitution motion that the County proceed with Option #2 whereby the County's waste would be shipped out by means of a transfer station and continue to accept CDD waste which will provide the County additional time to accumulate the funding  needed  for closure and for reclamation costs.  Robby Robbins seconded the motion.

Chairman Peace asked for a vote on the substitute motion as stated by Ms. Meador.

 

Aye-     Virginia Meador             Nay-   Bob Adkins

            Steve Bates                          Ronnie Shortt

            Robby Robbins                      John Peace

                                                      Fred Luntsford

                                                      Leland Branham    

Motion defeated.

Chairman Peace asked for a vote on the main motion as stated by Mr. Luntsford.

Aye-     Bob Adkins                   Nay-   Virginia Meador

            Ronnie Shortt                        Robby Robbins

            John Peace                            Steve Bates

            Fred Luntsford

            Leland Branham

Motion carried.

 

BOARD COMMENTS

There were brief comments from Board members.

Virginia Meador presented UVA Wise 50th year lapel pins to each of the Board members.

 

RECESS

There being no further business, a motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by Robby Robbins, to recess the meeting to March 25 at 6:00 PM.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 

ATTEST:                WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

_____________________       _____________________

Clerk                                   Chairman                                 

Back to Top

 
© 2006 Wise County, Virginia. All Rights Reserved. Try our Guide to Services, County Directory or Search pages. 
206 East Main Street • Wise, Virginia 24293 • Phone: 276-328-2321 • Fax 276-328-9780. Privacy Policy
For suggestions, comments, or questions about this website, please contact our webmaster.
Designed WebWorx, Inc.