The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following members were present:
Honorable Virginia Meador – Vice-Chair
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Dana G. Kilgore, 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
Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Chairman
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Fred A Luntsford
T. G. Branson led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – FUNDING EXCEEDS 1% OF FY 2007-08 BUDGET
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding journal entries, the total of which exceeds 1% of the adopted FY 2007-08 budget for Wise County.
There being no one to speak, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PRO-ART FUNDING
Mike Abbott, representing Pro-Art, voiced appreciation to the Board of Supervisors for its support during the recent financial difficulties that Pro-Art has encountered. With financial support from the towns and contributions from individuals, the college debt and the bank debt has been sufficiently reduced.
Mr. Abbott gave an overview of the programs and activities that have been provided by Pro-Art and the goals for the upcoming season. He asked for an increase in funding for the FY 2008-09 if possible.
IN RE: WELLMONT ONE MED FLIGHT SERVICES
Ron Prewitt, representing Wellmont Health System, addressed the Board requesting approval of the resolution for Wellmont One to transport patients in Virginia.
With the initial helicopter being based in Greene County Tennessee and the second to be located at Tri-Cities Airport, Wellmont One would participate in scene calls in both Tennessee and Virginia and transfer seriously ill patients from primary care hospitals to tertiary care facilities when a higher level of care is needed.
Anita Ashby, Wellmont System Manager of Flight services, provided an overview of Wellmont One services and its intent to assist in med flight services in southwest Virginia.
IN RE: PAYDAY LENDING RATES
Brian Johns addressed the Board with a proposed resolution from the members of the Wise County Chapter of the Virginia Organizing Project whereby the County calls on the General Assembly to cap the interest rates payday lenders can charge at 36%.
Mr. Johns stated that over 40 counties, towns, and cities have passed a similar resolution since September of this year, including Bristol, Washington County, and Pulaski in Southwest Virginia. Payday lending takes advantage of people in a vulnerable situation. From 1732 until the Payday Lending Act of 2002 the General Assembly protected citizens of Virginia from usury. Since then, 800 offices of payday lenders have sprung up in Virginia with many of them concentrated in the Southwest part of the Commonwealth. These agencies charge $15 for every $100 borrowed. This often creates a dangerous cycle of debt for lenders.
In addition to localities calling for a 36% cap on interest in Virginia, the Federal Government has also recently taken action. On October 1, 2007 the Talent-Nelson Amendment by the US Senate limited the amount of interest a military member of family could be charged to 36%.
Mr. Johns asked the Board to look favorably on adopting the proposed resolution capping the payday lending interest rates at 36%.
IN RE: APPALACHIAN CHILDREN’S THEATRE
Melissa Wharton and Cathy Dotson, members of ACT, provided the Board with an overview of the accomplishments of ACT in 2007 and its goals for 2008. They voiced their appreciation to the Board for its continued financial support and cooperation in ACT’s efforts to provide activities for Wise County’s youth.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Pamela Gilmer asked that citizens attend the public hearing on the proposed power plant that has been scheduled on Monday, February 11, 2008 at the St. Paul High School auditorium.
Mark Wooten praised the Appalachian Children’s Theatre for its high quality of programs for the children and all the hard work that is put into each performance.
Larry Bush a resident of the Exeter area voiced his disappointment in the Board for supporting the power plant and the devastation such a facility will bring to our County. He asked that all Board members resign and allow people to replace them that will work toward the betterment of Wise County.
Melissa Wharton, a resident of Wise, said she was proud to be a coal miner’s daughter and she fully supported the power plant. She expounded on the hard work of being a coal miner and the fact that coal mining has been the major source of jobs in this area.
Clara Jones, a resident of Wise County for 10 years, said that the beauty of the mountains and the simplicity of this area is the reason she moved here. To bring Dominion to Wise County is not progress; it is devastation to rivers, mountains, trees and wildlife. She noted that there are alternatives to coal-fired plants and the Board should review those before approval is given to Dominion.
Mary Kelly, State Legislative Specialist for AARP, provided the Board with some data on the payday lending Business and the hardship it places on the lower class people that are targeted by this type of business. She asked the Board to approve the resolution before them that would cap the interest rates at 36%.
Richard Kennedy voiced his support and appreciation to ACT for the work they are doing with the children and the outstanding performances that are being done by the children.
Janet Giles, representing DECA organization at Appalachia High School, addressed the Board with a brief overview of the DECA organization and its goals. She explained that the Appalachia High School’s DECA Chapter has the opportunity to compete at state level in a series of competitive events developed to demonstrate skills necessary in business careers. The upcoming event is the DECA State Leadership Conference and will be held in Norfolk, VA on March 5th – 9th 2008. The students have had Fund raising programs to help finance this trip but the total funds raised have fallen short of the need. Ms. Giles asked the Board to consider a donation toward the cost of this trip.
Lara Miller voiced her opposition to the proposed power plant. Stripping our natural resources, removing our mountains and moving on down the road are what the out-of-county companies do. They have no love for this area or the people.
Walter Crouse praised the programs that Pro-Art has been presenting as well as the performances of ACT. He also asked the Board to be considering a central collection site for a recycling center. A recycling center would enhance the recycling program and cut down on garbage being shipped out of the County.
Tim Dotson, Captain of the Wise Rescue Squad, stated that the Wellmont One helicopter service is not a viable source for this area since it will be housed in the Tri-cities. Wings are already established and are only five (5) minutes away and provide good service.
Jeff Radford stated that Norton Community Hospital has been completely satisfied with Wings service. It has always been professional, has qualified staff and provides good health care.
Tommy Dingus, representing Wings, provided the Board with data on calls that have been made by Wings in Virginia. Also, Wings has established a base in Jenkins, KY to better serve the citizens of Wise County, investing capital, resources and manpower to reduce response times to six minutes or less to any part of Wise County. He fully supports Wings Med Flight services and does not see a need for any duplication of services.
Karen Nash, representing Wellmont One, advised the Board that there is a misunderstanding of Wellmont One’s intention. The intent is not to take the place of Wings or any other med flight service already in place, but to assist on an as needed basis as an extra benefit to this area.
Catherine Wilhoyt, an employee of Wings, spoke of Wings qualifications as a med flight service and its knowledge of this area and its needs. She opposed the request from Wellmont One since this would be a duplication of service that is not needed.
Stacy O’Quinn stated that med-flight service is not free.
Diana Withen spoke in favor of a recycling center for this area. She also asked that citizens participate in the public hearing to be held in St. Paul on Monday, February 11 on the proposed power plant. Ms. Withen presented some background information on the poverty of coal miners noting that all were not wealthy.
There being no further comments, the public expression was closed at 7:20 p.m.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson briefed the Board on projects ongoing throughout the County.
Regarding the request for a speed study on Rt. 644 on Mountain View Road, Mr. Branson asked for a letter from the County requesting a study be done by VDOT in this area.
The proposed resolution on the Secondary Six-Year Plan (2008-09) thru (2013-14) and the Construction Priority List 2008-09 was reviewed and discussed.
There were several requests from Board members regarding needs in their districts.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
- Commissioner of Revenue’s request for refunds
- Set public hearing (March 6 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a request for Conditional Change of Zoning
- Resolution on capping the interest rates payday lenders can charge to 36%
- Pro-Art FY 2008 Funding
- Resolution – Wellmont One Med-Flight services
- Resolution – Issuance of a Water & Sewer Revenue Bond by PSA
- Resolution (amended) – Wise County Public Schools FY 07-08 Budget
- Fire Department & Rescue Squad Funding
- Livestock barn at Animal Shelter
- T&L Proposal on Courtroom needs
- Application for Appointment
- Budget Amendments #63 thru #66
- Closed Session – Personnel
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Administrator Skinner reported on the following:
Board members voiced their appreciation to Pro-Art and ACT for the outstanding performances that have provided wholesome family entertainment for the citizens of Wise County and the surrounding area. Citizens were also encouraged to attend the public hearing on the proposed power plant in St. Paul on Monday, February 11, 2008.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 7:48 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Glen A. Skinner, Clerk Robert R. Adkins, Chairman