The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County courthouse. The following was present:
Honorable Robert R. Adkins, Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador, Vice-Chair
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Dana Kilgore – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – Interim County Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt- Attending a sewer meeting in Pound
Bob Adkins led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Chairman Adkins reviewed the following items to be added to the agenda:
IN RE: UVA-WISE UPDATE
Chancellor David Prior provided an overview of the Capital Projects and the infrastructure that are ongoing at the college. He explained the funding sources stating that UVA-Wise student debt rate is the lowest in the nation of all private/public colleges.
IN RE: SCHOOL BOARD-INTER-BOARD MEETINGS
Dr. Jeff Perry came before the Board expressing the School Board’s appreciation for the support that the Board of Supervisors has presented to the school system over the years.
Over the course of the next several months the School Board will be involved in the process of looking at the consolidation of schools which will bring about a large investment. The process is already ongoing in getting the correct data, cost, size and facts that will be needed to make decisions on the schools.
Dr. Perry stated that the School Board would like to establish an inter-board committee with the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Education to keep each board informed. This committee would consist of two or three members of the Board of Supervisors and two or three members from the School Board which would meet on a regular basis to emanate information to each other and also collect information. This would not only be for school consolidation but other projects that the school system is involved in. This would keep the Board of Supervisors informed of the School Board actions and plans.
IN RE: TOURISM AUTHORITY UPDATE
Bill Smith, Director of Tourism and Marketing, provided the Board with a power point presentation on tourism, marketing and community development.
The mission of the Wise County Tourism, Marketing and Community Development Department (Wise County TMCDD) is to promote Wise County and Southwest Virginia as being the best place to do business, invest and have fun at a cost that is within the County’s guidelines.
The goals are:
To increase positive media exposure
Develop partnerships with state, local and professional associations that enhance economic development strategies and activities
Establish workforce entrepreneurship training to maximize quality employment opportunities for local citizens
To create supportive relationships with the localities, the U.S. Forest Services, VDCR, and other tourism assets
Mr. Smith informed the Board of local tourism tools that would enhance economic growth in our area such as our Natural Wonders, Performance Venues and Festivals and our Musical Heritage to mention a few.
IN RE: VPI EXTENSION AGENT POSITION
Mike Martin, District Director for Virginia Cooperative Extension, addressed the Board regarding an Extension Agent for Wise County.
An Extension Agent, Natural Resources and Agriculture/Mined Land Restoration, provides leadership in determining, implementing, and evaluating educational programs which are designed to solve social, economic, and environmental problems in agriculture and natural resources, including but not restricted to mined land restoration. The agent is an educator, an information provider, a needs assessor, a problem solving resource for clientele, and networks with coal and other energy industries. The agent develops educational programs for the Powell River Project Research and Education Center.
Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech’s Powell River Project are proposing a partnership with the County of Wise to support a new Extension Agent, Agriculture and Natural Resource position.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension agent will conduct agricultural and natural resource educational programs focused on priority needs of Wise County citizens and also manage the Powell River Project Research and Education Center.
The proposal for the agent is as follows:
The agent be stationed at the Wise County Extension Office
Position funding (salary and benefits) will be provided 40% by Wise County and 60% by the Powell River Project.
The position will report to the District Extension Director
Annual performance reviews will receive input from the Powell River Project and Wise County
The Powell River Project is a program of Virginia Tech, and funds for the position would be handled through Virginia Cooperative Extension
No additional funding is needed for this position; funding has already been approved.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – TRAINING CENTER PROPERTY
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding the conveyance of a 3.46 acre parcel of property to the Wise Volunteer Fire Department, Inc., for the purpose of a regional training facility.
There being no one to speak on the conveyance of the property, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – CONDITIONAL CHANGE OF ZONING
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Roger L. Greene for a conditional change of zoning on approximately one (1) acre of property located on Dotson Creek Road for the purpose of building two (2) multi-family apartment structures.
There being no one to speak regarding the conditional change of zoning request, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – REZONING – SANDUSKY INVESTMENTS
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments on a request from Sandusky Street Investments, LLC for a change of zoning for approximately 13 acres on Coeburn Mountain Road to an R-2 District for the purpose of building 10 multi-family two and four bedroom rental units with extensive landscaping and amenities.
Scott Blackwell, representing Sandusky Investments, explained the need for housing in this area and asked the Board to look favorably on his request.
Kevin and Kimberly Collins, adjacent property owners, voiced their opposition to the proposed housing because of the potential noise, night lights, traffic, and water run off from the property.
There being no further comments, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Bob Harrison, a resident of St. Paul, voiced his opposition to the building of three (3) new schools. He thought it to be more feasible to renovate the community schools which would keep the communities together. He also expressed his concern of the economy and the future impact this debt would have on our children.
Mr. Harrison asked the Board to call for a non-binding referendum which would allow the citizens’ to decide whether to renovate or consolidate.
Walter Crouse spoke on the following:
Pick up recyclable twice a week
Bear Creek connector road
Eliminate block scheduling and SOL testing in the schools
Harold Greear spoke on the following:
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.
The Board took a brief recess at 8:00 p.m.
The meeting reconvened at 8:10 p.m.
IN RE: ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Residency Administrator T. G. Branson gave an update on bridge construction.
There were brief comments from Board members.
IN RE: LEASE OF OFFICE SPACE
A request was received from the Sheriff’s Office and Litter Coordinator Greg Cross to lease the house located on Nottingham Street near the Sheriff’s Office for office space for their departments.
Administrator Scott asked the Board to consider a six (6) month’s lease until a report has been received on the “Needs Assessment” that is currently being done on the courthouse.
IN RE: DENTAL SCHOOL UPDATE
A letter was received from Delegate Bud Phillips stating that all interested parties met in Richmond on November 7, 2008 to discuss the proposed Dental Clinic for Wise County. Funding has been made available by the General Assembly for the construction of the project. However, there are questions as to the funding of operating expenses for the clinic. It appears that the total annual operating expense will be approximately $1,000,000. The Secretary of Health & Human Services agreed to attempt to obtain operating funding for the dental clinic which should be open and ready for use in 2011.
Delegate Phillips was asked to request the Board of Supervisors and/or the IDA to submit a proposal to the Tobacco Commission and/or VCEDA for operating expenses.
IDA Projects Coordinator Carl Snodgrass contacted representatives of both the Tobacco Commission and VCEDA regarding this request. Their response was that operating funds are not eligible under either of these programs.
Administrator Scott asked the Board to consider an amount between $250,000 - $500,000 for the upcoming FY 2009-2010 Budget to assist with these expenses. He further suggested that perhaps a source of funding can be revenue from dividends from the Duffield Development Authority.
IN RE: CIP PLAN (SET PUBLIC HEARING)
Administrator Scott explained that in the past, there have been very few comments from citizens on the County’s CIP Plan during the public hearing. After the public hearing has been held, a list of suggested improvements from citizens and the Board are placed in the plan for review by the Board before adoption.
Supervisor Rivers asked if this Plan would include any capital outlay projects the school may have.
Mr. Scott noted that the School Board is asked to provide the County with a list of their anticipated capital expenditures as well as VDOT and other agencies. This gives the Board a “feel” of funds being invested. For the past two (2) years, the School Board has not been able to provide the County with any information related to their capital improvements because of the questions regarding consolidation. However, he said he would ask that the County be given an estimate cost in this year’s plan.
Supervisor Rivers further stated that citizens are concerned not only with the high school building projects but also that the middle schools and the primary schools may be neglected and began to deteriorate as were the high schools.
IN RE: CABLE TO POUND AND ST. PAUL
The Board discussed the cable service to Pound and St. Paul. Comments were favorable on the recent test that was made on transmitting the signal in these areas by internet. Supervisor Shortt called Mr. Scott today and told him that he was pleased with the signal in Pound.
Mr. Scott noted that with the Board’s permission, arrangements will be made to move forward with that signal by way of the internet which will be a cost savings to the County.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Resolution – Watch For Children signs
Set public hearing (January 8, 2009 @ 6:00 p.m.) on a proposed ordinance authorizing the payment of County employee bonus
Authorize the County Administrator to execute Lease Agreement for Dunbar can site
Authorize the County Administrator to execute Agreement to Issue User Permit
Resolution in Support of the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial
Resolution authorizing signatures for Bold Camp Sewer Project
Refund Request – Commissioner of the Revenue
CSA request for additional funding
Budget amendment#18 thru #23
There were some suggestions made regarding the County website that would provide more information to the citizens.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk Robert R. Adkins, Chairman