The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop Meeting on Thursday, August 5, 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 Virginia Meador
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Robert E. Robbins
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Fred Luntsford – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Financial Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – Legal Administrator
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Dana Kilgore – Vice-Chair
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Jim Collie, Associate Pastor First Baptist Church in Wise, led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
There were no comments for roads and highways.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – REZONING – BEAR CREEK BUILDERS
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Bear Creek Builders to rezone approximately 52 acres located at the end of Red Rock Road off of Airport Hollow Road, Wise for the purpose of building duplex dwelling units.
There being no public comments regarding this request the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – SPECIAL USE PERMIT – JOHN A. MARKO
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from John A. Marko for a Special Use Permit for the purpose of establishing a commercial boarding kennel to be located on property on Little Tom Road off Banner Mountain Road in the Coeburn section of Wise County.
There being no public comments regarding this request, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC EXPRESSION
Lann Maleskey, Executive Director for the Wise County Food Bank, addressed the Board with an invitation to Saturday, August 7, Race Night at the Lonesome Pine Race Way in Coeburn. This event is sponsored by A&G Coal and is joined by the Virginia Mining Association and all of the Friends of Coal as an associate sponsor in an effort to help the Food Bank and the community.
The food Bank of Wise County has been providing food to the needy for 25 years. The number needing assistance has increased by 30% in recent months severely straining the Food Bank’s resources. Due to this increase, the number of items previously provided in the food baskets has been reduced. However, the Food Bank has been able to continue this service with the generous donations from many different sources.
Donald Purdie urged the Board to move quickly on making a decision regarding the school funding. He explained the window for taking advantage of the low interest rates and other funding sources that may be available will soon be closed.
The following individuals spoke regarding changes brought about with the consolidation of the Harlan County schools:
Walter Crouse spoke on the following:
Opposing Elk restoration in Wise County
Activities ongoing with Litter Control
Introduce the three (3) R’s back into the schools – remove block scheduling
Students not prepared for college
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.
IN RE: MASTER GARDNER UPDATE
Amy Fannon, Extension Agent, explained that the Master Gardner Program started in Washington State in 1972 to meet an enormous increase in requests from home gardeners for unbiased, research-based horticultural information. The Master Gardeners go through training classes to equip them with the knowledge they need to assist the citizens and organizations with their projects.
Andria Daniels, Master Gardner, updated the Board on projects the Master Gardeners are doing and the different community organizations they are assisting to protect and enhance the environment, including turf, landscaping, trees and shrubs and pest management practices.
IN RE: FORESTRY SERVICE UPDATE
Jorge Hersel, District Ranger, presented a power point presentation on the recreational sites offered by the Forest Service for family outings and other outdoor activities in Wise County. He reported on the status of the High Knob Tower and its funding sources. The latest designs on the tower were reviewed and discussed.
IN RE: CONSENT AGENDA
The following items under the consent agenda were reviewed:
Set public hearing (September 2, 2010 @ 6:00 p.m.) on 911 road name additions
Authorization to obtain RFP’s for the Lease Purchase of Capital Equipment items included in the FY 2010/11 budget
Resolution authorizing finance officer to execute reimbursements and allocations of funds
Authorization for sale of surplus County vehicles
Resolution in support of the designation of Wilderness Road
Resolution supporting Farmer’s Market
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Resolution Independent Review of Expenses & Revenues of Wise County
Resolution regarding school consolidation
Joint meeting discussion—Wise County School Board / Wise County Board of Supervisors
Rules and Procedures amendment
Award Contract for professional financial advisory services
Hilton Alleyway request
Resolution for amendment of Consortium By-Laws
Closed session – (Personnel)
IN RE: ELK UPDATE
Administrator Scott reported that the resolution adopted by the Board at its meeting in July opposing the introduction of Elk into Wise County has been sent to the Department of Game & Inland Fisheries. It was also sent to Governor McDonnell, and the local legislators for their review and support.
Supervisor Meador voiced her appreciation for the update from the Master Gardner and volunteers for things they are doing to help the citizens of Wise County. She also recognized the District Ranger for his presentation on all the recreational activities and opportunities that are available to Wise County citizens.
Supervisor Luntsford asked that it go on record that some of them on this Board, including himself, have recently met with the School Superintendent Dr. Perry to try and bring some resolve to this consolidation issue that has been before the Board for quite some time. He said he would like to report, that in his opinion, some progress has been made. The Board kind of had a challenge laid before them to come forth with some sort of different options other than those that had been placed on the table to see if this problem can be resolved and this has been done. He noted that Mr. Robbins will elaborate on that in his comments. We, on this Board, those that have met with Dr. Perry and proposed the options that have been put before the Board, are interested in moving forward and making progress and we don’t want to be considered as a stumbling block for the advancement of education for the students of Wise County. Also, he has read that Vanessa Perry has resigned from the School Board. He personally thanked her for the service she rendered during her time on the School Board. With her resignation, it opens up an opportunity for District four (4) to express and to show how they feel about the consolidation issue by having an election in that district to replace her. This is a golden opportunity to answer some of the questions, to get a feel from at least a part of the County, as to how the people that pay the taxes, feel about this issue. He encouraged the School Board to pursue that. He also encouraged the School Board, in the interim before this election that will hopefully occur, to appoint the next highest vote getter in that election. That’s how the people spoke, and that’s who should go in up there to replace Ms. Perry and finish out her term or at least stay there until the election occurs.
Supervisor Robbins noted that there have been several plans that have been looked after. When Dr. Perry came before the Board he issued a challenge to him to try to come up with a plan for Wise County schools. Mr. Robbins came across a Study that had been done on all of Wise County Schools in December 12, 2000 by Dewberry and Davis on what needed to be done to the schools in the next 10 years. He reviewed the recommendations in the Study that were given for upgrading the schools which to date have not been touched. The costs varied from $7M down to $3.1M.
Mr. Robbins offered recommendations of how costs could be cut in the different schools to save money. He reviewed options that could be considered by consolidating schools in each area making them K-12 schools instead of consolidating the high schools.
Chairman Rivers noted that if the 2000 study on the schools had been implemented, the school consolidation issue would not be on the table today. He agreed with Mr. Luntsford that there should be a special election in district four (4) to fill Vanessa Perry’s unexpired term. This gives the people the opportunity to put the person they want on the School Board.
Chairman Rivers asked that it go on record that he has met with Dr. Perry and talked about a K-12 plan and discussed in detail on what they think a K-12 scenario should look like. In their discussion, Dr. Perry asked for some time, probably around the first of August, to get information back to him. To date, no report has been received. He stated that he personally believes that this plan will have operational savings. It will not be the extreme costs of construction that has been presented to this Board by the School Board. There are two significant savings; operational savings and construction savings. This plan is looking for what is best for the communities and what is best for the education of students in Wise County. It is the desire to continue discussions with the School Board but information and feed back is needed.
Words of appreciation were spoken regarding Ms. Perry’s service on the School Board.
Supervisor Shortt asked that everyone step back and look at all options. Discussions with Dr. Perry on different options that could cuts costs, meet the needs of the students, and prevent disruption of the communities is moving in the right direction for a solution to consolidation. It is good to have dialogue with the School Administration.
There being no further comments, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk J. H. Rivers, Chairman