The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop Meeting on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse. The following were present:
Honorable J. H. Rivers – Chairman
Honorable Dana Kilgore – Vice-Chair
Honorable Virginia Meador
Honorable Robert R. Adkins
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
Honorable Fred Luntsford – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Financial Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary
Honorable Steve Bates
Rev. John Tull, Member Appalachia Town Council & Lay Minister, led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
The following items were added to the agenda for consideration:
Denver Hall, Jr., a resident of Big Stone Gap, voiced his opposition for the proposed 2 on 1 site for the schools. Everyone seems to have lost focus of the kids and their future. He was concerned for the kids living in the back portion of the County that would not be able to attend school activities.
Harold Greear, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following regarding consolidation:
Glen Sturgill, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following regarding consolidation:
Donald Purdie, a resident of Big Stone Gap, spoke briefly on the student Rocket Launch Exposition that was held at the Lonesome Pine Airport on Saturday noting that kids from every community attended the event.
Walter Crouse, a resident of Hurricane, spoke on the following:
Opposition to the 2-on-1 site for school consolidation
Strip mined land for site is not acceptable
$69M is not enough to build two schools
Cut administration positions – give more pay to teachers
Connar McCoy, a resident of Pound, spoke on the following:
There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed at 6:48 p.m.
IN RE: VIRGINIA TECH EXTENSION RE-ORGANIZATION 4-H
Judy Ingle, President of the Virginia Adult 4-H Volunteers Leaders Association, addressed the Board with her concerns about the Virginia Extension Cooperative Restructuring Plan. She feels that Virginia Tech is choosing to carve at the Extension at the local levels, which in essence is going to place a higher percentage or burden for the county to pay for its service. She understands that the restructuring plan is mandated to get local approval. The restructuring plan states only 2% farm for a living today, but it does not state how many use some means of farming for a secondary income. While Virginia has a diverse economic base, agriculture remains its largest industry and one that is important to many localities.
She stated that your legislators chose to allocate the money and Virginia Tech choosing how to dispense the funding.
Ms. Ingle asked the Board to consider a resolution stating that the plan does not appear to reduce funding at the state level, but could result in more than double the current matches required of the counties in order to maintain even reduced staff in local offices.
Supervisor Robbins asked that the resolution be placed on next week’s agenda for discussion.
Supervisor Kilgore asked for more information on the restructuring process before the Board considers the resolution. She asked Financial Administrator Cox and County Administrator Scott to check to see how “time sensitive” this issue is, which would allow more time to gather more information. This is a topic that can be dealt with in January when the Board goes to Richmond.
Administrator Scott noted that this topic was addressed by at least four of the legislators attending the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast held in Marion last week and they plan to deal with this topic. More information is necessary since this issue involves so many different aspects of the counties.
IN RE: MECC UPDATE
Scott Hamilton, being the new President of MECC, addressed the Board with a background history on himself and with an update as to how MECC is serving the citizens of Wise County.
MECC has enrolled 4,507 students of which 1,705 of these students were from Wise County and 385 were dual enrollment students. There were 39 of the 117 AIMS Higher students that were from Wise County and 189 of the graduates were from Wise County.
He reviewed the following new training opportunities for Wise County residents:
Pluggedln VA Construction/Weatherization – A project based program for adults who have or need a GED credential
Energy Technology – This training focuses on renewable energy systems which include geothermal, wind, solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy
Electronic Medical Records – The future of health care. Tuition, books and certification fees are paid.
On-Ramp Program – This program offers dislocated workers access to higher education and training opportunities within a one-stop service system.
IN RE: CNW UPDATE
Mark Holyfield, Director of CNW Regional Wastewater Authority, of which Wise County is a participant, along with the City of Norton, the Town of Wise, and the Town of Coeburn, addressed the Board with a project CNW is considering in the very near future.
CNW was chartered in l987 and the County of Wise became a participant of the CNW in 1991 with a capacity of 400,000 gal per day. The treatment plant was constructed for approximately $15M, which will be paid off in approximately 13 months. Mr. Holyfield came on board with CNW in 1998.
He explained that some thought is being given to provide wastewater treatment services for the next 20 years in the center of Wise County to serve the existing member localities as well as Wise County. Information has been taken from a recently completed PER and sent to the State to apply for funding. CNW has once again qualified for 0% funding for its upcoming project. He asked that Norton, Coeburn, Wise and Wise County evaluate their needs for the next twenty years to enable them to evaluate their expansion needs. From a recent study it appears that the plant needs to expand to 6,000,000 gallons per day. The data received from these participants will determine whether or not the number is sufficient.
Bobby Lane, President of the Lane Group, provided a brief update of the latest study on the waste water facility explaining the need to replace parts, equipment that is obsolete, and the proposed expansion of the facility to meet the need for 6,000,000 gallons per day for the next twenty years. The cost estimate for this project is $11.5M. CNW has applied to DEQ and funds have been set aside in that amount at 0% financing. He further explained that the question remain as to how much expansion is needed. That will be decided by the input from the member localities and the participants’ needs. The actual costs for each will not be available until bids have been received.
Bill Skeen representing Maxim Engineering stated that a Waste Water Study was done in 2009 that identified a number of areas that needed public sewer in the county, in the Guest River Water Shed, which would require 600,000 gallons per day. He reviewed other waste water systems that are in existence in Wise County. There is a need for additional capacity and these figures are needed within the next couple of months. He further stated that PSA is looking into the possibility of constructing its own waste water treatment plant which would be a plus for the County.
Mr. Holyfield said that CNW’s mission is to protect the Guest River and to enhance Wise County environment and provide for economic development.
There was some discussion on Wise County becoming a member of the CNW Board.
Mr. Holyfield explained that a previous agreement that was adopted by the Board of Supervisors stated that Wise County does not request representation on the CNW Board at this time but reserve the right to request this at a later date. He suggested those that need waste water capacity should work with the CNW Board and its Director. If membership is desired on the CNW Board, a request must be made to the entities under the Code of Virginia that have some power to grant that request.
Administrator Scott noted that those three councils have been visited by Wise County and expressed the desire to one day be a part of the CNW Board. An invitation has been received from the CNW Board to attend all CNW meetings and participate in CNW discussions.
Mr. Holyfield said if he could hear from all four participants by February 1 on their needs for the next 20 years to allow an evaluation of the needs to determine how effectively the water resources can be protected, which in turn will enhance economic development.
The CNW staff over the past couple of weeks has prepared a draft regarding Blackwood which has been given to Administrator Scott for review. The draft has been reviewed by the CNW Attorney and unofficially with the CNW Board. If CNW is to continue to operate the Blackwood extension, at the Board of Supervisor expense, that would need to be noted when the new Service Agreement is made available. A new Service Agreement must be in place and approved by all four CNW participants by December 2011.
A break was taken at 7:50 p.m.
The meeting reconvened at 8:00 p.m.
OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Set public hearing January 6, 2011 @ 6:00 p.m. on a proposed E-911 road name addition
Resolution Independent Review of Expenses & Revenues of Wise County
Resolution Authorizing Hiring of Legal Counsel Regarding School Consolidation
Resolution of Support --Rural Addition – Feather Road
IN RE: QSCAB APPLICATION
Chairman Rivers stated that he had a concern when he reviewed the application for QSCAB funding and saw the Financial Administrator’s signature on the application that the Board had not discussed or voted or authorized a signature. He said it is customary and appropriate before any grant application or bond application is applied for that the authorizing Board authorizes who signs the application.
Supervisor Kilgore asked as to what action is needed to be taken on this matter.
Chairman Rivers said he would further evaluate this matter and how it should be corrected.
Attorney Mullins was not aware that this required Board action. She noted that this is an application and does not obligate the County or the School Board for the funds.
Chairman Rivers asked, assuming that all or a portion of the $15M is approved, would there be any cost to the County?
Financial Administrator Cox explained that he was requested to sign the application based upon the resolution adopted by the Board that authorized him to request funds from any state agency. Based upon that resolution he signed the application. There is no commitment from this Board to use that $15M if received. The deadline for the application was November 19 and the request to sign the application was November 17. If the money is utilized, it would take action from the Board to sign off on the QSCAB bonds.
Supervisor Kilgore noted that the purpose of the application is to ascertain whether or not the bonds are available to the County and before any debt is issued this Board would have to take formal action and authorize the legal documents to be signed.
Chairman Rivers said there are several steps that must follow this application in which this Board did not have any say in whether or not that application should be signed and sent forward. He feels that this was totally irresponsible.
Supervisor Kilgore stated that there are members on the Board that are thankful that the documents were processed and the application sent out so the County would not loose zero financing which amounts to $7M.
Chairman Rivers said a Special Called meeting could have been called and would probably have passed. It’s not what if but that we did not.
Supervisor Kilgore asked the administrative staff if they were aware of any applications being made for funds just for availability.
Administrator Scott noted that an application is not a committal action. The signature on the application was not to commit this Board to receive or spend the proceeds of those funds. We administratively sign applications for different needs. He feels that this was an administrative action to submit the application to ascertain whether or not funds were available.
Attorney Mullins stated that the County has to accept the funds and have a plan for the use of the funds. If the funds are made available, a public hearing must be held for public comment and other steps to follow. There is not an obligation for the monies until all the proper steps have been taken if the money is made available.
Supervisor Robbins questioned whether or not a traffic study has been done. He noted that US 23 is a limited access highway. He asked if the land has been deep mined and whether or not an Economic Impact Study has been made.
Supervisor Kilgore said that is the reason the two Boards need to meet to get all these questions answered. The questions will be answered before any vote is taken on any debt issuance or accepting any liability.
Supervisor Robbins asked that the County look at an Economic Impact Study which would include looking at property value changes and how this would affect the tax rate.
Supervisor Kilgore asked that these items be added to the January agenda.
IN RE: SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION RESOLUTION AMENDMENT
Chairman Rivers stated that Board members can make an amendment to the Resolution on School Consolidation that was adopted on October 26th if they so desire. He will not attempt to have it modified at this time.
IN RE: AG’S OPINION – SEPARATION OF POWER & RESPONSIBILITES BETWEEN SCHOOL BOARD AND BOARD OF SUPERVISORS/RESOLUTION OF OCTOBER 26
Chairman Rivers explained that he was told that a local delegate, Terry Kilgore, has requested an AG’s opinion on the separation of power and responsibilities between the School Board and the Board of Supervisors regarding the resolution adopted by the Board at its meeting on October 26. Therefore, he asked that this item be removed from the agenda.
IN RE: APPLACHIA ELEMENTARY GYM FUNDING
Chairman Rivers stated that there was a request in the original submission from the School Board to the Board of Supervisors in their capital outlay budget for $1.2M. When the Board of Supervisors approved that budget, the $1.2M was placed in contingency. The Board funds the School Board based on categories. The Board made a decision to allocate that $1.2M to the category contingency. To this point, there have been no appropriations of any of that contingency money. This Board has the authority to fund the School Board by category, and the Board can move this $1.2M from contingency to capital outlay where it was originally requested. If the Board takes that action, the School Board can use that $1.2M for anything related to capital improvements. He asked the Board if that is where they want to leave that $1.2M. This is for information only at this time.
OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
There were brief reports from the Administrative Staff.
Supervisor Meador stated that she felt the Board needs to discuss what the County can afford for schools, landfill, and waste water treatment.
Financial Administrator Cox explained that the Board will be receiving a draft of the proposed CIP Plan in January and these items are a part of that plan.
Supervisor Shortt asked that Mr. Still video the Workshop on Emergency Preparedness that will allow the citizens to view this important information.
Supervisor Robbins stated that the Board needs to be looking at redistricting. He has had several requests for individuals in Coeburn saying that Coeburn needs to be put back together.
Chairman Rivers noted that Board members received an email inviting the Board to participate in a Joint meeting with the School Board to hear the Comprehensive Agreement for the PPTA requirements in regard to the 2-on-1 school. He felt that it would achieve more by not having a joint meeting but have separate meetings. With comments and questions from sixteen individuals would require a lengthy meeting and this may hinder some questions that would have been asked otherwise.
Regarding redistricting, he asked the administrative staff when the specific numbers would be available to allow the process for redistricting to begin. If these figures are available, he may appoint a committee to study redistricting.
Attorney Mullins noted that she would ascertain this information from the General Registrar as to whether or not he has been provided those figures.
Supervisor Kilgore asked if the Joint meeting with the School Board could be placed on the agenda next week for discussion if that is agreeable with all members.
Chairman Rivers stated that this item could be added to the agenda for discussion at the next meeting.
There being no further comments, the meeting adjourned at 9:15 P. M.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk J. H. Rivers, Chairman