The Wise County Board of Supervisors met in a Workshop meeting on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse. The following members were present:
Honorable Dana G. Kilgore – Chair
Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Vice-Chair
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
Honorable Fred Luntsford
Honorable J. H. Rivers – 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 Virginia Meador
Ben Murphy, Pastor, First Church of God, Wise led in prayer.
All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Supervisor Rivers stated that he has a proposal for keeping the high schools open and asked that it be placed on the agenda under New Business for consideration by the Board.
He also asked that redistricting, for this evening, be place before presentations or before public expression to allow citizens to receive input on all three proposals being presented which would allow them to address any concerns they have during public expression.
Chairperson Kilgore said this item should have been placed under Old Business instead of New Business. The public will have an opportunity to comment when the public hearing is held if any changes are made to redistricting.
It was consensus of the Board to place redistricting under Old Business for discussion.
RULES OF CONDUCT
Chairperson Kilgore read the rules of conduct to be observed during the Board meeting.
ROADS AND HIGHWAYS
Supervisor Luntsford asked the status of the proposed widening and guardrail project for South Mountain.
Administrator Scott stated that he had spoken to Commissioner of Revenue Doug Mullins, who lives on this road, and has spoken to some of his neighbors that are already familiar with this proposed project. Mr. Mullins doesn’t feel there will be a need for a public hearing since all the residents are aware of the project.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regarding a proposed amendment to the Animal Control Ordinance.
There being no comments regarding the proposed amendment, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: PUBLIC HEARING – AUTOMOBILE GRAVEYARD/JUNKYARD ORDINANCE AMENDMENT
A public hearing was duly advertised for this date to receive citizens’ comments regard a proposed amendment to the Automobile Graveyard/Junkyard Ordinance.
There being no comments regarding the proposed amendment, the public hearing was closed.
IN RE: AUDIT PRESENTATION
Wise County Auditor Larry Sturgill reviewed the Wise County Audit ending June 30, 2010 which showed the County’s financial position ending June 30, 2010 with a clean opinion. The County is in good financial condition with sufficient fund balances, and net assets.
He noted that this report includes the PSA and the School Board.
IN RE: LANDFILL UPDATE
Bill King, representing T&L, Inc., provided the Board with an update on the Phase IV expansion of the Blackwood Landfill. Regarding Phase IVA, Contract 1, which was the landfill liner contract as well as contract II for the pump station, both are substantially complete. The VRA budget on this project was $3.176M. This project is expected to be completed under budget. The estimated cost of construction and related costs for the project is $2.915M. This is $260,000 under budget. Those funds are being utilized for additional work that will help the County offset cost in the next phase. The County will be installing some storm water tarps that are necessary for the start up of the landfill to better control storm water with the initial operations.
He noted that T&L have received the Certificate to Operate from DEQ.
Mr. King stated that in 2011, Phase IV-B needs to be permitted. A landfill liner study has been completed that was permitted by the Board last year. The report has been issued and the results are favorable which means the County can continue in IV-B with the same liner system that is in IV-A. Based on this, the final permitting can be finalized for IV-B which the County is under contract. Documents will be submitted back to DEQ within the next one to two months. The goal is to accomplish this in 2011. The other goal is the mining set back. There has been a significant amount of work done on this over the years, which included a very detailed 1990’s stability analysis. All the results have returned favorable for the elimination of the set back. DEQ is asking T&L to combine all this information and make a formal request to them to eliminate the set back based on the scientific and technical findings of those previous studies.
The Landfill Committee asked T&L to look into the future reclamation obligations at the landfill. Mr. King has met with DMME and they have confirmed that the back side of the high wall will need to be reclaimed prior to the County leaving the site. The Landfill Committee suggested a preliminary study be scoped out and conducted. A scope of work to be done has been developed. What T&L proposed to do is develop a Master Plan on the back side to determine if the landfill is feasible. This study would also determine, from a very preliminary standpoint, whether a landfill is feasible but a phasing would tell how many cubic yards of material would be needed for reclamation either with or without a landfill. The mining maps from DMME show no deep mines under the site. The cost for this study is $15,000 which would take approximately 60 days to complete.
Regarding IV-B, once the County begins using IV-A, there is 2 ½ years before it is full which will be the summer of 2013. This is based on a compaction rate of 1200 lbs per cubic yard. After about six months of compaction, Mr. King said he would like to do some surveys to ascertain the compaction level with this new machine, which may allow the County to postpone expansion for some period of time. There is approximately 31 years left on the west side of the high wall if the set back is removed.
Supervisor Rivers stated that based on this report he would ask that the Board place an item on the agenda to authorize T&L to do this study as requested by the Landfill Committee.
Larry Rasnick and Donnie Sturgill, representing the Big Stone Gap Rescue Squad gave a brief update on the squad’s activities. Mr. Rasnick requested additional funding from the Board for their squad since donations and other funding is on the decrease due to the down turn in the economy.
The following individuals addressed the Board during public expression:
Benjamin Baldwin – Appalachia
Juanita Quillen – Pound
Greta Boggs – Pound
Marlene Bush – Appalachia
Kyle Fletcher – St. Paul
Walter Crouse - Hurricane
Connor McCoy – Pound
Bill Bevins – Wise
Charles Miller – Big Stone Gap
Dan Boggs – Pound
Matt Skeens – Coeburn
The following issues were addressed by the above individuals:
The Board took a brief recess at 7:30 pm.
The meeting reconvened at 7:45 pm.
IN RE: REDISTRICTING
Supervisor Shortt presented a redistricting map that would put the towns of Coeburn and Pound back together and would not change any voting precincts. This option would revert back to three (3) districts reducing the number of supervisors from eight to seven having one supervisor at-large to represent the whole County. This option was discussed.
There was some discussion on staggered terms and whether or not that should be changed.
Supervisor Rivers presented a map with his option that would put the towns back together and equal out the population in the four (4) districts. This option was discussed.
Chairperson Kilgore voiced her support for no change in redistricting.
General Registrar Tom Chester noted that since the l991 redistricting divided the towns, there has been confusion among the citizens as to their voting district. His desire is to have the towns back together again, which will be less confusing to the citizens during elections. A decision must be made no later than April 1st if a change is to be made.
IN RE: DEBT MANAGEMENT
Supervisor Rivers stated that he would ask to lay this item on the table at the next meeting until such time it needs to be brought back before the Board because he was concerned that the current Debt Service is too high.
IN RE: RESOLUTION BOLD CAMP SEWER PHASE ll EXTENSION AND HAMILTON TOWN (Rt. 757) SEWER EXTENSION
Frank Kibler, representing LENOWISCO Planning District, stated that LENOWISCO is working with the PSA on two projects that are to be submitted to DHCD, Community Development Block Grant Program, at the end of this month. The two projects are the Bold Camp Sewer Phase II Sewer Extension and Hamilton Town (Rt. 757) Sewer Extension. He noted that in this particular funding program the locality must serve as the applicant and that is why the County is asked to adopt the two resolutions regarding these two projects. He said there may or may not be some fluctuation in numbers within the resolutions prior to the voting meeting. If there were to be changes, the Board will get a corrected copy. The deadline for submitting these two resolutions is March 30.
IN RE: CITY OF NORTON / COUNTY OF WISE WASTE WATER AGREEMENT
Administrator Scott reviewed the proposed Waste Water Agreement between the City of Norton and the County for transmission of sewage from lands located within the County.
The City owns a pipeline known as the Guest River Interceptor Line (GRIL) which may be used for the transmission of sewage from the Guest River watershed between property located in the County and the facilities of the CNW Regional Wastewater Authority.
To upgrade the Guest River Interceptor Line, will cost the City of Norton approximately $6 to- $7M. This increase includes a change in the size of the pipe to meet the additional flow from the County. Mr. Scott said for years there has been a moratorium on this line but with this agreement, the moratorium will be lifted.
The County will be asked to pay $1800.00 per month minimum and when additional flow from the Route 757 area is accepted in the GRIL the County will pay $3,000.00 per month minimum for the first 50,000 GPD.
When the City of Norton has completed planned capacity improvements to the GRIL or twenty four months after the execution of this Agreement, the City shall accept up to an average of 450,000 per 24 hour day of additional flow from the County through the GRIL to the CNW facilities.
Upon execution of this Agreement, the County shall pay the City of Norton the sum of $550,000 as an accessibility fee.
Mr. Scott noted that this Agreement has been reviewed by County Attorney Mullins and Attorney Bill Bradshaw on behalf of the City of Norton.
Chairperson Kilgore stated that joint ownership was discussed as well as share of maintenance and the Council thought it would be simpler if the City of Norton owned the line and did maintenance with the County paying flow costs.
Supervisor Robbins asked about getting sewer to the 4-R Apple House on US 23.
Mr. Scott stated that the Apple House does not have water or sewer. However, plans are to get water to this location through a culvert that exists under Rt. 23 near the Apple House. Once water is in place, then sewer will be the next action item to be addressed.
IN RE: PUBLIC BUILDING SAFETY ORDINANCE
Supervisor Rivers said he would continue to work on drafting a Public Building Safety Ordinance because it is important for the safety of the students. This ordinance is specifically to upgrade all buildings owned by Wise County, its various agencies and the public schools. He said everything needs to be done to protect against the “cram” plan. There may be some changes in the ordinance that is included in the Board packet prior to next week’s meeting, and if there are changes, all Board members would be given a copy to review.
IN RE: BUDGET AMENDMENTS
Supervisor Robbins felt that the County should continue supporting the Sugar Hill Trail in the amount of $5,000 to enhance tourism in our County.
Supervisor Rivers voiced his support for giving $5,000 to the Sugar Hill Trail Project.
There was some discussion on organizations that receive money from the County. It was noted that these organization should provide the County with an expenditure report as to how the money received from the County is spent.
IN RE: OTHER ITEMS REVIEWED
Proclamation – American Red Cross Month
Proclamation – Tornado Preparedness Month
Resolution Setting Property Tax Rates
Approval of Audit
Resolution- Approving Allocation of Surplus Funds as submitted by Coal & Gas Road Advisory Committee
IN RE: RESOLUTION TO KEEP SIX HIGH SCHOOLS OPEN_
Supervisor Rivers stated that several of the elected officials made a recent proposal to keep all six high schools open for an approximate cost of $52M. That option was not accepted at the last School Board meeting. Since the School Board is moving forward with holding its public hearing to put the three (3) smaller schools into the three (3) larger schools, another proposal is being offered. This proposal has only one change and that is to renovate J. J. Kelly too. This will make all schools equal and change the total cost to $43,323,516.50. Mr. Rivers further explained the cost savings if this proposal is accepted by the School Board. This proposal he said would keep the QSCB money and reduce the County’s indebtedness from $69M to $43M.
He spoke briefly on the QSCB money and how it can be used.
He also spoke on curriculum and the need to use 21st century technology to deliver the curriculum that the students need for a better education.
Supervisor Bates stated that the County cannot afford to keep six schools open and in operation. He asked Financial Administrator Cox if the County could maintain and operate six high schools, meet the CIP needs, and future maintenance on all other schools as well as other County buildings.
Mr. Cox said, in his opinion, this cannot be done without a 10 – 20 cent tax increase. This figure is based upon some assumptions not knowing the cuts that may be forthcoming to the school system and how much the county can afford to give the schools. He further advised the Board to hire someone to come in and check his figures if they felt his numbers were wrong.
Supervisor Rivers stated that the County can afford to finance renovation for the six high schools and sustain operational costs. However, there is a threshold that the County needs to determine.
There was further discussion on school financing, and school curriculum.
With the hour growing late, the meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
ATTEST: WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Shannon C. Scott – Clerk Dana G. Kilgore, Chair