Board of Supervisors - March 8, 2012 Regular Meeting

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The Board of Supervisors met in a Regular meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:00 PM in the Board of Supervisors meeting room located in the Wise County Courthouse.  The following members were present:

Honorable Robert R. Adkins – Chairman
Honorable Virginia Meador – Vice-Chair
Honorable Dana Kilgore
Honorable J. H. Rivers
Honorable Robert E. Robbins, Jr.
Honorable Steve Bates
Honorable Ronald L. Shortt
Honorable Fred Luntsford – members of said Board and
Shannon C. Scott – County Administrator
David L. Cox – Finance Administrator
Karen T. Mullins – County Attorney
Annette Underwood – Executive Secretary

PRAYER

Randy Carter, Pastor, Pyles Memorial Church in Pound led in prayer.

PLEDGE

All led in the pledge of allegiance to the flag.

MINUTES

The following items were added to the agenda for consideration:

  1. Gravel fund discussion (Under New Business)

  2. Re-assessment if needed (Under New Business)

  3. Resolution in Support of S.J. Res. 37 Disapproving EPA’s Mercury & Air Toxics Standards Regulation

A motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Fred Luntsford, to approve the agenda as presented to include additions as noted.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ROADS AND HIGHWAYS

Supervisor Shortt  -On old Indian Creek Road pot holes need to be patched as soon as feasible.
Supervisor Shortt – On Big Branch Road ditch need to be cleaned out.

Supervisor Robbins – On Dungannon / Coeburn Road between convenience center and Powerstown, the shoulder of the road has been made too steep. 

Supervisor Rivers – At the intersection located at the top of Powell Valley Mountain, the problem with the fog needs to be addressed as an ongoing investigation to solve the problem.

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING – JOHN RING/CLIFFSIDE FARMS-SPECIAL USE PERMIT

A public hearing has been duly advertised for this date to receive citizens comments regarding a request from John Ring/Cliffside Farms for a Special Use Permit to establish a mobile home park on one half acre of a 42.695 acre tract located off Carolina Road in the Powerstown section of Coeburn.

There being no one to speak, the public hearing was closed.

IN RE:  PUBLIC HEARING – E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION

A public hearing has been duly advertised for this date to receive citizen’s comments regarding a proposed E-911 road name addition; Wildwood Ln located off Caroline Road in Coeburn. 

There being no one to speak, the public hearing was closed.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION HONORING TOM STANLEY, SR.

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to move the resolution honoring and recognizing the services of Tom Stanley, Sr. before public expression and to approve said resolution as written.  The motion was unanimously approved.
 
The resolution honoring Mr. Stanley was read & presented to him by Chairman Adkins.

RESOLUTION #                2012 (Resolution honoring Tom Stanley, Sr.)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

PUBLIC EXPRESSION

Bonnie Elosser, Executive Director for Pro-Art, addressed the Board with an update on Pro-Art activities and the high quality art performances that are being provided for the residents of Wise, Dickenson and Lee counties.  She thanked the Board for their financial support over the years to help make Pro-Art successful in its efforts to promote the arts in our region and provide entertainment for our citizens.  She also announced that Pro-Art is now debt free thanks to the continued support of the Board and many others that have given of themselves as well as monetary gifts.

Ms. Elosser asked that Pro-Art be considered in the upcoming budget in the amount of $5,000, which will allow them to continue arts and entertainment for the region.

Frank Kibler, representing LENOWISCO, reviewed the resolution in support of a CDBG Grant Application for the Stephens Sewer Line Extension that is before the Board for adoption.  He explained that the numbers may change by one or two which would make no difference in the project cost.  The project will benefit the low or moderate income (LMI) persons by providing new public sewer service to a projected 65 households, of which an estimated 47 will be LMI households.  The deadline for submission of the application is March 28.

There being no further comments, the public expression period was closed.

IN RE:  SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

Dr. Jeff Perry provided the Board with a handout of the City of Norton, Wise County Schools Proposed Interdivisional Consolidation Concept and the Public Schools Capital Project  Update.

  1. Reviewed the status of the Appalachia Elementary Gym beginning with the advertisement of bids on March 18, 2012 to final completion date of January 2, 2013.

  2. Regarding the Eastside High School Expansion & Renovation.  The project team is proceeding with the design as approved and development of the contract documents.  The contract documents are estimated to be approximately 50% complete.  Additionally, an update to the site survey has been completed and site borings have been made with the geotechnical report to be forthcoming.  Construction documents should be completed within the next few weeks and hopefully, advertisement for bids in April.

  3. Regarding Union High School.  Progress is being made and the target date to meet construction schedules and opening date is January 2014.  Work is scheduled to begin in the next few weeks.

  4. Regarding Central High School.  A permit has been secured to construct Central High School on the baseball field but want to discuss an alternative plan with the School Board and Board of Supervisors that would involve inter-divisional consolidation.

Consolidation Dates

    • Need to have LCI froze before November 2013 to maximize economic benefits

    • Must submit plan to VDOT by September 2012

    • To gain most economic benefit – plan must be submitted in 2012

    • Consolidation would take place July 1 of following year of VDOE submittal

Financial Information (All Numbers are approximate)

  • Norton City School Board has a budget of $7.5M

  • Norton City has a local effort of $2M

  • Wise County will gain $2.5M annually from LCI freeze

  • Norton City will gain $600,000 annually from LCI readjustment & Freeze

  • Wise County would add $325,000 annually to bring Norton City staff to equal wages

  • Norton City has a total debt service of $8.4M

  • Norton City has a projected debt annual payment of $500,000

  • Both School divisions would benefit financially from this consolidation

The following elements of the proposed Interdivisional Consolidation, which are very preliminary at this point in time, were reviewed and discussed as followed:

  • Finance and Governance

  • Personnel

  • Plant Operations

  • Student Issues

  • Athletics

  • Instructional and Curriculum

  • Wise County Curriculum

  • Norton City Curriculum

When asked if there had been any plans made to move the Eastside High School, Dr. Perry stated that members of the Wise County group felt very adamant that there was a commitment made to the Coeburn and St. Paul communities that Eastside High School would not be moved from its current site.

Dr. Perry stated that one thing that will be asked of all four boards is that they hold a public hearing.  The next question to be asked of the Boards and the municipals is whether or not they are interested in this concept.  With time being of the essence, he asked that the Board study the information as presented to them and provide him with an answer by the end of the month if possible.

There was some discussion on the cost to enlarge Central to accommodate Norton students.  Dr. Perry explained that the estimated cost would be approximately $5 - $7M .  Since this addition is not feasible on the Central baseball field, the alternative site of 25 acres located above Barnette’s Construction in Esserville would be sufficient.  Water and sewer is available for this site, which would enable the School Board to move forward fairly quickly on construction plans.  Dr. Perry noted that legal counsel is being contacted regarding this proposed change. 

IN RE:  NATIONAL FOREST SERVICES ACTIVITIES UPDATE

Jorge Hersel, District Ranger, provided the Board with the Forest Services plans to evaluate all roads and recreation areas within the Clinch Ranger District for the purpose of assessing a strategy for the best means of using the funding being allocated the Forest Service and still provide recreation to the public.

The District consists of 92,000 acres which incorporates the counties of Scott, Lee, Dickenson, and Wise.  Within this scope, there are 220 miles of roads and 140 miles of trails that are maintained by the Forest Service.  Funds to maintain these roads are decreasing, which will give probable cause for closure of some roads and recreation facilities.  An evaluation of such facilities will be made to determine the public use and cost for operations.  With limited resources, tough decisions must be made to cut costs.  Mr. Hersel explained that public comments are encouraged on any changes that may be forthcoming.

On another note, Mr. Hersel stated that the High Knob Observation Tower will soon be let to contract and the 33 mile horse riding trail will be completed in the spring, which will be an additional tourist attraction for Wise County.

RECESS

A recess was taken at 7:55 PM

The meeting reconvened at 8:10 PM

IN RE:  COMCAST UPDATE

Russell Byrd, Senior Director of Government & Public Affairs for Comcast, addressed the Board with an update on their new cable channel offerings which will be made available to the Norton Service Region on or before June 24, 2012.

As Comcast starts digitizing its analog cable channels this week as part of its ongoing digital network enhancement, it is reminding its customers in the communities served to take steps to obtain their digital equipment for up to three TVs at no additional cost.

Comcast has already added new channels for customers using digital equipment and expects to add more HD channels on June 14.  Once Comcast’s network upgrade is complete, the company will significantly expand its HD lineup.

Moving to digital is a more efficient use of the existing cable infrastructure without having to dig up cable in neighborhoods.  By re-allocating analog channels, Comcast is able to triple the space on its network that can be used to give customers more HD and faster internet service.

To make room for new services, Comcast is eliminating the analog carriage of Full Basic Cable channels and providing the equipment that customers will need as a result at no additional charge for most customers.

Mr. Byrd spoke briefly on features that would be available for students on low income levels and the Low Priced Limited Basic Cable Tier which would benefit the low income and the elderly.

IN RE:  REASSESSMENT / MACHINERY & TOOLS UPDATE

Commissioner of the Revenue Doug Mullins addressed the Board regarding general reassessment and the methodology of applying the depreciation of machinery and tool.

Regarding general reassessment in that it follows the six (6) year cycle with the next effective date of 2015, he  ask that the Board consider moving to a four (4) year general reassessment cycle beginning January 2014.  The Virginia Code Section 58.1-3254 allows this action by majority vote of the Board and does not require a public hearing.

In 2004 when the Board gave Mr. Mullins the support to execute the County first in-house reassessment, he felt that the four (4) year cycle should have been adopted at that time.  Six years of property sells and activity creates too much variance in property value.  In a six year period the values are out of line and some of the County’s tax paying citizens unfortunately suffer “sticker shock” with the next property equalization.  He explained that the decrease and increase value of property during the six year cycle does  cause alarm.  If the Board adopts the four (4) year reassessment cycle, any increase or decrease in property value should be more gradual.  The four (4) year cycle will allow the assessors to conduct field work every two (2) years staying updated on property activity.  General reassessment is required by law and is done for the purpose of property equalization and not for the purpose of raising taxes.

Mr. Mullins asked the Board to consider his request of adopting a four (4) year cycle general reassessment to insure that the reassessment process is performed at the highest and most professional level possible and without additional cost to the tax payers.  He asked that the Board consider taking action on this request at this meeting.

After discussion, the Board agreed that they need more time to study this request and noted that it will be placed on the Recessed meeting on the 29th for further review.

In an effort to bring the County’s current machinery and tools depreciation rates in line with industry standards, the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office is modifying machinery and tools depreciation costs for the upcoming fiscal year.  This modification is an inner office policy and does not require Board action.  However, this presentation is being made to the Board for the purpose of the County’s budget consideration.  A brief history of the M&T rates shows that in the l990s and prior, all M&T property was valued at 57% of original cost and did not change over the life of the equipment.  After discussion with energy officials, it was apparent that the County’s M&T chart was out of line with industry standards.  After two years of research and contact with five energy industry officials of various corporations, Mr. Mullins said he has derived at an amenity rate that is more reflected of market standards.  This rate has the majority approval of members in the energy field.  The energy officials, consultants, and accountants have maintained for years that the County’s M&T depreciation rates were not reflective with industry standards.  Energy industries want M&T depreciation charts adjusted.  The adjustment to the County’s M&T chart will create a revenue short fall projected to be approximately $650,000 if the current M&T tax rate of $1.15 per $100 is maintained.  In order to maintain a revenue neutral situation for the County and industry, the M&T rate would have to be adjusted to $1.41 per $100, which is still below the personal property tax rate of $1.49. This M&T rate change is reflected in the resolution before the Board to set the County annual tax rate.     

IN RE:  CONSENT AGENDA

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to approve the consent agenda as follows:

IN RE:   BEACON OF LIFE AMBULANCE SERVICE, INC.

Approved the resolution granting approval to Beacon of Life Ambulance service, Inc. to operate and locate in Wise County, Virginia per approval of the Office of Emergency Medical Services of Virginia.

RESOLUTION #________2012 (Beacon of Life Ambulance Service, Inc)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  SOUTHWEST AMBULANCE SERVICE, INC.

Approved the resolution granting approval to Southwest Ambulance Service, Inc, to operate and locate in Wise County, Virginia per approval of the Office of Emergency Medical Services of Virginia.

RESOLUTION #               2012 (Southwest Ambulance Service, Inc.)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  STEPHENS SEWER LINE EXTENSION – CDBG GRANT APPLICATION

Approved the resolution in support of CDBG Grant application for the Stephens Sewer Line Extension.

RESOLUTION #                   2012 (Resolution CDBG Grant – Stephens Sewer Line Extension)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  NEW PEOPLES BANK –CONDITIONAL REZONING

Set a public hearing for April 12, 2012 @ 6:00 PM on a request from New Peoples Bank for a Conditional rezoning of 5.96 acres located on 1749 Strawberry Patch Road in Big Stone Gap

IN RE:  E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION

Set public hearing for April 12, 2012 @ 6:00 PM on a proposed E-911 road name addition

IN RE:  APPROPRIATIONS

Approved the 4th Quarter appropriations

The motion to approve the consent agenda was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  CONVENIENCE CENTER HOURS

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to change the convenience center evening hours from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM during the summer months beginning and ending with daylight savings time.

Aye-    Robby Robbins                                    Nay-    Fred Luntsford
                                                                        Virginia Meador
                                                                        Bob Adkins
                                                                        Steve Bates
                                                                        Ronnie Shortt
                                                                        Dana Kilgore  
                                                                        J. H. Rivers
Motion failed.

IN RE:  JOHN RING / CLIFFSIDE FARMS – SPECIAL USE PERMIT

A public hearing was held on March 8, 2012 to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from John Ring / Cliffside Farms for a Special Use Permit to establish a mobile home park on one half acre of a 42.695 acre tract located off Carolina Road in the Powerstown section of Coeburn.

There were no public comments regarding the request for the Special Use Permit.

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to approve the Special Use Permit as requested by John Ring / Cliffside Farms.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  E-911 ROAD NAME ADDITION

A public hearing was held on March 8, 2012 to receive citizens’ comments regarding the proposed E-911 road name addition:  Wildwood Lane located off Carolina Road in Coeburn.

There were no public comments regarding the proposed road name addition.

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to approve the E-911 road name addition as noted.  The motion was unanimously approved.

 IN RE:  PROPERTY TAX RATE

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to approve the resolution setting the Property Tax Rate for FY 2012/2013.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #              2012 ( Resolution setting property tax rate)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  BUDGET AMENDMENTS

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to approve budget amendments #32 & #33 as presented.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  GRAVEL FUND APPROPRIATION

Finance Administrator Cox explained that after reviewing the gravel fund payments for February, he found that the gravel fund was depleted.  This, he felt, is due to all the heavy rains and storms that have caused roads to wash out, etc.  After polling the Coal & Gas Road Advisory Committee on the need to replenish the gravel fund, it was agreed that an amount up to $100,000 be appropriated to replenish that fund through the end of June 2012.

After discussion, a motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to approve an additional appropriation of up to $100,000 to the gravel fund subject to ratification by the Coal & Gas Road Advisory Committee.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  RESOLUTION SUPPORTING DISAPPROVING EPA’S MERCURY & AIR TOXICS

A motion was made by Virginia Meador, seconded by Robby Robbins, to approve the resolution in support of S. J. Res. 37 Disapproving EPA’s Mercury & Air Toxics Standards Regulation.  The motion was unanimously approved.

RESOLUTION #               2012 (Resolution in Support of S.J. Res. 37 Disapproving EPA’s Mercury
                                                       & Air Toxics Standards Regulation)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS

Steve Bates nominated Josh Mabe to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Ronnie Shortt made a motion that nominations cease.  Fred Luntsford seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Josh Mabe was appointed by acclamation.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – PLANNING COMMISSION

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by Bob Adkins, to appoint Roger G. Mullins to the Planning Commission for a term of four years.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – BUILDING CODE & APPEALS BOARD

Fred Luntsford nominated Steve Brooks for re-appointment to the Building Code & Appeals Board.

Fred Luntsford made a motion that nominations be closed.  Ronnie Shortt seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Steve Brooks was re-appointed by acclamation.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – REDEVELOPMENT & HOUSING AUTHORITY

Bob Adkins made a motion that Terry Bates be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Elsie Kern on the Redevelopment & Housing Authority.  Steve Bates seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – LONESOME PINE YOUTH SERVICES BOARD

A motion was made by Fred Luntsford, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to table the appointment to the Lonesome Pine Youth Services Board until the Recessed meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2012.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  APPOINTMENT – WISE COUNTY PSA

A motion was made by Robby Robbins, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to table the appointment to the PSA until the Recessed meeting on Thursday, March 29, 2012.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  CLOSE SESSION

A motion was made by Dana Kilgore, seconded by Ronnie Shortt, to go into close session per the following Code Sections as permitted by the Code of Virginia:

  • Section 2.2-3711(A(6)  Investing of public funds and

       (A)(7)  Consultation with legal counsel

After close session, a motion was made by Ronnie Shortt, seconded by Virginia Meador, to reconvene the regular meeting.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Secretary Underwood read the certification for close session.

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Robby Robbins, to approve the resolution verifying matters discussed while in close session.  The motion was unanimously approved by roll call vote.

RESOLUTION #                2012 ( Resolution Close Session)

(Said resolution is on file in the County Administrator’s Office)

IN RE:  WELLMONT HELICOPTER SERVICES

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, to authorize the County Attorney to review and address Wellmont One’s request to provide emergency helicopter services in Wise County in regard to recent reports received from the AG Office and the Office of Emergency Management.  Virginia Meador seconded the motion.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  FACILITY FEE POLICY FOR TOWN OF WISE WATER & SEWER CONNECTIONS

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to adopt a Facility Fee Policy for connections to the Town of Wise System for all applicants/developers/builders/homeowners for them to pay the Town of Wise facility fees prior to connection approval by the County effective immediately.  The motion was unanimously approved.

IN RE:  CULBY SUPPLY – CONDITIONAL REZONING

A public hearing was held on February 9, 2012 to receive citizens’ comments regarding a request from Culby Supply for a Conditional Rezoning of five (5) acres to build a multi-unit apartment complex.

There were no public comments regarding the request.

A motion was made by Steve Bates, seconded by J. H. Rivers, to approve the Culby Supply Conditional Rezoning request subject to condition and/or notice that the applicant/ developer will be solely responsible for the facility fee costs to the Town of Wise for water and sewer connections and specifically, this is notice that Wise County’s adopted Facility Fee Policy is that the facility fee cost for connections to the Town of Wise will be at the sole expense of the applicant/developer and any approval for such connections shall be obtained prior to securing a building permit.  The motion was unanimously approved.

BOARD COMMENTS

There were brief comments from Board members.

RECESS

A motion was made by J. H. Rivers, seconded by Dana Kilgore, to recess the meeting until Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 6:00 PM.  The motion was unanimously approved.

ATTEST:                                                         WISE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

_____________________________________          ________________________________________
Shannon C. Scott, Clerk                                               Robert R. Adkins, Chairman

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