May 18, 2011 Accomack County Board of Supervisors Regular Monthly Meeting
Accomac Board Chambers, Accomac, Virginia
Agenda materials and audio recording of this meeting may be found through this link:
Board of Supervisors Materials
Present: D. Hart (Chair), Wanda Thornton, Ron Wolff, S. Mears, G. Chessor, R. Crockett, C.R. Major, L. Gordy. Absent: J. Gray
County Attendees: Steve Miner, County Administrator, Mark Taylor, County Attorney, Mike Mason, Finance Department
Audience: 20 members
Chair D. Hart called the regular session to order at 5:00 PM.
Opening Comments: Mr. Hart discussed the letters to those counties in Virginia who suffered tornado damage recently and there have been many positive responses. Mr. Hart noted a personal observation during travelling near Wise County, and he noted the tremendous damage that occurred after the tornado near Route I-81. Mr. Hart thanked Ms. Mears suggestion on letters.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Modifications made. Approved
Tim Getek of Greenbackville: He discussed Health Fair to be held at Captain’s Cove on June 11 from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM sponsored by the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Captain’s Cove. Public invited; admission free.
Wesley Edwards: He discussed tax collection in county and the need to collect delinquent taxes. Accomack County has one of the worse collection rates in Virginia.
Bob Gresham of Accomac: He would like BOS to review lobbyist position in Accomack County. He would like info about lobbyist’s effort discussed with public. He handed out report from lobbyist and he is concerned about partisan politics and politics in general.
Roy Custis of Painter: He discussed county taxes he may owe. He would like resolution to confirm matter. Ms. Major asked county attorney about issue. Mr. Taylor indicated action does not seem to be undertaken and it is not clear to him the delay in action. Ms. Major made motion to resolve issue. Ms. Bundick, Treasurer, clarified issue with the four lots, and three lots still had delinquent taxes. Mr. Taylor described parcels of land and the need to abate taxes. Ms Thornton asked who assigned numbers to parcels. Ms. Thornton would like review of parcels and proper numbering. Motion approved.
Approved with modifications.
REPORT OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS
Fiscal Report Third Quarter FY 2011: Mr. Mason discussed report. He reviewed revenues actual and predicted. Major drop in building permits in county. Although revenues are down 2.0%, decreases were predicted to be down 5.5%. Ms. Mears discussed program statewide to reduce overall costs. Mr. Mason he is planning to attend meeting to discuss issue.
Lobbyist Info: Rob Catron for Alcade & Fay, LTD to discuss status. Mr. Miner noted that funds need to be reviewed. He discussed the first six months of effort. He noted county administrator set the agenda for lobbying. Mr. Catron noted Wallops Research Park (WRP) and the need to remove deed restriction. He met with local congressman, Mr. Rigell, to consider issue. Legislation is required to move ahead with deed matter. Virginia senators, Warner and Webb, were contacted on deed concern. It is a major effort to move this bill through both houses, but such effort has been successful before. He commented on NASA and status. The work on UAV (unmanned air vehicle) may be able to increase in WRP area. Mr. Catron discussed Chesapeake Bay improvement plan for watershed. This plan was approved by EPA, and later this year EPA will propose contaminant restrictions for bay and tributaries. It is expected that this will put responsibility on farmlands and drainage. The Clean Water Act has provisions whereby a citizen can take companies and governments to court over act. This appears to be an unfunded mandate that would be a burden to localities according to Mr. Catron. One business that may have a concern is the poultry business. Another item is wastewater concerns on Eastern Shore. States can receive grant loans for wastewater, but counties cannot receive them directly. Mr. Catron noted a natural gas line is planned for Pocomoke; possibly county may want to proceed to consider gas line for county.
Mr. Crockett discussed the EPA rules on TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Rules for bay. Mr. Crockett asked about effort for TMDL since other areas may be involved. Mr. Catron noted only Accomack County has a large base agricultural businesses. Mr. Crockett noted his concerns about lobbyist and the costs versus cost benefits. Mr. Crockett confirmed that if BOS takes no action on lobbyist then funding will terminate on June 30.
Ms. Thornton commented on land swap that may save county $820K and the effort of Mr.Catron’s firm. She added her effort on local issues and the apparent need for some lobbying help in state and federal congress.
Mr. Chessor expressed his concerns about lobbying and overall he does not approve continuing lobbyist effort.
Ms. Major reviewed lobbyist efforts for other jurisdictions and it seems in this era of economics that one need to invest money to obtain money and it may make good sense to continue funding lobbyist for another six months.
Mr. Wolff asked about lobbying effort. Mr. Catron discussed effort on deed swap and how it may be passed by Congress due to increasing jobs in area without spending additional federal funds. Mr. Wolff wants to county to move forward on WRP and conserving money. Mr. Wolff cited Mr. Rigell’s (Congress Representative) town hall meeting yesterday and statements from Tangier Island residents. Mr. Catron stated that trying to put projects in a queue for review is not easy.
Ms. Gordy noted that folks from Tangier Island residents will go to Congress to lobby for their own needs
Ms. Mears noted that she is not decided on issue of continuing funding for lobbyist. She suggested that action should be decided next month.
BOS members made other points to consider for action on next month’s decision. Motion was made to postpone decision until next month. Approved.
Publishing Board’s Agenda: Mr. Miner discussed plan and expenses. Ms. Thornton mentioned she wants to get info to public, but she is concerned if this is effective. Motion was made to postpone. Approved 7 to 1.
Eastern Shore Area Agency on Aging/Community Action: Need citizen to serve.
Eastern Shore Resource Conservation and Development: Deferred.
Capital Improvement Plan: Mr. Mason discussed plan. It is a long range planning tool. Ms. Gordy asked about land issue and Ms. Thornton pointed out that it is related to congressional plan.
NATIONAL SAFE BOATING PLAN
Mr. Carey of Coast Guard Flotilla in Painter discussed the critical need for safety during boating. BOS has approved motion for Safe Boating Plan.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Mr. Miner noted several items. Fire tax update was considered. Fire tax is done by district, and district lines have recently changed due to census. Billing was sent out for fire tax, and next billing will be based on old district lines. Mr. Taylor noted that fire districts are different from election districts.
Atlantic, Craddockville, Leemont, Painter, Scarboroughs Neck, and Shields Agricultural and Forestal Districts: Mr. Testaman of Planning for County indicated the precedents for ruling. His recommendation is to continue these districts with modifications. Public hearing is opened; Ms. Mears has property in Leemont area and recuses herself. No further speakers. Hearing is closed. Motions made to accept each individual area separately. All districts approved. Motion made for Leemont area; approved with one abstention.
Transportation Partnership Funds: Item to gain access for rockets on roads discussed by Mr. Miner. Public hearing opened; no speakers. Hearing is closed. Motion made to approve funds. Approved.
Disposal of Deeded Land at Johnson’s Landing: Mr. Taylor discussed issue of quick claim deed that drops all claims to property. Mr. Taylor recommends holding off on hearing until plat is reviewed. Public hearing is opened; no speakers. Hearing is closed. Mr. Taylor made recommendation that motion can be made with suitable reservations. Approved.
Transient Occupancy Tax: Mr. Hart opened the public hearing after staff report. Mr. Taylor discussed the action of state that allows for occupancy tax for point of tourism. This is county wide with some towns exempted. Hearing is opened.
Lisa Lamontaine is member of Eastern Shore of Tourism and she speaks in favor of tax with respect to tourism.
Steve Potts of Chincoteague: He is member of tourism commission in Chincoteague. He approves tax and wants to add it for tourism and signage.
Sandra Fox of Onancock: She represents Bed and Breakfast Association. She is in favor of occupancy tax.
Robert Lentz of Puncoteague: He discussed tax. He noted that tax is designated for tourism by tourists. He approves concept tax.
Lois Cooper of Puncoteague: She noted that tax will be for tourism and not impact local citizens. She approves ordinance.
Donna Bosa of Tasley: She is Director of Tourism. She discussed Welcome Center built by tourism commission. She commented tourism is very important to shore. Welcome Center could be aided by Occupancy Tax.
Lynn Lockett of Chesapeake: Representative State Tourism for Virginia. She wants to cooperate with Eastern Shore tourism. She does need funding to promote tourism and would like occupancy tax to aid in this area.
Hearing is closed. Mr. Taylor commented on new ordinance for occupancy tax. Motion was made to approve new ordinance. Approved. Ms. Thornton made motion to make tax 5%. Approved.
Exemption for Disabled Veterans: Mr. Taylor made point this is not an optional act. It was passed by state and is self executing. Mr. Taylor is recommending that county passes ordinance. Public hearing is opened.
Betty Reed of Olney: She is surviving member of disabled veteran who passed away 1997. She questioned the date of enacted ordinance. Mr. Taylor commented that date is mandated by state law.
Hearing is closed. Motion is made to amend act. Approved. Mr. Hart recommend a letter to discuss mandated enaction date. Motion made for letter. Approved.
COUNTY’S ADMINSITRATOR REPORT (CONT’D)
Mr. Miner discussed fire and rescue accountability report. He commented on Washington Post article on clamming on Eastern Shore.
COUNTY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Mr. Chessor noted the late hours of administrators working for county
Ms. Mears discussed for drug use card. Motion to suspend rules. Approved. Motion to review discount dental plan. Approved.
Ms. Thornton discussed absentee of EDA representative at meetings. Representative needs to consider continued service on EDA. She also mentioned that county had a liaison between BOS and constitutional officers. She would like to reinstate liaison; this would be placed on agenda next month. Ms. Thornton would like to have materials in electronic form. Motion made to suspend rules. Approved. Ms. Thornton for those BOS members who want electronic media should request it. She also motioned that BOS members should be furnished with internet access. Motion approved.
Ms. Major noted her approval of return of electronic media.
Ms. Gordy preferred paper; but understands need for computer.
Ms. Mears added to dental plan about meeting with folks involved.
Executive session to discuss personnel and contracts.
Adjournment approximately 8:32 PM
Notes by Tim Getek
N.B. These notes do not constitute the public record of this meeting. The information contained herein is offered in good faith and is presented as accurately as possible. These notes are intended to be a public service devoid of political commentary for those who are interested in following the civic affairs of Chincoteague Island and Accomack County. Notes of the meeting are recorded, transcribed and distributed by volunteers who receive no financial compensation for their efforts.