July 20, 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:
Present: D. Hart (Chair), Wanda Thornton, Ron Wolff, R. Crockett, J. Gray, Sandra Mears, G. Chessor. L. Gordy, C.R. Major
County Attendees: Steve Miner, County Administrator , Mark Taylor, County Attorney, Mike Mason, Finance Department
Audience: 50 members
Chair D. Hart called the regular session to order at 5:00 PM.
Opening Comments: Mr. Hart discussed modifications to Agenda; Planning Commission did not meet.
Wesley Edwards from Belle Haven: He would like to talk to Board of Supervisors (BOS) about many items including jobs and education on the shore. However his major concern was the collection of delinquent taxes that represents millions to the county. He wants the BOS to address this issue so that new taxes, and even a rate reduction, may be the result. He commented that mechanisms are available to extend the collection of taxes to 20 years.
Mark Baumgartner of Virginia Beach: He discussed the proposed water/sewage treatment plant in Atlantic. He wants BOS to review if the plant is needed. He noted prior studies indicated that sewage treatment plants are needed for northern Accomack County. He added this is a critical need that has met approval of environmental quality.
John Custis of Accomac: He represented several businesses involved with procurement for the county. He addressed the need to have equality and safeguards for obtaining contracts with county. He noted that a contract was awarded to a business that had back dated taxes which were not paid. He is concern that county should follow procedures.
James Bagwell of Bloxom: He is representing Fire and Rescue council for Accomack County and accountability of funding. He discussed that departments would like to continue with current funding mode with respect to having funds available on timely basis.
CONSIDERATION OF MINUTES
Approved with corrections.
Approved with noted modifications.
REPORT OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS
Bruce Benson, Superintendent of Schools, and he was introduced by school board member. Dr. Benson addressed BOS and noted he is in a listening mode. He commented he was at Ron Wolff’s forum on Monday. He discussed several technical accomplishments for local schools in terms of their success in various scientific and vocational achievements. He noted that SOL results will be coming out in a couple weeks and review benchmarks on those results. He discussed broadband initiative at local schools; this will add resources to classes. He would like to discuss progress with BOS on regular basis. Mr. Chessor commented on new program started at Arcadia that students appreciated. Mr. Gray is the liaison between BOS and School Board and he welcomed Dr. Benson to county. Other BOS members welcomed Dr. Benson.
John Custis, Representative for Mary Smith School Alumni, discussed current status of alumni in becoming legal entity in Virginia. He thanked BOS for gift of property to alumni. He thanked Mr. Taylor and his office in his assistance. He introduced Mr. Pettit who discussed school. He gave gratitude to BOS for their effort, and commitment to process of making school a positive for county and community. He also thanked Mr. McCaleb. Mr. Gray wants it confirmed that deed has been transferred and it has.
Rhet Tignor, Economic Development Authority (EDA), wanted to discuss meeting with state representative on rural development. There are 200 acres available in industrial park, and with respect to tax structure it is an advantage for businesses. He noted that commission suggested EDA should review competition in area. Industrial park is not pad ready. Mr. Hart suggested EDA should use VACO for contact info.
Elaine Meil, A-N Planning District Commission, discussed Bay TMDL and mandate to clean up Chesapeake Bay. She noted deadline for comments to EPA is August 1 for comments and data. Decisions by VCR made urban areas cut their nitrogen run off by 14% and agriculture areas need to cut 28%. There is a concern about equity of percentage cuts in large towns and small towns and it was indicated that these cuts were based on EPA data. Ms. Thornton commented that some questions could not be answered when she attended meeting to review rules, and apparently there was no representation from Eastern Shore prior to decisions. Ms. Thornton is concerned that mandate may devastate farmers and others in area. She added EPA will not link the Clean Air act with the Clean Water act. Mr. Miner is concerned about these environmental rulings and its potential impact on county, and who will be burdened with rules. Mr. Taylor added his comments from meeting and he was frustrated by inability of reviewers to answer questions on rules. His view is that VCR may be rushing into mandates due to lack of clear answers to questions. He suggested that rural caucus needs to be involved, and he is concern that concerns and views were not given correct due. Ms. Meil reviewed several maps and nitrogen run off does not correlate with county data. Several BOS members asked for clarification. She suggested to have someone with scientific credentials to argue points. Mr. Gray suggested contacting local state representatives for assistance and guidance. Ms. Thornton appreciated Ms. Meil’s effort on this matter. Ms. Thornton would like Mr. Taylor to investigate matter and review other states. Motion made to have Mr. Taylor take action and contact local agencies. Approved. Motion for commendation to ANPC; approved.
Adoption of Fire and Rescue Funding Accountability Policy: Mr. Mason discussed changes and Mr. Hart confirmed that commission has not seen changes as of yet. About $1.2M is dispersed and clearer accountability is desired. Some areas have stricter auditing and most policies are more restrictive when compared to Accomack County. Goal is to have enhanced transparency for funds given to departments from public funds. Funds will be dispersed twice a year which is current practice. Funds will be held by county if not used or allocated. Mr. Crockett reviewed policy and he wanted county to be proactive in accounting and routing of funds. Ms. Thornton expressed concern that Fire and Rescue are volunteers and are not employees and maybe should not be burdened with additional paperwork. Mr. Wolff concurred that they are volunteers, but county funds are being used and these funds needed to be track. Ms. Major had questions about reimbursement process, and Mr. Mason noted that taxpayers monies are accountable to the county and these should be held until needed by Fire and Rescue companies. Mr. Gray is the representative for Fire Commission and he insisted they should be accountable. BOS members have varying views of holding monies for Fire and Rescue. Mr. Crockett noted that funds would be rollovered to next year if funds were not used this year. Mr. Gray asked Fire and Rescue representative about views of members and Mr. Bagwell stated that majority of members would like to keep system as is. Mr. Mason made clarifications with respect to auditing and compliance. A substitute motion was made to original motion with respect to giving money to Fire and Rescue department. Mr. Hart did not approve of plan because it is directed only towards Fire and Rescue when other local entities are not required to follow similar procedure. Other BOS members expressed views in regard to holding or having money in advance to departments. Motion was made to have substitute motion the main motion: approved 6 to 3. Substitute motion is that policy is altered so that monies are given in advance and not held by county. Mr. Miner suggested to postpone motion. Motion made to postpone until staff delivers amended policy. Postponement is approved.
Amendment to Fiscal 2010-2011 Budget: Item on funds used for “No Child Left Behind” Programs was discussed. Hearing opened. No speakers; hearing is closed. Motion made to make amendment. Approved.
Mr. Hart commented that Fire Commission did not vote on new policy. It was not correct that all Fire departments were against policy.
OLD BUSINESS (CONT’D)
Wallops Research Park (WRP): Ms. Thornton was concerned on the extent of support for WRP by BOS. She is concern about attempts by other states to capture space business from WRP. WRP sewage will be handled by NASA water and sewage services and it is not related to Atlantic sewage plant plan. She is concerned with potential $800K land swap price that may be needed if Rigell bill is not passed by Congress. Motion made to re-commit the promotion of WRP. Approved.
Eastern Shore Area Agency on Aging: Patsy Selby nominated. Approved
Eastern Shore Community College: Terry Yule nominated. Approved
Eastern Shore Library Board: David Johnson nominated. Approved.
EDA: Irene Davis nominated . Approved.
Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee: Ms Rowdie nominated. Approved. Dan Welch nominated. Approved.
Quinby Boat Harbor Committee: Deferred.
Eastern Shore Broadband Authority: John Reed nominated. Approved.
State Mandates on Local Governments: Ms. Mears discussed road systems and asked Mr. Miner for info. Mr. Miner discussed unfunded mandates that shift fiscal responsibility to counties. Ms. Thornton motioned have info on how state representatives vote in General Assembly. Approved.
Virginia Bicycle Plan 2011: A-N Planning District Commission representative discussed update of bicycle plan for locality. There was no support for bicycle trails on old railroad trails. There was support for parallel trails next to active railroad tracks. Safety training was an issue. Ms. Thornton was concerned about bicycle trails that may go on private property. Permission (easement) is needed for trails over private property. Ms. Major made point that Tourism Commission may have some plans for bicycle trails on Eastern Shore. Motion made to approve plan with exceptions of trails over private property approval. Approved.
Registrar Officers: Anne Loukx discussed appropriation of part-time registrars for elections. It will be especially busy in 2012 due to elections. Motion for additional appropriation. Approved.
Additional Video Equipment and Remote Equipment for Tangier Island: Office of Magistrate and their duties were discussed by Jimmy Rowley. Sites are needed for video conferencing and are allowed by state codes. There is limited room for all in magistrate office, and there is need to remove congestion. Another concern is Tangier Island and its remoteness which causes excessive fees in traveling to mainland for magistrate assistance. Funding is being requested for remote video equipment to aid in this matter. Mr. Crockett indicated that Sheriff Office has monies for this project. Motion made for funding. Approved.
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT
BOS COMMENT PERIOD
Mr. Crockett asked Mr. Miner about BOS policy and rules. Mr. Miner indicated that comments should be directed through Chair.
Ms. Thornton asked about auditor. Mr. Miner is waiting for last details before being circulated.
Adjournment approximately 8:50 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.