Lee Supervisors Meeting Report – April 2017

[DOWNLOAD the agenda for this meeting.]

JONESVILLE – The Lee County Board of Supervisors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 in the General District Courtroom at the Courthouse in Jonesville. Your county supervisors are Mr. Robert Smith (1), Mr. Nathan Cope (2), Mr. Larry Mosley (3), Mr. Charles Slemp, Jr. (4), and Mr. D.D. Leonard (5). All board members were present, as were Mr. Dane Poe, County Administrator, Ms. Jeny Hughes, administrative assistant, and Ms. Stacy Estep Muncy, county attorney. Less than 12 members of the public were in attendance, including your reporter.

The meeting lasted for about an hour. It began with the invocation prayer by Mr. Kyle Burnette, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Pennington Gap, followed by the pledge of allegiance. The meeting was then called to order.

First up were departmental reports, given in the following order: (1) Building Inspector, Mr. Keith Herring, (2) E-9-1-1, Mr. Alan Bailey, (3) Extension Office, Ms. Amy Fannon.

Mr. Herring reported that in Q1 2017, the following permit types were issued. Three new dwellings, three additions, three models [sic], 45 new electrical services and/or heat pumps, 12 manufactured homes, nine garages, ramps or porches, five listed as “other”, and zero new businesses or duplexes. There was a total of 81 permits issued during the quarter. By district, that number can be divided as follows: Rose Hill 13, White Shoals 7, Jonesville 18, Rocky Station 27, and Yokum Station 16. Permit fees totaled $18,323.31. A contractor’s tax of $2,359.85 was also collected. The Building Inspection Department made 270 construction site visits, found 10 violations, and had to investigate 13 property complaints during the period. Mr. Mosley asked about the type of property complaints. Mr. Herring reported that most had to do with improper set up of mobile homes.

Mr. Bailey provided a small handout report for each member of the Board, the County Administrator and the administrative assistant, but not the members of the public. He began his report with discussion of phone calls his department received in the month of March 2017. Total calls received were 3,395. Of those, 668 were 9-1-1 calls, with 458 being wireless, and the balance being landline calls. Bailey continued his report detailing the progress of three grant projects in which he is currently engaged. The first grant project he mentioned is concerned with the upgrade of the department’s call handling equipment. Bailey said that a conference call was held on Friday, April 14 among member jurisdictions that make up the Southwest Virginia group concerning the upgrades scheduled through the vendor West Safety Services. Due to unresolved problems that West discovered in their network, the migration onto their hosted A 9-1-1 solution was delayed. Bailey reported, “Today (Tuesday, April 18) was the original cut-over date for Lee County, and that cut-over has now been scheduled for Thursday, the 27th.”

The second grant project Bailey is working on concerns replacing the aged radio equipment and the 9-1-1 center. After its purchase approval in last month’s (March 2017) meeting, Bailey got word from our vendor, Two Way Radio, Inc., that the ordered equipment has arrived, and preliminary setup is underway at their shop. Bailey said, “Two Way Radio is waiting for the current project of the call handling equipment upgrade to finish before creating the needed space in our equipment room for the new radio equipment. David Smith with Two Way Radio, and myself [Bailey] have been going over ideas for possible equipment locations, but everything hinges on getting the call handling equipment replaced and out of the way.”

The third grant project Bailey is working on is replacing the no longer vendor supported mapping display network for the county’s 9-1-1 center. Bailey stated, “Currently, as part of the grant, new laptops, and an administrative workstation have been ordered. Remaining components are the new dispatch workstations, as well as new servers that will house the county’s Geographical Information System (GIS).” That project has run into some delays due to the other on-going projects.

Bailey went on to report on the changes within the St. Charles Volunteer Rescue Squad since last month’s meeting. Bailey handed out a fax to county supervisors, Ms. Hughes, and Mr. Poe detailed the changes and included an insurance invoice. Regarding the St. Charles Volunteer Rescue Squad, Bailey also reported, “The new captain contacted me today about scheduling some radio tests, and is hopeful that the agency will be able to resume running calls starting this Friday (April 21).”

Bailey concluded his report by stating, “9-1-1 road sign work has run into some delays this month due to conflicting schedules, but will resume in May.” Mr. Mosley (3) asked, “How far behind are the people that work on the road signs—the contractors?” Bailey answered, “The big… we’re not really majorly behind on a lot of things, it’s just from where we just–we were wanting to get some scheduled dates in this month, but neither my schedule, nor the contractor’s schedule allowed for any openings.” Bailey continued, “I’ve also got some training going on this last week here. I’m hoping to kick off things near the first of May, but we’ve got road signs that are down throughout the county. I’ve, uh, recently been informed of just three additional ones today: one of them up in the Keokee area that I wasn’t aware of that is completely missing, so I’ve added it to the list, and hoping to get rescheduled here.” The sign and signpost missing in Keokee is for Ballfield Road.

Mr. Poe asked, “Do you need to go out with them [the contractors]?” Bailey responded, “So that they know exactly where the signs are to be located at.” Poe then stated, “Looks like you would just mark them on a map, and each general area, if they have got the map, they should be able to find it. I mean, we’re spending double—double time, double labor when they’ve got the contract to do it. We shouldn’t have to go out with them and hand walk them to every location. Isn’t there a typical standard of where you set them [the signs] back? They should be able to tell from the other utilities how far to set back from the road and other signage, but—there may be some that’s a little bit odd, but I would think that there’s a lot of them that, if they were marked on the map, and they had a region map, you know, getting to that area, they should be able to cover them on their own.” Bailey responded, “We’ve run into a couple of times where in doing so, they’ve actually put the signs up in the wrong locations, due to driveways that are sometimes so close together its hard for them to really differentiate one driveway from the other. I’ve tried to do better markings and stuff like that, but sometimes where when I’ve been able to go out to pre-mark, by the time that the installation, some of the paint and stuff like that has eroded away.”

Poe then said, “You may even get an area map, and then where its an individual driveway, and you can tell from your mapping if they’re fairly close together, maybe you could do an expanded [map view] so they could pinpoint. Of course, house number should help them, if they [homeowners] have got their house number up, but if they don’t, mailboxes or something should trigger them. I’m just looking at a way to save having double labor out there, with what we’re paying them, and then taking your time, too.”

Mr. Smith (1) asked Mr. Bailey who the contractors were, because he had seen them recently near his house in unmarked vehicles. Mr. Poe answered, “Signs and Designs out of Wise.” Poe said, “The major work they did for us previously before they got into this [9-1-1 signage] was that they did the welcome signs and the entrance sign down at the airport. They just got into this type of work in the past couple year.” Smith went on to say, “Really I didn’t know who they were. They just had a plain Chevrolet pickup. I just happened to be going up the road by the house, and I saw them out there putting it [a road sign] up. They didn’t have any kind of identification on the vehicle of who they were or what they were doing.” Bailey added, “The previous sign contractor that we had before them didn’t have any identification on their vehicle, either. It was just a truck they had.” Bailey went on to say, “The previous sign contractor we had before them didn’t have any markings on their vehicles, either. It was just a truck that they had. The only company that we’ve had—it was PSI that did the original installations—but they were stationed out of Roanoke.” Bailey continued, “And it just—it was too much of a conflict scheduling on trying to get them down here, ‘cause they would promise to be down here one month, and something or other would happen, it got pushed off to another month, and another month, and another month, and the next thing I know 10 months have gone by, and we hadn’t had a chance to do any road work.” Mr. Slemp (Rocky Station) asked if the sign contractors have a physical location in Wise, and Bailey answered that they do.

Regarding the St. Charles Volunteer Rescue Squad, Mr. Slemp (4) asked, “is everything in order there?” Bailey answered, “I know they’re trying to get things situated up there. I don’t know all the, the full… I’ve been updated just a little bit and they’re gonna be having another meeting this Saturday, that they’ve asked for me to attend, so, and just, like I spoke here in the report, the new captain, Jeff Oaks, he contacted me today. They’re hoping to try to get back up and running starting this Friday [April 21].” Mr. Leonard (5) said, “Nathan [Cope] and I met with them, and we’ve kept in contact. We felt like they made the right decision.” Slemp asked Mosley, “Did you guys help them negotiate these positions?” Leonard answered, “Yes, well not all the positions, just the main position–the captain’s position.” Slemp said, “I noticed the captain that was first chosen has already resigned, and somebody else has taken his place.” Leonard said, “Yeah, that—it’s worked itself out, I think. We’ve decided to work with them the best we could and give them a couple months to see if they’re going to work together.”

The Board decided to discuss the insurance invoice for the St. Charles Volunteer Rescue Squad in closed session. Poe noted, “If they’re asking to draw down funding, they need to submit a current roster, a current list of their officers, and if they have expense records for the prior year, they need to submit those. That’s just typically what we require of them. If they are reorganizing, I’d definitely like to see a roster and the officers so that we know who we are dealing with.”

Ms. Fannon reported on current events with the Extension Office, including a calving workshop and beekeeping workshop held recently, as well as the good agriculture practices workshop for tobacco farmers, and the annual grafting workshop: all of which were well-attended. Annual 4-H competition will be May 4, 2017 for Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties. Youth will be competing in public speaking, dramatic reading, and science fair in that contest. Fannon remarked that she will be planting a corn variety trial next week. Preparation for 4-H Camp is going well, and that registrations are currently being taken. The Lee County Beef Program Show is on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Leeman Field in Pennington Gap. The 4-H agent position is currently still vacant, with plans to advertise the position in July to have a person in place for the schools at the start of next school year.

The treasurer’s report was reviewed by the supervisors, but no discussion took place. No copy of this report was shown or made available to the public in attendance.

Time was allotted for public expression, but no one had anything to express at the time.

The minutes for the meeting of March 21, 2017 were approved with a motion by Charles Slemp, Jr. (4) and seconded by Nathan Cope (2). All supervisors voted to approve, except Mr. Mosley (3), who abstained since he was absent from the March 2017 meeting.

Delegations listed on the agenda, Office Space, Garry Williams, and Electoral Board, were not present and were therefore not discussed.

The Board had three new business items on the agenda: (1) “Board appointments for the Lonesome Pine Office on Youth”, (2) “Transfer Station Pay Request #16”, and (3) “Sheriff’s Request for Additional Funding”.

The Board voted to table Item (1) as the candidate list has not yet been finalized.

The second item dealt with the final pay request to Green Construction for the new transfer station project in Jonesville. The pay request dollar amount was $38,302.71. All work has been completed, except one item–the installation of a gauge–and that will be completed shortly, as reported by Mr. Poe. The traffic pattern will be slightly different at at the transfer station, and the public need to be aware of that when they visit. The only item of some concern was that the software that they were planning to use with the new scales is no longer offered or supported through the vendor, so more time will be needed to get the new scales up and running. That means that the old scales and scale house will continue to be used until the replacement software can be put into place. The new transfer station has been inspected and approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the new site replaces the temporary transfer station that was built on site in 1994, as reported by Poe.

Mr. Smith (Rose Hill) asked if the PSA was going to move into the old transfer station site. Mr. Poe confirmed that the PSA has requested to use the old office building there.

There was much discussion about item (3), “Sheriff’s Request for Additional Funding”. Mr. Poe summarized the request as being for $15,000 to be added to his budget for the use of off-duty officers to transfer juvenile and mental patients to various locations. Poe had some concerns about the request, but had not had a chance to discuss them with the sheriff before the meeting. Poe’s concerns stemmed from the appropriation of county funds to pay off duty officers in this way, and how that pay could impact their hours of service to the county insofar as compensatory time, overtime, and retirement account payments are concerned. Poe therefore recommended that the request be tabled and looked at during the regular budgeting process, with no funding added until the new budget goes into effect July 1, 2017. The Board voted unanimously to table the item for further discussion next month until such time as the concerns could be discussed with the sheriff.

The Board then went into closed session to discuss the St. Charles Volunteer Fire Department insurance invoice, pending litigation, and other pertinent matters.

Following closed session, the Board adjourned until their next scheduled monthly meeting, which be held Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Lee County Courthouse in Jonesville.

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