POUND — The Pound Town Council has told the Wise County Board of Supervisors it opposes a proposed request for the Virginia General Assembly to repeal the town’s charter.
Tuesday’s emergency meeting was held in an outside picnic area because town hall and employees had been exposed to COVID-19, according to Mayor Stacey Carson. At least 25 town residents and members of the public filled picnic tables, though, to hear the depleted three-member council adopt the resolution by Clifton Cauthorne.
As a church carillon played “Onward Christian Soldiers” downtown, Cauthorne read the full resolution.
The town resolution claimed that Virginia law requires a town council and the surrounding county board of supervisors to adopt an agreement before the town’s charter can be repealed.
“No joint agreement has been negotiated between [Pound and Wise County],” the resolution states.
The draft county resolution, up for consideration at Thursday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, makes a direct request to the General Assembly to repeal Pound’s 1984 charter and its 1946 incorporation.
Cauthorne’s resolution also states that the council must vote to petition Circuit Court for a town voter referendum on whether to annul and repeal the charter. No such referendum has been requested, he added.
The resolution “rejects the narrative being put forward” in the county draft that “the town has a total disregard for the basic tenets of a local government.” It cites the county draft’s claims that town government is not able to provide a “fiscally responsible and safe environment” or to guarantee protection of citizens, persons and property.
Cauthorne also encouraged town residents to go to a county Republican Party meeting in Wise later Tuesday, adding that most or all of the supervisors are probably Republican.
After a 3-0 vote to adopt the resolution, Carson urged residents to attend Thursday’s supervisors meeting and show “civility” while speaking during the public comment session.
As Carson closed the one-item emergency meeting, council member Glenn Cantrell tried to request a special called meeting on Sept. 14 to make up for the two failed attempts at a regular August council meeting.
Cantrell said the special meeting was needed to show the county that Pound was serious about resolving issues such as a delay in issuing any property tax tickets in 2021.
Leabern Kennedy, the only candidate in a November special election to fill one of two empty council seats, said Tuesday’s resolution was needed.
“We as citizens are not going to take this lying down,” Kennedy said. “Everybody’s going to have to work together.”
Kennedy said the town was “raped” over being forced this summer to surrender the water and sewer system to the county’s Public Service Authority.
“I think (the county) has some valid points”, Kennedy said, adding that council in previous years has made some bad decisions.
“Things have to happen here,” Kennedy added.
After the meeting ended, Cantrell and council member Danny Stanley — now a quorum of the three-member council — were meeting at the end of the town hall parking lot. When asked what they were discussing, Stanley said it was about a family member.
“This is why I don’t let you quote me,” Cantrell said before walking away.
The Board of Supervisors meets Thursday at 6 p.m. at the county school board meeting room on Lake Street in Wise.