Residents

New Residents Guide | Guide to Municipal Services


NEW RESIDENTS GUIDE

automobiles | electric service | telephone service | water & sewer |garbage /cable television | voting
taxes | nuisances | education | building, zoning & permits 

Automobiles:
Under Virginia law, new residents must obtain a valid state vehicle registration card and Virginia License Plates for their motor vehicles(s) within thirty (30) days of moving to Virginia.  For more information you can contact the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles as follows: www.dmv.state.va.us
Local Office:  1729 Park Ave SW
Norton, VA  24273
M-F, 9am-5pm
Sat, 8am-12 noon
phone 1-866-368-5463.

Within thirty (30) days of any move you must notify the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles of your new address.  

Within thirty days of moving to Wise or purchasing a new vehicle, you must contact the Town of Wise to obtain a Town decal to display on the front windshield next to the state inspection sticker.  You will need to bring your vehicle registration card and pay a fee of $15.00 at the following office:
    Wise Municipal Building
    501 West Main Street
    Wise, VA  24293
    (276) 328-6013
    M-F, 8:30am-4:30pm
    
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Electric Service:
Electricity service is available from Old Dominion Power, a Kentucky Utilities Company.  Residential Service Call Center hours are M-F, 7am-7pm EST at 800-981-0600 www.eon-us.com/ku.

Telephone Service:
Telephone service is provided by Verizon Communications and their system in this area has digital telecommunications and fiber optic capability.  To establish phone service call at 954-6222 or log on to www.verizon.com.  Customers with disabilities may phone 1-800-974-6006.

Water and Sewer Service:
Water and sewer service is provided by the Town of Wise.  Any application for residential water or sewer service must be made in person at the Wise Municipal Building at 501 West Main Street.  A completed application, including photo identification, a signed users agreement and payment of a $5  (cash or check because we don't accept credit of debit cards) application fee is required before any service can be connected.  Renters of residential or commercial premises must also pay a refundable $100 (cash or check) deposit at the time of application for service.  
Pay your bill online at :  www.townofwise.org

 

Garbage Collection Service:
When you sign up for Water and/or Sewer service with the Town of Wise Utility Billing Department, you automatically become a Solid Waste Collection customer. Local ordinance requires Town collection, removal, and disposal of contained solid waste from all buildings in the town. In preparing your garbage for collection, it is important to remember that all waste needs to be bagged and placed in a lidded can. Do not place loose garbage in your can. In addition, all garbage must be contained inside a can with lid closed. Cans purchased for containment of waste may not exceed 35 gallons in size. 
Garbage cans must be at your collection point on your collection day, by 7:00 AM each week.  Collection day is assigned by the Town of Wise Utility Billing Department. Routes are created so the Solid Waste Collection Department can work in the most cost-effective way. Therefore your day cannot be changed. Generally, your garbage is picked at about the same time every week. Changes in weather conditions, crew assignment, and equipment problems can disrupt these schedules so customers are advised to have cans in place for collection by 7 AM. The Town will not come back if you did not get your cart out on time and you will not receive a credit for collection charges.
Garbage collection is a special service for our paying customers only. Taking or using another resident's collection point is illegal.  If you see illegal dumping anywhere in the Town of Wise, please report the license number, vehicle description, person involved in the dumping, and the item that was dumped by phoning 328-6013
 
The monthly rates for garbage collection and disposal services are as follows:
 
             SERVICE                                 CURRENT RATE        
 
          RESIDENTIAL
 
1 Pickup/Week                  $12.00/Month
2 Pickups/Week                 $24.00/Month
3 Pickups/Week                 $36.00/Month
4 Pickups/Week                 $48.00/Month
5 Pickups/Week                 $60.00/Month
6 Pickups/Week                 $72.00/Month
7 Pickups/Week                 $84.00/Month
8 Pickups/Week                  $96.00/Month
9 Pickups/Week                 $108.00/Month
10 Pickups/Week               $120.00/Month
 
Leaf Removal by Vaccuum
Up to 6 cu yds (1/2 box)          $30.00
1/2 to one box                         $60.00
 
Brush or Bulk Pick Up & Disposal
Up to 1/2 truck load                              $30.00
1/2 to one truck load                             $60.00

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Digital Cable Service:
Comcast provides digital cable television service as well as a number of other residential and business services.  Comcast may be reached as follows:

1-800-COMCAST (1-800-266-2278)  24/7
www.comcast.com

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Voting:
To register to vote you must :
Be a U.S. resident
Be a resident of Virginia
Be 18 years old by the next General Election

In addition, if the individual has been convicted of a felony or judged by a circuit court to be mentally incompetent your voting rights must have been restored.  

To vote in a general or primary election, you must register at least 29 days before the election in which you plan to vote.  

Virginia law requires every voter to present identification at the polls.  

For more information, contact:
The Wise County General Registrar
Wise County Courthouse
206 East Main Street
P.O. Box 309
Wise, VA  24293
(276) 328-8331
 
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Taxes:
Real Estate Tax
The Town’s real estate tax rate is set annually by Town Council.  
The current rate is .245 per $100 of assessed value.
Real estate taxes are due December 5th of each year.

Town residents must also pay county taxes
The County’s real estate tax rate is set annually by the Board of Supervisors.  
The current rate is .57 per $100 of assessed value.
County real estate taxes are billed twice a year and are due May 15th and October 15th of each year.

Personal Property and Mobile Homes Tax
Personal property is defined as cars, aircraft, boats, buses, mobile homes, trailers, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and trucks that are parked, garaged, or stored in the Town.
The Town’s personal property tax rate is set annually by Town Council.  
The current rate is .53 per $100 of assessed value.
Personal property taxes are due December 5th of each year.

Town residents must also pay county taxes
The County’s personal property tax rate is set annually by the Board of Supervisors.  
The current rate is 1.49 per $100 of assessed value.
County real estate taxes are due October 15th of each year.

    Tax Contacts are as follows:

    Town of Wise Treasurer’s Office        Wise County Treasurer’s Office
    501 West Main Street                             206 East Main Street
    P.O. Box 1100                                          P.O. Box 1308
    Wise, VA  24293                                      Wise, VA  24293
    (276) 328-6013                                       (276) 328-3666
    (276) 328-2519                                       (276) 328-4570

Pay your taxes online at:  www.townofwise.org
 

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Nuisances:
Through its various ordinances, the Town attempts to maintain a safe, clean, healthy, and attractive community for the enjoyment of its residents and businesses.  Below are some of the local codes to help us all be good stewards of our property:

The Town has adopted the International Property Maintenance
Code which requires that all premises be kept free of weeds and
grasses in excess of 10 inches in height.  

Our local litter ordinance requires that all properties be kept free
of trash and debris.

Motor vehicles or trailers on private property must be in good
operating condition and display both a valid license plate and a
local decal, and a state inspection sticker.

To report violations please contact:

    Wise Zoning Administrator
    Wise Municipal Building
    501 West Main Street
    P.O. Box 1100
    Wise, VA  24293
    (276) 328-6013 phone
    (276) 328-2519 fax

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Education

Kids Central, Inc. operates several Head Start Centers throughout Wise County.  Wise residents may contact the Wise Center on the campus of the University of Virginia at Wise at 276-328-9002

The Wise County Public School system includes 14 schools in six towns.  Residents of the Town of Wise are served by:

 The Wise County Christian School also operates a private non-denominational school for grades K-12.  The school also offers a preschool program for children ages 3 and 4.  Wise County Christian School, 5913 Aiport Road, Wise, VA  24293, 276-328-3297, Email wccs@naxs.net.
 
Interested students can obtain an Associates Degree or complete the first two years of a Bachelor’s Program at Mountain Empire Community College, 3441 Mountain Empire Road, State Route 387 U.S. 23 South, Big Stone Gap, VA  24219, 276-523-2400, www.mecc.edu.

The Town of Wise is proud to be home to the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, which has been recognized as one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the nation.  
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise, One College Ave, Wise, VA  24293,
276-328-0100 or 888-282-9324, www.uvawise.edu.

Adult Education programs are available to provide vocational, educational, and pre-employment training to adults who are economically disadvantaged, unemployed, under-employed, or displaced homemakers.  For more information contact the Wise Skills Center, 515 Hurricane Road, Wise, VA  24293,
276-328-8081.

Virginia Tech extends university educational resources to the citizens of Wise through its programs in agriculture and natural resources, pesticide education, plant and insect identification, 4-H youth development, family and consumer science, consumer education, family and human development, and food and nutrition.  Contact The Virginia Cooperative Extension Office, P.O. Box 1156, Wise, VA  24293, 276-328-6194 or 3699, www.ext.vt.edu
 


BUILDING & ZONING:

The Town of Wise requires that a Zoning Permit be obtained before making most improvements to your property.  Once obtained, the Zoning Permit should be taken to the Wise County Building Inspector’s Office in order to secure a building permit.  A landowner should contact the town Zoning Officer at 328-6013 before beginning construction activity to find out if a Zoning Permit will be required for planned activities. 

For most new construction, including but not limited to constructing a new driveway, installing a storage building, adding onto your building, or constructing a new building, you must complete a zoning permit application. Fences that do not exceed six feet in height may be constructed without a zoning permit  Said application must be accompanied by a copy of your deed and property survey or plat.  The fee for issuance of a standard Zoning Permit is $25.  

Some uses requiring the exercise of planning judgment as to location and site development will involve additional permits and a more extensive protocol of review by the Planning Commission, Town Council, and/or the Board of Zoning Appeals.  They are as follows:

Appeal of an Administrative Decision        $ 50
Application for a Special Exception           $ 50
Application for a Variance                          $ 50
Application for Site Plan Review               $100
Application for a Conditional Use             $150
Petition for Rezoning                                $150
 

BUILDING/ZONING PERMITS

Building permits for construction activity may be obtained from the Inspector’s office in the Wise County Courthouse.  Before a building permit can be issued you must present a copy of a Zoning Permit.  Zoning Permits for construction activity in the Town are obtained from the office of the Town Zoning Administrator located in the Wise Municipal Building.  Any one requesting a Zoning Permit must complete an application and provide a copy of the property deed and survey.  In addition, if a contractor will be performing the wok, the contractor must obtain a license to do business in Wise.  In many cases significant repairs and building additions require permits as does demolition.  Check with the Town Zoning Administrator and the County Building Inspector before starting any work.
 

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GUIDE TO MUNICIPAL SERVICES

ABANDONED/JUNK/INOPERABLE VEHICLES:

The Town of Wise has enacted ordinances to restrict the keeping of inoperable motor vehicles in the Town.  An “inoperable motor vehicle” is defined as any motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer which is not in operating condition or does not display valid license plates or does not display a valid inspection decal.  Inoperable motor vehicles may be kept only if they are within a fully enclosed building or structure or if they are screened from view by plantings or fences.

Individuals who are financially unable to remove said vehicles may apply for assistance from the Wise Police Department.  After approval of the application and upon execution of a voluntary consent form, the inoperable motor vehicle will be removed at the town’s expense.
 
The Wise Police Department receives complaints regarding the enforcement of local ordinances in reference to abandoned and junk vehicles.  To request  investigation of an abandoned or junk vehicle, please call the Wise Police Department at 328-9046. 

ACCIDENT REPORTS:

Copies of police reports for traffic accidents that have occurred within the Town of Wise may be picked up at the Wise Police Department any weekday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  There is a $3 charge for a copy of the report. 

ADOPT-A-STREET:

We take great pride in our community and encourage others to take a role in helping to keep our streets attractive and litter-free. Everyone is invited to  participate in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program.  Businesses, volunteer or civic groups, church congregations, families, and individuals are eligible to take part.  It is a wonderful opportunity to get out and meet new people as well as a chance to give something back to the community. 

Rules require that at least two miles of roadway be adopted and that there be a two-year commitment to pick-up trash at least four times per year.  For more information, please contact the local VDOT office at 328-9331. 

ALARM SYSTEMS:

Businesses or residents with alarm systems must notify the police department and provide emergency contact information.  There is no fee for maintaining this registry.

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ANIMAL CONTROL:

General (Dogs & Cats):

In an effort to ensure the safety and general welfare of the residents of the Town of Wise, the governing body has adopted animal control regulations.  It is unlawful for any dog to run at large off the property of its owner or custodian.  Dogs must be leashed or otherwise under the immediate control of their owner/custodian at any time that they are off the premises of the owner or custodian.  Property for which the owner has obtained permission for the dog to occupy shall be deemed the property of its owner or custodian for the purposes of local animal control regulation.

Animal control problems such as dogs running at large, dangerous or vicious animals, and unlicensed dogs or cats should be reported to the Wise County Animal Control Office at 328-2321.  This office also responds to complaints of animal cruelty.  The county animal warden has the authority to catch these animals and confine them at the county animal shelter.  The owner of an impounded animal will be charged for expenses incurred for the animal’s confinement.

Animals & Fowl:

No person living in the Town of Wise may keep any animal or fowl  other than a dog, cat, rabbit, or horse outside the walls of his personal residence except as follows:

The keeping of chickens for non-commercial purposes and in conjunction
 with the residential use of a lot is allowed so long as
1)    said lot consists of at least one acre, and
2)    no more than ten chickens are kept for each acre of land on the premise, and
3)    the chickens are properly confined to the property, and
4)    structures in which the chickens are kept shall not be located within fifty feet of any lot line, and
5)    storage of manure, excreta, other waste or odor or dust-producing substances associated therewith shall not be permitted within 50 feet of any lot line.

The keeping of cows for non-commercial purposes and in conjunction
 with the residential use of a lot is allowed so long as
1)    said lot consists of at least one acre, and
2)    no more than two cows are kept for each acre of land on the premise, and
3)    the cows are properly confined to the property, and
4)    structures in which the cows are kept shall not be located within one hundred feet of any lot line, and
5)    storage of manure, excreta, other waste or odor or dust-producing substances associated therewith shall not be permitted within 100 feet of any lot line.

For the purpose of this regulation, the term “animal” shall include but not be limited to foxes, minks, skunks, swine, goats, sheep, cattle, mules, bulls, or other similar livestock or fur-bearing animals.

For the purpose of this regulation, the term “fowl” shall include but not be limited to chickens, turkeys, roosters, pigeons, peacocks, doves, and quail.  

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Animal Nuisances:

No owner or custodian shall allow any animal to bark, howl, or squall in such a manner as to disturb the public rest.  No owner of custodian of any animal shall permit an animal to create a disturbance by running after people, vehicles, bicycles, etc.  No owner of custodian of any animal shall permit an animal to go upon the property of another person and damage, disturb, or destroy any garden, shrub, grass, garbage, or other property of the landowner. For the purposes of local animal control regulation, “animal” is defined as any nonhuman vertebrate species susceptible to rabies. 

Citizens affected by an animal nuisance are requested to contact the animal’s owner prior to contacting the Town in an effort to attempt to resolve the matter.   Failing that, animal nuisances should be reported to the Wise Police Department which can be reached by calling 328-9046.

BRUSH & BULK PICK-UP SERVICE:

The Town of Wise provides brush and bulk refuse pick-up service for its residents for a fee.  Citizens with refuse can schedule a pick-up by going to the Municipal Building filling out a form and paying the fee any weekday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. For more information call 276-328-6013.

Once you have requested a pick-up, you will need to place your brush and bulky items on the curb in front of your residence away from trees, fencing, mailboxes, shrubbery, power poles, or any other structure or obstacle which may be damaged by Town equipment.  Brush and limbs should be broken into pieces less than 8 feet in length.  Doors should be removed from all appliances.  If a bulk item will require more than two people to move, please report this at the time that you schedule a pick-up.  Leaves are not eligible for the bulk pick-up service.  Leaves are picked up free of charge during the fall by our vacuum service. 

LEAF COLLECTION:

The Town of Wise provides a leaf pick-up program in the Fall of each year for a fee. Collection typically begins the middle of October and extends through the end of November. When your leaves are ready for removal, please come into the Municipal Building anf fill out the proper form and pay the fee. If you need futher assistance call 276-328-6013. Citizens are reminded that once the leaf season is in full swing, it can take up to one week for the truck to finish the route one time. While crews are gathering leaves with the vacuum, tree limb and brush pickup will be temporarily suspended.

The Department of Public Works has offered several suggestions to make the colllection more efficient.

  • Rake loose leaves to the curb but not into the street (leaves in the street can obstruct drain inlets and cause street flooding)
  • Do not mix limbs or garden waste with loose leaves. The Leaf Vacuum cannot pick up limbs or garden waste and leaves mixed with these items will not be removed.

The leaf collection program will continue through November 30th. Thereafter, the leaf vacuum will be dismantled so that the truck can be used for snow removal operations. Residents may then bag leaves to have them picked up on their regular trash day.

Anyone with questions should contact the Wise Municipal Building at 276-328-6013.

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WISE CEMETERY

The Wise Cemetery is located on Church Street.   It is owned and operated by the Town of Wise.  Cemetery maintenance is handled by the Public Works Department (328-6119).  For information on purchasing a lot, or to access records and deeds, please call the Town Manager’s office at 328-6013.  

General:

Any person wishing to purchase a lot in the Wise Cemetery shall contact the Town Manager’s office to view a plat of the cemetery showing burial space layout and designating those plots which have been sold.  Any person purchasing a burial plot shall abide by all rules and regulations, and any amendments thereto, enacted by the Town Council for the management and control of the Wise Cemetery and every allotment of space shall be deemed to be made subject to these rules and regulations and amendments thereto.

Prospective buyers may request that the Town hold a lot in reserve for a maximum of thirty calendar days.  If the lot is not obligated by a cash purchase or execution of a sales agreement on the thirtieth day following the request, the lot shall become available for sale.   A lot may not be reserved more than once by the same individual or family. 

Eligibility For Purchase:

Burial lots in the Wise Cemetery are available for purchase by persons or by family members of persons who live in the immediate Wise area defined as the 24293 mailing zip code.  Eligibility of other addressees to purchase burial lots shall be subject to the discretion of the Town Manager who shall, at a minimum, ascertain that the purchaser or the deceased once had an established residence in the immediate Wise area.  Bulk purchases of lots by any individual or family may be limited by the Town Manager at any time. 

Prices:

Each grave space shall be sold at a cost of $500 per burial plot.

Payments:

Lots must be paid for in full within twelve months from the date the sales agreement is signed.  A 10% deposit shall be required as a down payment in order to execute a sales agreement for the purchase of burial lots.  Sales agreements will include a maximum of twelve equal monthly installments, with payment in full due by the twelfth month after execution of the sales agreement.  Interest shall accrue on installments at the rate of 10% per annum.  No burial shall take place on a plot which has not been paid in full unless prior to interment, the funeral home in charge of arrangements agrees in writing to render payment in full within sixty calendar days from the date of interment.  In the event that the Buyer does not make any two consecutive payments on the due date, the Buyer shall forfeit all payments made prior to default.

Deed:

Upon payment of the purchase price in full, the Town will cause to be issued a deed for said lot under its seal.  Owners are strongly encouraged to record the deed in the Clerk’s Office of the Wise County Circuit Court.  In this way, a permanent record will be acknowledged and kept. 

Ownership:

The term “ownership” of a cemetery lot shall be construed to mean the right to use a lot for burial purposes of the remains of bodies of a human being only.  Burial lots are exempt from taxation and cannot be attached, levied on, or encumbered in any way.  Only those persons whose name(s) appear on the Deed issued by the Town will be recognized as owners or part owners of cemetery lots.  Any improvements placed on the burial lot (i.e. stones, decorations, etc. are the property of the owner.  The Town assumes no responsibility or liability for any damage to any cemetery lot or to improvements placed on any burial lot.  Neither the Town of Wise nor any officer, official, or employee of the Town shall be liable to any person on account of damage, destruction, or detriment to any burial lot or grave, any monument or marker, any planting, or any other improvement.    

Transfer of Title:

Title to cemetery lots may be transferred by any living owner so long as the grave lot is not resold for a price which is greater than the original purchase price plus the annual United States Department of Commerce Cost if Living increase for each year that the owner has been in possession of a deed for said grave lot. 

Title to cemetery lots may be transferred by will upon receipt of a certified copy of such will showing the person to whom said lot was devised.  When any cemetery lot owner dies intestate, the Town shall transfer title of said cemetery lot to his heirs at law, upon receipt of a list of such heirs by the administrator or the executor of the decedent’s estate.

Interment:

No burial shall take place on a lot which has not been paid in full unless prior to interment, the funeral home in charge of arrangements agrees in writing to render payment in full within sixty calendar days from the date of interment.

Improvements - Stones, Landscaping, & Decorations:

No grave stone or marker in the Wise Cemetery shall be higher than 48 inches above the dye.  All graves shall be marked within six months of burial with a permanent marker.  Only persons, firms, or corporations qualified to work in Virginia may set a monument or marker.  Said persons, firms, or corporations must have workers compensation coverage.

Mounds shall not be raised on any grave above the general level of the lot.

No plantings of any type will be permitted within the confines of the cemetery property.  This prohibition includes any type of tree, shrub, or flower which due to its shape and/or size becomes bushy, thus creating maintenance problem.  The town retains the right to judge whether a planting meets this criteria.

No new plantings, fences, or enclosures of any kind will be permitted on or around cemetery lots. 

As soon as flowers, wreaths, emblems, etc. used at funerals or placed on graves at other times become unsightly or faded, they will be removed.  The town of Wise assumes no responsibility for their protection or maintenance.  

No mausoleum shall be permitted in the Wise cemetery except as the Town may construct to meet the needs of the community.

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DROP-OFF RECYCLING CENTERS:

Jackson Road SW in the Wise County Shopping Plaza
Club Avenue NW, Beside Adams Friendly Tire Service
Woodland Drive SW, at the entrance to Food City
Lake Street NE, in the Technical School Parking Area
L.F. Addington Middle School
 

LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPLORERS POST 312:

The Wise Police Department has developed a program which affords local youth the opportunity to explore their interest in law enforcement as a possible career choice.  Sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America and designed for boys and girls ages 14 to 20, participants receive training in typical law enforcement activities such as vehicle stops, crime scene processing, firearms safety, etc.  Even if participants choose not to pursue a career in law enforcement, the training helps develop leadership skills and an appreciation for the value of community service.

Once properly trained, these youth assist the department with parking, traffic, and crowd control at special events. They also participate in competitive events with other posts and in recreational outings for the post.  The group meets bi-weekly on Tuesday at 6 p.m.  For more information, contact the post commander at 328-9046.
 

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Post Office:

U.S. Postal Service, Wise
208 Main St Wise, VA 24293
Phone:  (276) 328-6053