Fiscal court issues run the gamut at Monday meeting
By: Jeremy D. WellsCarter County Times
Carter County Fiscal Court handled a mixed bag of issues on Monday night, but, as always, roads were a central component.
George Tomlin addressed the court during the public comment period, asking for a road leading to a family cemetery plot to be renamed. The road is currently known as Seagraves Hollow on maps, Tomlin explained, but everyone knows the road as Tomlin Hollow. Tomlin, who owns a home on the road and whose daughter and son-in-law are building a home on the road, said he would like the official name of the road changed to reflect the popular name of the road. Judge Executive Mike Malone said if there was no conflict with the name, he saw no issues with changing it. He asked E911 coordinator Joe Lambert to work with magistrates to measure the distance of the road and to change the name of the road in E911 mapping software.
Lambert also updated the court on progress with 911 mapping. The county must be in compliance with a new generation of 911 software next year, Lambert explained, and the county’s E911 service have secured a $50,000 Map Grant Award that will help the county update their mapping to meet those new requirements. The funds will be used to conduct an audit on all mapping and addresses, he explained, “to make sure everything is where it is supposed to be.” As Lambert noted in the meeting, and has noted previously, while the current mapping and GPS coordinates are generally sufficient for getting first responders to the correct location, they aren’t accurate down to the exact foot. This new system will make sure the GPS coordinates associated with addresses are accurate to a higher degree.
Road department supervisor Jason Carroll updated the court on a new cold-mix asphalt system that the county is going to experiment with. While traditional asphalt mixes need to be held hot while they are used, this new system – which Carroll said takes five days to cure completely – can be held for several days if work is interrupted by foul weather such as rain because it doesn’t harden immediately. Otherwise, he explained, it is used exactly as traditional asphalt mixtures.
“You roll it just like asphalt,” he said.
Because of the oil used in the mix, sand or fine gravel does need to be placed over the mix, so that it can absorb the oil to keep it from fouling automobiles until the road is cured. The new cold-mix is less than half the price of traditional asphalt as well. Carroll said twelve gallons of the oil mixture can treat up to a ton of gravel.
In other action, the court moved to approve a request from new Carter County Librarian Christy Boggs to continue their share of funding for the Carter County Public Library. Boggs mentioned the different services the library provides for citizens of Carter County in addition to the traditional book lending services, which they have been keeping up with via curb delivery while closed to visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those services, which reopen today, include internet service and computer access for research, work and educational purposes. The county approved Boggs’ request to fund the library for $6,250 each fiscal quarter, for a yearly total of $25,000.
The court also heard department reports from Carter County Jailer R.W. Boggs and Sheriff Jeff May.
Boggs reported that the jail was down 70 billable inmates due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This was due to some state inmates being removed from the jail and no new state inmates being placed in the jail, which leaves them to regrow that population of billable state inmates through the transition of local arrests to state inmates when their cases are converted to state courts. Boggs said the original COVID patients were set to be tested again on Tuesday. He said all jail staff, including himself, have also been tested for the virus via nasal swab, an experience he described as “horrible.”
May provided the court with his monthly report for June. During the previous month his office served 31 processes, attempted 58 processes, and served 10 warrants. They also made 21 arrests, issued 14 citations, made 43 traffic stops, and responded to 31 accidents. Deputies assisted motorists 34 times during the month. They responded to 12 domestic situations, 10 drug and alcohol related issues, 13 theft complaints, and assisted other agencies nine times. Other complaints totaled 207. There were no prisoner transports for the month. The department completed 146 vehicle inspections. May himself was contacted 617 times, bringing the total number of contacts for the department in June to 1,256.
The court also adopted a resolution authorizing the judge executive’s office to file for reimbursement under the CARES Act. The maximum the county could be reimbursed under the COVID related act for improvements meant to safeguard the public and county employees is $900,000.
Another resolution was passed authorizing the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District to apply for a Civic Development Block Grant meant to replace water lines placed during project phase one of the Rattlesnake Ridge project. The district is currently on project twelve, and some lines installed during the first project, over 30 years ago, are beginning to fail, Malone explained, leading to the district “losing an unacceptably high percentage of water.”
The court also moved to make the pews currently used for seating in the fiscal court room surplus. Malone said he would like to remove the pews and replace them with individual seating, which could be spaced further apart to conform to social distancing guidelines. Magistrates also approved Malone’s request to remove the judges box and level the floor in the back of the courtroom, noting that it is no longer necessary as the court hasn’t been used as a legal courtroom since the 1970s. This will allow the court to move their tables further back, and add to the seating area for the public.
In further public safety related issues the court approved a request to fund half of an IPAWS project, splitting the $1000 yearly cost with the city of Grayson. The Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) allows the city to send an automated message to all telephones in Carter County in the event of a public emergency situation. All messages sent through the system must be approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The court didn’t immediately approve a request from county EMS to pay an additional $500 for a helipad project near the EMS office that will be partially covered by a $1000 grant, but did agree to take the request under consideration. The project would stripe and light the helipad for night time use. They also agreed to look at other locations in the Olive Hill area for a similar helipad project on that end of the county.
E911 coordinator Joe Lambert said that the county has 20 designated landing zones, but that none of the other landing locations have pads with lines or lighting.
In solid waste related news the court discussed possible solutions for reopening county dumpster drop-offs, including creating a “click-list” style online scheduling system. Magistrates reported that request for the return of dumpster drop-off for large trash items were among the most requested services from their constituents.
Finally, the court approved the appointment of former state legislator Jill York to the county ethics board.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org