By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Carter County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Monday, where they heard a pitch for fleet management for the sheriff’s department, a request from a landlocked property owner seeking a right-of-way, and various department reports.
But the most significant news for most folks is the amount dedicated to road work. Carter County Treasurer Beth Justice said the total amount of ARPA money to be added to the General Fund comes to $2,602,501.50.
Judge Executive Mike Malone released numbers on Monday night that show the county has budgeted for $2,375,694 in total ARPA distributions. Some of that money is going to bills the county has already incurred. Some is going for slip repairs, some for equipment, some for courthouse renovations, and some of it is going for road repairs.
A total of $790,000 from the ARPA funds have been allocated for paving projects, with $600,000 earmarked for cold paving projects, and $190,000 – or $38,000 for each magisterial district – to be used for hot paving.
The $190,000 was initially marked for demolition of the old jail building, but the court changed the allocation before approving the disbursements.
“We have roads that you can’t drive on,” magistrate Donnie Oppenheimer noted, “and the jail isn’t going anywhere.”
Those funds are on top of $400,000 in flex paving funds from the transportation cabinet the county was scheduled to have reimbursed for paving last month, another $300,000 expected from the cabinet in discretionary funds for September, $80,000 from the cabinet for emergency bridge repairs, and $540,000 from FEMA in bridge flood mitigation improvements, for a total expected reimbursement of $1,320,000.
The other ARPA funds include $487,000 for June bills, which was not reflected in Malone’s totals (making the total ARPA spending, by our count, $2,862,694 or $260,192.50 more than the amount Justice said was allocated to general funds), $703,000 for July bills paid from ARPA, including one tractor, $225,000 for the Jack Road slip estimate, $97,694 for a tractor, $10,000 for an eq trailer, $50,000 for courthouse bathroom repairs – though they expect that to come in under budget – the $600,000 previously mentioned for cold paving, $150,000 for EMS, $350,000 for E911, and the $190,000 that was moved from demolition of the old jail to hot paving projects.
In other action the court heard from Bill Jones on fleet vehicle options for the sheriff’s department that could save the county over their current contract with Enterprise, and heard public comments from Jalene Farris regarding access to her landlocked property. She said the map at one time showed the road on Hobert McGlone Ridge continued on through to Beaver Creek, and while some modern maps don’t show it, and it apparently was never taken into the county road system, the PVA maps does show the road continuing to her property. Since her family purchased this land – some of which has been in her family for nearly 100 years – she said the road has been abandoned completely, with one neighbor deciding he didn’t want to provide a right-of-way across his property and building a pond over the road and otherwise blocking access. She said the access from the other end still has the remnants of the old road, but it needs graveled. She asked the county to make it a “public access road,” but county attorney Brian Bayes advised her this wasn’t an issue for the fiscal court, but rather a civil issue that would need to be addressed in a legal court.
“Why did the county stop (providing) access in the past?” Farris then asked the court.
Malone said he couldn’t answer that, but explained when roads are removed from the county road system, the county rarely proceeds if any of the landowners have valid complaints about the removal. But, he said, “it was not taken out under this court, though,” so he couldn’t provide her any insight into the process for this road.
The court also moved to accept financial statements from the treasurer, approve claims, approve transfers, and accept the treasurer’s settlement, and to approve a budget amendment for the CDBG grant funds to reflect the allocation of unused funds from the previous year.
The court also accepted department reports, including continued discussion of the jail’s medical contracts, approved a motion to surplus two mower tractors and a roller from the road department, and approved a request from Brian Bayes to act as a pass-through for grant funding, if necessary, for a new autism center associated with Pathways.
Bayes said the current autism center in Boyd County has a waiting list that leaves more than 200 families from across the region waiting for treatments and services that could significantly improve the lives of their children. He said they are looking at various possible sites in Carter County, including along Interstate Drive, adjacent to the current Pathways building.
Bayes, who sits on the board of Pathways, told the court “if we can get this done, we’ll have done good.”
The court voted unanimously to approve Bayes’ request to act as a CDBG pass through if Pathways and FIVCO choose a Carter County site for the new center.
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