By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Carter County fiscal court had a lot of road talk on their agenda Monday night, including accepting state recommendations for rural and secondary road funding (see, State releases road fund numbers, on page A-4). Those numbers, presented by Brandon Howell, included just over $1.5 million in total funding, with just over $159 thousand in county flex funds and nearly $700 thousand for resurfacing on KY 396 and KY 986.
The court also moved to remove King Road from the county road system after completing an investigation and determining there was no objection from any of the property owners along the road.
Requests to remove Porter Cemetery Road #1 from the county road system didn’t progress as smoothly. While none of the property owners objected to removing the road from the county system, those with relatives buried in the cemetery at the end of the road did voice concerns. And while property owners cannot legally restrict access to cemeteries during daylight hours, even if the cemetery and access road are located on private property, that doesn’t mean they can’t gate the roads and lock those gates at night, or provide access upon request.
“But you just can’t keep people out of their families’ cemetery,” Judge executive Mike Malone said, noting his experiences with cemetery access rights as a funeral director.
However, the family who owns the land along the road – which has not been maintained by the county despite being in the county road system, according to road department head Jason Carroll – said they have no intention of placing locks on any gates they install. The family that owns the land agreed to sign an agreement to that effect, after the county attorney drafts it. While those with family in the graveyard who were present at the meeting said they would be satisfied with such an agreement, and would agree to close any gates they passed through, they said not all family members still live in the area and some could be coming from out of state to visit relatives. However, as Malone had previously noted, it’s already illegal to block people from visiting family cemeteries.
Roger Haney also addressed the court again about Joe Branch, which Haney claims is not a county road, should not have a county road number, and should not be named Joe Branch. However, the court told Haney they couldn’t legally make any of the changes he was requesting and that – following a previous court case – the county chose to keep the first four tenths of a mile in the county road system.
Malone told Haney that while he had no personal opinions on displaying the county road number – Haney wanted that sign removed so people didn’t travel to the end of the road – he said he was unable to change the road’s name. In addition to impacting the mailing addresses of other residents along the road, Malone said, the only folks who could change the name on a state map were from the state. It isn’t within the power of the fiscal court or judge executive to make those changes, he said.
“I can’t change a comma on there,” Malone told Haney. “And no other judge executive can either.”
In other action the court moved to approve a request from the Grahn Fire Department to finance a loan for $75,000 to purchase new protective gear, a truck, trailer, and four side-by-side ATVs. Lonnie Sturgill, with the fire department, explained that the department wasn’t looking for the county to cover any additional costs, only for approval to take out the loan utilizing the county as a pass-through. Those loan funds will supplement grant funds the fire department has already received for a portion of their safety gear.
The court moved unanimously to approve the request.
They also moved to accept the clerk’s quarterly report, and the sheriff’s 2021 property tax settlement (see, Where do my tax dollars go?, on page A8), accepted the treasurer’s report and approved claims and transfers as presented, and accepted reports from the road and emergency management departments.
Finally, the court moved to approve a proclamation declaring the week of May 15 -21, 2022 as Emergency Medical Services week before moving into executive session, where no action was taken.
The EMS proclamation reads, in part, “Whereas emergency medical services are a vial public service; and whereas the members of emergency medical services teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and whereas access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury… and whereas… emergency medical service teams, whether career or volunteer, engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills… therefore, I Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone in recognition of this event do hereby proclaim the week of May 15-21, 2022, as Emergency Medical Services Week.”
The court also approved a motion to give Judge Malone authority to enter into a reciprocal agreement with Montgomery County Jail to house county inmates in the event of the need. Malone noted there was nothing unique about this agreement, which is the same as the reciprocal agreements Carter County has with other neighboring and nearby counties.
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