By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The city of Grayson will be getting a new K9 trained in drug detection after city council approved the nearly $20,000 expenditure in a special session last Tuesday.
The full amount the city was invoiced for the dog and her training, before voting to move forward, was $26,805.21. But officer Justin Stone, who will be the dog’s handler, explained the department had been approved for a $7,500 AKC grant. Though those funds were “not in hand” yet, Stone told council, the grant would bring the total out-of-pocket cost for the K9’s training and purchase to $19,305.21.
This amount does not include future training or upkeep for the dog.
Following brief discussion councilman Michael Harper made a motion, seconded by councilman Bradley Cotten, to approve the expense with the $19,305.21 to be taken from opioid settlement funds and the remainder paid from the AKC grant.
Before Mayor Troy Combs called a vote on the motion, Harper checked with city attorney Jason Greer to make sure the K9 costs would be an approved use of the opioid settlement funds.
Greer said that, as he read the opioid settlement, it would be an approved use of funds.
There had been some question about the use of the funds for law enforcement expenses related to drug enforcement. The terms of the settlement state that funds received from the settlement must be used for recovery programs, or related expenses for the family of those impacted by opioid addiction. These approved uses include services provided to incarcerated individuals as well as various abstinence and medication assisted recovery and treatment services.
Law enforcement is addressed specifically in the settlement – which is funded by pharmaceutical companies who profited off opioid sales – and the KRS allows the funds to be used for “emergency response services provided by law enforcement or first responders.”
Greer told council he believes that funding for a K9 could fall under that “emergency response services” stipulated under section (a)2 of KRS 15.291(5).
Further discussion about what that phrase meant led Combs to quip that to be sure they were in compliance, “we’ll put Narcan around (her) neck.”
Reimbursement for the purchase of Narcan or other naloxone type drugs for treatment of overdose is widely acknowledged as an approved use of the funds under section (a)2.
The city has “around $68,000” available in opioid settlement funds in total, according to the mayor’s office.
The council members present voted unanimously to approve the $19,305.21 expenditure. Councilperson Sudy Walker was absent and thus did not cast a vote.
In other action council approved the mayor’s budget on second reading, and heard from Don Combs on a possible website update.
Combs explained that they are looking at rebranding the tourism website, and that they would like to also rebrand and update the city’s website for a clean and seamless experience across websites related to the community and community activities.
This would mean improving access to other websites from the city’s web page while maintaining and improving all existing functionality.
The update would also make the city’s website more functional from cellphones and other mobile devices. Ultimately, though, the goal is to make the city’s official website a central hub for promoting businesses and recreational activities in and around the community.
“We want a campaign to tell everyone what Grayson is about,” Combs said.
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