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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Roads and Recovery 

Fiscal court hears about new program for incarcerated addicts

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

Carter County Fiscal Court started their regular Monday meeting with a hearing on Vincent Road – taking comments from impacted residents along the road before voting to remove the last 204 feet of the road from the county road system and returning it to the property owners. While one neighbor did request a turn-around for the end of the road, noting that her sister sometimes needed to turn around there, road department head Jason Carroll said it wasn’t required. If they did put in a turn-around, he said, he recommended it be at least 30’ x 30’ to allow snowplow trucks and salt trucks to turn around. The county said they might also be required to install a turnaround if a school bus would ever need to travel to the end of the road in the future, but Carroll said there were few roads in the county with sufficient turnarounds for large vehicles.  

He said he would have a no-outlet sign placed on the entrance to the road now that the end of the road had been removed from the county system, at the request of the landowners.  

In other action the court heard from Brittany Herrington, with the First Day Forward program, and Luke Stapleton from St. Claire Medical Center who – along with Pathways’ Sarah Veech – is helping administer the new program that helps inmates keep from relapsing once they’re released from jail by giving them a path for sustained recovery.  

Herrington, who works directly with inmates in Carter County, explained that many folks “dry out” while incarcerated and then begin making plans for what they want from life after they are released from jail. But, she said, navigating the various systems that can help them stay on a sober path can be difficult for those leaving jail. Applying for jobs, or even for government assistance like healthcare, requires certain documents – such as birth certificates and social security cards – that these individuals no longer have access to. So, she said, one of the first steps to take to help them achieve their goals is to help them obtain all those necessary documents before they are released.  

She explained that her program, which is covered by grant funding and pays the jail $10,000 for expenses related to staffing for the program, focuses on those charged with misdemeanors in part because they can help them turn their lives around before they get a felony, and partially because there are already several programs that are reserved for those with a felony conviction. 

The court also heard from Carter County Emergency Ambulance director Rick Loperfido. Loperfido reported on a meeting that he and Judge Executive Mike Malone had with representatives of St. Claire, the Rowan County ambulance service, Rowan County judge executive, and the judge executives and ambulance directors of other adjacent counties.  

The focus of the meeting was transports from St. Claire, which Rowan County ambulance won’t always accept and which surrounding counties can’t always accept until they have an ambulance on site for an emergency transport, because they have to be available to respond to any 911 calls. 

If a taxpayer funded county ambulance service is contacted for an emergency 911 call, and they don’t have any ambulances available because they’re being used for transport, he explained, the county could be liable for up to $10,000 in fines and penalties.  

Loperfido said he told the Rowan County judge that he felt St. Claire should “subsidize” a transport vehicle through the Rowan County service to help clear their beds if they don’t want to wait until other districts have an emergency transport to haul back people they’ve released.  

In other action the court accepted the Sheriff’s quarterly report, and accepted reports from other departments.  

Carroll also addressed questions about the cost of blacktop after a reader – concerned about the possible cost of library staff and how that money could be otherwise used – reached out to the Carter County Times with questions about how much blacktop could be purchased with those funds. As a baseline, we asked Carroll how much asphalt could be laid for $10,000; the maximum amount asked from each city.  

If the county matched the maximum amount requested of the two municipalities it wouldn’t exceed $20,000 in costs for the county. If the court only matched what Grayson had promised before reconsidering their commitment (see Grayson approves tax rate in this issue), it would have been much lower, at $7,500 from the county, for a total of $15,000 – half from the city and half the county – for the Grayson branch to hire another person.  

While Carroll couldn’t give an exact number for how much road $10,000 would pave, he did explain that a mile of resurfacing would cost around $68,000. Therefore, he said, $10,000 would cover just under 1/7 of a mile. He also emphasized that this was the costs for 1/7 of a mile of resurfacing, not for asphalting roads from scratch.  

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com 



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