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Monday, February 6, 2023
HomeLocal NewsLocal GovernmentWillard seeks fire department support

Willard seeks fire department support

County receives lowest level of road funding in years

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

Richard Dallaire has a plan for a volunteer fire department in Willard. It’s important for the community, he says. When they’ve experienced flooding in the past, he said, none of the other fire departments could get in to them. Likewise, during the ice storms, members of the American Legion came together to support the community – digging folks out, helping with rescues, and doing many of the things volunteer firefighters do in surrounding communities. 

But Dallaire says he has plans and commitments that could allow him to put together a volunteer fire department, if he can earn the fiscal court’s blessing. 

Dallaire told the court he’s already gone to the fire commission, and learned what he needs to obtain to qualify for grants and official approval. Those requirements include a truck and a physical location to serve as a station, among other resources. Dallaire said he can obtain a truck, and he even has access to a building. First National Bank, he said, has promised him the donation of their empty bank building in the community. But they’ll only donate the building if the county gives it their seal of approval. 

Judge Executive Mike Malone, however, said that process felt backwards to him. He said the fire commission should be the first step, but he said he wasn’t opposed to the idea, if it was done correctly. 

Malone directed county attorney Brian Bayes to examine the legal process for creating a fire department, and to present those findings and his suggestions at the next meeting, before the court took any further action on the request. 

In other action the court moved to accept the treasurer’s report, and approve claims and transfers. In related action they also moved to closed their ARPA account, as directed by law. The court also approved a budget amendment on second reading, and approved standing orders for expenses as amended. 

In other fire department news the court approved a request from Grahn volunteer fire department to take out a loan, utilizing the county as a pass through. 

In road news the court discussed the request to take Leander Lane into the county road system. Road department head Jason Carroll said that he had taken a look at the road and while it “needs a little TLC,” it does meet the requirements for a county road. Malone, however, said he had concerns about the right-of-way and centerline and asked the court to wait to take action of bringing it into the county road system until further surveys could be conducted. The court moved to table the motion for now. 

In flex funding for paving projects, the county received just over $153,000 in funding for paving projects from the transportation cabinet. That amount, Malone said, was the smallest allotment the county had received since he had taken office. 

While the county had made up for some of that, by increasing the allocations for paving from the county budget, it will result in fewer paving projects.
In related news, Carroll told the court during his report that crews were staying busy with cold paving and pot hole projects.

The court also approved a lease agreement for trucks for the road department, financed through KACo, with the expectation that sale of older vehicles could pay off the cost of the new trucks replacing them. 

Malone said that the county had also decided how to allocate their surplus vehicles being loaned for use in counties dealing with flood cleanup and lost vehicles. One truck would be loaned to Perry County, Malone said, and one to Letcher. Perry has been hit especially hard with road projects, Malone said, with 55 bridges out, so they were excited to have access to the truck. Knott, he said, was in even worse shape when it came to bridges, with more than 70 out. 

In other flood relief news Dallaire told the court that the American Legion had funding available to any veterans in need, up to $1,000 per veteran, and more for Legion members. He asked for anyone who knew of veterans struggling in the aftermath of the flood to have them reach out to him through the Willard Post. 

Morris Shearer extended his thanks to everyone who had donated to the campaign through the school system. He said they took down a lot of food and water, and that they would be taking down more cleaning items and gift cards this week. He said it was humbling and rewarding to see the appreciation in the eyes of the people in those counties who “lost a lot, but are still thankful for what they’ve got.”

Anyone who wants to donate to the next trip by school district bus drivers should contact Shearer through the bus garage. The need now, he said, is for cleaning supplies or gift cards that can be used for cleaning supplies. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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