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Meeting remotely: County and city governments respond to COVID

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 As Carter County drops out of the “red zone” and back into the orange on Governor Andy Beshear’s daily incidence rate map, county and city government entities are doing their part to continue that downward trend. 

Olive Hill City Council canceled plans for a special meeting to discuss the use of the Olive Hill Depot building as a Welcome Center to promote the city and its businesses to visitors. Instead they will revisit the issue at a future date. 

Carter County Fiscal Court have held meetings in the past via Zoom. They’ve also held meetings where the magistrates socially distanced in the courtroom and the meeting, while physically closed to the public, was broadcast via Facebook Live. This included last week’s special session, which was plagued by technical issues like dropping sound. 

Fiscal Court met Monday night via Zoom, with the Zoom meeting broadcast on their Facebook page. 

Fiscal Court isn’t alone. The Carter County Kiwanis and the Grayson Tourism Commission announced that their upcoming meetings would be held via Zoom as well. This move, which facilitates participation while maintaining social distancing recommendations or quarantine, doesn’t work for everyone, though. 

While the Carter County Board of Education has met remotely, and allowed those with concerns to join remotely, they’ve held hybrid meetings, with a mixture of masked in-person and virtual participation. 

Carter County Ambulance Board has also continued to meet in person. They have met in both the fiscal courtroom and in the health department meeting room, as well as in the open ambulance bay at their Grayson ambulance location. But because of tight spacing when meeting in the courthouse – board member Judy Roark sat in the front row instead of around the table at their most recent meeting, to help maintain social distance – the group voted on Monday to hold future meetings in the ambulance bay. This move will give them more room to spread out while still allowing them to meet in person. 

Olive Hill and Grayson City Councils have both broadcast their meetings to Facebook since COVID-19 restrictions were first put in place earlier this year. 

While Olive Hill had recently moved back towards a hybrid option of open, in-person meetings that were also broadcast to Facebook, City Clerk Chimila Hargett said the city’s next scheduled meeting will be closed to the public and broadcast to Facebook to comply with transparency laws. 

Grayson’s meeting, on Tuesday night, was broadcast to Facebook from a closed meeting room at the city building. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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