County expects around $150,000 from state for paving projects
Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone told the fiscal court on Monday evening that, at least when it comes to the money available from the state, he wishes every year was an election year. Malone told the court that while the county claimed a windfall $800,000 for paving projects from the state last year, this year they are back to a more standard funding rate. Malone said he expected to see $150,000 to $160,000 awarded to paving projects in the county this year. These numbers are more in line with what the county typically receives, Malone said, noting that the only time in recent memory the county has received more than $240,000 was last year, which was an election year.
“I wish it was that way every year,” he told the court. “We’d get a whole lot done.”
The court also discussed removing roads from, and taking roads into, the county system. Because the county must hold a public hearing before completing the process of removing or adding a road to the county system, no action has been taken on roads since COVID-19-related social isolation measures led to the closure of the courthouse. However, as public places begin planning to reopen, the county is again discussing road vacations and taking roads into the system, with the first public hearing scheduled for June 29, when the state will allow public meetings of 50 people or fewer to begin again.
At 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 29, the court will hold public hearings on the vacation of sections of Bailey Cemetery Road and Campbell Road, which were in discussion prior to the closure of public meetings by Governor Andy Beshear. County attorney Brian Bayes reminded magistrates that, before a road can be taken into or removed from the county system, the magistrates responsible for examining the road must present a written report of their observations. In addition to the observations of two disinterested magistrates – or magistrates who do not represent the district the road is in – the report must include comments from the head of the road department on what steps, if any, are necessary to bring the road into compliance with the county road ordinance and measurements from the head of the E911 department for purposes of public safety.
In other road news District 3 magistrate Jack Steele asked the court to consider a request to vacate a portion of Vincent Road, past the intersection with Jackson Road, that dead ends on private property. Steele also asked the county to consider a request from his constituents to take a section of Mandolin Drive that is currently private into the county road system. The court moved to begin the process of removing the section of Vincent Road from, and taking the section of Mandolin Drive into, the county road system.
Magistrate Morris Shearer brought up an issue with Cash Express leaving unrequested materials in the yards of his constituents. Shearer said he was contacted about the business leaving bags with note pads, cups, and ink pens in yards and at the end of driveways where they were sometimes run over, leading to litter up and down the roadway. Fiscal court approved a motion to have the county attorney draft a cease-and-desist letter asking the business to stop leaving these and other unrequested promotional items in private yards.
In other action the court accepted department reports and approved claims, transfers and financial statements from the treasurer’s office. The court also opened bids from American, Mountain Enterprises, and Paving Solutions on asphalt, both for delivery to the county garage and laid by the provider, and accepted bids from other providers for propane (Arrick’s) and bids for pipe, gravel, and equipment rental. No action was taken on approving bids at the time of the meeting, with Malone encouraging magistrates to examine all bids and to consider accepting all bids on gravel delivery and equipment rental. Malone explained that, while rates between providers may vary, there may be times the county needs a piece of equipment that is already rented out from the cheapest bidder. In addition, while some companies may charge more per mile for delivery of gravel or equipment, the location of the quarry or garage in relation to a project may sometimes make an otherwise more expensive provider the cheaper option based purely on miles traveled.
In his report, Carter County Jailer R.W. Boggs noted that they have begun service under a new medical contract. This has so far been beneficial, Boggs explained, because his deputies no longer have to administer medicine, but that he would have a clearer picture of the financial impact next month. Otherwise, Boggs said, the jail has been, “pretty quiet.”
EMS director Rick Loperfido told the court that his service had 472 runs in the previous month, explaining that runs in general had been down since social isolation resulted in more people staying closer to home. Loperfido also reported on improvements to the ambulance service’s budget and other cost cutting measures, and expressed his “appreciation to Daniel from the county garage” for help with efforts at maintaining vehicles, which Loperfido expects to cut vehicle costs in the long term as well.
The court also approved extending a $500,000 line of credit with the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) to get over their budget shortfall until August, when they expect more money to be released. Malone noted that the county is still waiting for reimbursement on over $200,000 from projects that were covered by FEMA and that unanticipated repair costs for the courthouse, including repairs from termite damage and plans to improve insulation to cut down on heating and cooling costs, had cut into the county’s budget. Without the line of credit, he explained, the county might lose its window of time to complete necessary road work.
Sheriff Jeff May also released numbers from his department’s 2019 property tax settlement, which came to $7,286,403.90 across various tax sources. May also released numbers for the county’s unmined coal property tax settlement, with the county’s share of that settlement amounting to $42, less $1.79 in commissions, resulting in a payment to the county of $40.21.
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