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Smoothing out the rough spots

County borrows money to meet road repair needs

Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone told the fiscal court last week 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, he 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.”

Even with those projected funds, though, the county is facing a budget shortfall at least through August, Malone told magistrates, when they expect more money to be released . If county road crews plan to get any road work done before cool weather slows their ability to pave, he said, they would have to do it with borrowed money. Fiscal court approved Malone’s request to extend a $500,000 line of credit with the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) to get over their budget shortfall. Malone noted the county is still waiting for reimbursement on over $200,000 from projects that were covered by FEMA. He also said 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.

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, which 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.



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