Fall is just around the corner and after some very warm weather, and many sunny days, the rain returned bringing cooler temperatures. School is in full swing and the road department is starting to prepare for snow this winter.
A couple of dates to consider. There will be a Kiwanis Fair this year. It will be at Happy Top and will run from September 18-22. Also, this is a big one for those who want to be involved in the community. The regular session of the Fiscal Court will be moved from Thursday, September 12 at 6 p.m. in the courthouse to Thursday, September 19, at 6 p.m. in the courthouse. This is a one time move, because of a schedule conflict.
Tentatively on the agenda will be votes on taxing board decisions, adding roads to the county system, and discussion about adding the referendums to the local election ballot regarding the sale of alcohol within precincts 1 and 2 in Beattyville and Lee County.
Both petitions for the sale of alcohol received enough signatures to get on the Fall Ballot. The election will be on November 05, 2019, in less than 3 months. After reviewing the KRS, the Fiscal Court does not vote on whether or not the referendum should be added. It is added by an order from the County Judge Executive, which I have signed and submitted to the County Court Clerk.
So far, the tax boards that have met include: the Library Board, that reduced taxes, the Conservation District, that kept taxes the same; the health board, that increased taxes; and the school board will have a public meeting to discuss the 4% raise in their taxes at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 05.
The school will propose an increase from 47.7 cents to 49 cents. The September 05 meeting is to hear comments from the public. The tax cannot be recalled. The Lee County School Board and Government pages both have posted a letter written by the School Superintendent explaining the situation.
We are still waiting for the Extension Service, City of Beattyville, and County to vote on their tax rates.
Mayor Jackson and I joined tourism director, Dedra Brandenburg, at the Kentucky State Fair for a day last week. We took a presentation of all the buildings currently available in Lee County to discuss the possibility of having business owners from other areas to come here and expand or start new businesses. There were no hard commitments but we both had some interesting discussions with scores of people who stopped into the booth, which was co-sponsored and manned by people from Lee, Powell, Menefee, Estill, and Wolfe Counties.
While at the booth, we also had opportunities to speak with Secretary of Education and Work Force Development, Derrick Ramsey about bringing people with criminal histories back into the work force. We will look at programs he recommended to allow businesses to get compensation for taking the risk. He also pointed out, the statistics show, people who have recovered are some of the best workers in the work force.
We also had a chance to spin a couple of tales with Representative Rocky Adkins and talk about economic development with the Executive Director for Development of the Cabinet for Tourism, Heritage and Film, Jay Hall. He pointed out the Eastern Kentucky Region is ripe for Tourism Development and we discussed how to spur film production in the region. The take away from that discussion was, “We don’t just want tourism, we want the right tourists.” We can’t be everything to everybody, but we can identify the groups we want to come here…….and what we pick today, doesn’t mean we have to pick tomorrow. We can change plans.
Last week Hinkle came into town to price roads for us to use the roughly $350,000 we have for resurfacing in “Flex money” from the state. The roads looked at were in order of needing most to least, according to magistrates and road supervisor, Kevin McIntosh: District 4, Magistrate Dean Noe, Tincher Hill road, Todds Road; District 3, Magistrate Harvey Pelfrey, Shoemaker Ridge, Evelyn Road (3/10s not finished from Discretionary Funds); District 2, Magistrate Dennis Pelfrey, Wide Creek, Grays Bend, Abner Flat; District 1, Magistrate Ron Paul Begley, Maloney Ridge, Tip Top, Hell Creek, Davidson. As it looks right now, we should have enough money to do all the roads. If we run into problems, the roads have been prioritized.
Recently there was a funeral and the graveyard was at the end of a County Road. The funeral was on a weekend and the road crews were tasked throughout the week cleaning up roads people travel on every day. In order to fix this .169 mile long county road (a road that has not been touched in more than a decade), which is our job to do, it required us to pay six people overtime for five hours, bring in a grader, back hoe, two large dump trucks and purchase a load of gravel. For this “as needed” road repair, the county paid $2,618.75. I believe we have a responsibility to maintain county roads and everyone cheerfully gave up time off and came in, but something we all have to think about is where do we want county resources to go? This is the cost for one road that is less than 2/10 of a mile long.
Last week, there was also a phone conference with area judges, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and business investors to continue a discussion about building a high-end resort and conference center in the Slade area. It was reported at this conference that the Appalachian Regional Commission has committed $500,000 dollars to developing the idea and Kentucky will put in another $500,000 from Multi-County Coal Severance money. Pay attention to the news over the next few weeks to see how this develops.
On the ambulance front, American Medical Response (AMR) is still evaluating a proposal to partner with Lee County to run our ambulance service. As we work through that process or decide to run the service as a county agency, McIntosh Ambulance continues to partner with us to provide ambulance service and hasn’t asked to exit the contract. It is in both parties’ interest to continue to work together until we can reach an equitable solution.
We have purchased a truck for the coroner, one for the County Mechanic, and sent an ambulance out for major repairs. The cost for the trucks $24,500, for the ambulance repair, $4,000.
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