The Madison County Fiscal Court heard the first reading of an ordinance to form the Bluegrass Regional Radio Network (BRRN), part of an inter-local agreement that would eventually enable the county to cut costs for emergency communications.
Madison County Information Technology Director Chris Iseral introduced the ordinance to the court Tuesday during a teleconference meeting. Iseral noted that since CSEPP dollars for emergency communications will diminish once the demilitarization project is finished, the county is seeking an opportunity to find alternatives that are more efficient and cost effective.
The ordinance calls for an agreement between Madison County, Scott County, the City of Georgetown and the University of Kentucky, and would form an emergency radio
network that spans from northern Scott County to northern Rockcastle County, Iseral said. He added the network would be available as a backup should the current 911 centers go offline, it would be used so that several local entities could respond to a regional emergency, and it would also reduce long-term costs of emergency communication for the county, Iseral said.
Iseral added that by forming the partnership, Madison County would become one of the principal partners in BRRN, and if other local governments and agencies join, Madison County would earn a share of the dividends. Other entities in the region have expressed interest in joining the BRRN, Iseral said. Forty percent of those profits would go into savings, and 60 percent would be distributed to the four initial stakeholders: Madison County, Scott County /Georgetown, and the University of Kentucky. Madison County would receive 27.5 percent of that 60 percent share, University of Kentucky would receive 27.5 percent, and Scott County/Georgetown would receive 5 percent. Iseral said there will be no dividends for the first three years of operation. Work on linking the existing communication systems would begin this year, said officials.
The first reading was unanimously approved and will come up for a final vote on June 23.
Also approved unanimously was a resolution to give county employees an additional health care option.
The contract with BluMine Health Care Center will allow the county to save money and lower costs to employees, said officials. Human Resources Director Rachel Thomas and Treasurer Glenna Smith noted that with just 30 percent employee participation, the county has the potential to save nearly $70,000 while providing clinical and wellness services to employees.
Magistrate Tom Botkin praised Smith and Thomas for finding the option.
“This is a really good opportunity to put our people first, but also to cut costs,” Botkin said.
In other news, the Madison County Fiscal Court:
• Unanimously approved the second reading of the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the county’s administrative code relating to employees.
For example, all county vehicles will be tracked with GPS, and there are regulations regarding the employees’ need to inform Human Resources if they receive certain kinds of traffic violations. Regulations specifically stipulate employees are prohibited from driving with a suspended license. Magistrate John Tudor said he approved of the changes, recalling a former employee who was once caught driving a county vehicle with a suspended license.
• Approved first reading of an ordinance for Drug and Alcohol Free Work Policy.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance regarding the county’s code of ethics.
• The court approved road bids, including: Fuel bid won by Riley Oil Company with a drop in price; Asphalt bid won the Allen Company, no change in price; Rock bid won by the Allen Company, bulk oil bid went to Apollo Oil, and the Detroit Salt Company won the bid for road salt.
• Chris Hager was appointed to the Tax Assessment Board.
• Jeff Masters was appointed to the Madison County Ethics Board.
• Jimmy Marcum was appointed to the county road commission.
• Ron Devere was appointed to the Southern Madison Water Board.
• Roger Barger was appointed to the Valley View Ferry Board.
• R. Michael Day was appointed to the EKU Center for the Arts Community Operations Board.
• Lynn Brewer was hired in the road department as was Donald Joe VanWinkle.
• Sung Min Kim was hired as a Battlefield Golf Course Seasonal employee.
The Madison County Fiscal Court will meet again on June 23 at 9:30 via teleconference.