Fiscal Court photo

Social distancing was in effect at Tuesday’s Bell County Fiscal Court meeting as Judge Albey Brock and magistrates Junior Maiden, Terry Bailey and Glenn Webb stayed 6 feet apart along with Kayla Carnes from the Clerk’s office and Brian O’Brien, who streamed the meeting live on the WRIL Facebook page.

Judge-Executive Albey Brock said the old Bell County Courthouse could have a soft re-opening as early as Monday during Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting.

“We’re looking at potentially having a soft opening next Monday, the 18th.  We’re waiting on some plexiglass that a contractor is going to install in the Clerk’s office, the tax office and the PVA’s office,” he said. “If we get that installed between now and Monday, we may start out by doing some things by appointment only where folks show up at a particular time.

“What we don’t want to have happen is that we just open the doors up wide open and people come in and inundate the courthouse for various reasons. That would put the public at risk, it puts the staff here at risk and we’re just not going to do that.”

Brock said the courthouse employees are doing all they can to follow all the guidelines set out by Gov. Beshear to be able to re-open and will be expecting any visitors to the courthouse to do the same.

“The governor has the order on that you’ve got to have a mask on when you come here. We’re trying to adhere to the Executive Orders as best we can,” he said. “Some of the requirements are going to be a little hard on us to get completely done. We’re going to attempt a soft open on Monday but we’re not in any big hurry and I’m not feeling a tremendous amount of pressure from the other elected officials or the public in general.”

Brock said the county still hadn’t had anyone to test positive for COVID-19 and encouraged everyone to stay diligent.

“Folks stay safe out there. Keep six feet apart and wear your masks. We still don’t have a case as of today. That’s amazing. We’ve got a population of 27,000 people and we don’t have a single case, let’s try to keep it that way,” he said. “This would be like winning the state championship in football if we can be the only ones who don’t have  a case so let’s be competitive about it.”

The public was not allowed to attend the meeting with only magistrates Junior Maiden, Terry Bailey and Glenn Webb in attendance along with Brock and Kayla Carnes. Magistrates Bo Bush and Eddie Saylor participated via telephone. Brian O’Brien shared some questions that had been submitted through WRIL in lieu of audience participation.

Brock was asked if the Rose Road slide in Dorton Branch would be covered through FEMA money and how soon the road would be fixed. He was also if there would be any assistance for indivuduals with property damage from February’s flooding from FEMA.

“On Rose Road we’re hopeful. We have not gotten 100-percent approval but we have turned that project in. Now the process becomes that the state in conjunction with the feds will send out folks with our people to go and look at the projects we turned in to get final approval. I’m more hopeful than I was this time a month ago but I can’t tell you definitively that yes, FEMA has agreed to fix Rose Road,” Brock said.

He said he and some other judges have written to the governor to appeal FEMA’s decision to deny paying individual assistance.

“We sent it to the governor last Wednesday and we’ve not gotten a response yet. We’re awaiting the response, but I will say this: I am not very hopeful that the individual assistance will be approved,” Brock said. “When they didn’t’ approve it with the public assistance that was very telling. I think part of that could have something to do with the pandemic but we’re still doing everything we can do on our end. It is the federal government’s decision and again we’re hopeful that the governor will send them a message.”

There was also a question about any kind of trash rate discount for the elderly or churches.

“That is a decision that is made by the 109 Board and their directors. We have lobbied them to make some considerations and their response was where they had just switched over their billing with the water bills and they wanted to let the dust settle and let that process play out for a few months,” Brock said. “They want to see how that’s going to affect their revenue stream, if it’s going to be as positive as they thought it would be or if there were going to be problems. “

In other business, the court approved:

— the first reading of the proposed 2020-2021 Bell County Fiscal Court Budget.

— standing order of recurring expenses for FY 2020-21.

—  a resolution adopting and approving the execution of an amended County Road Aid Coop Program Contract between the Fiscal Court and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet, Department of Rural and Municipal Aid for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, as provided in the Kentucky Revised Statutes and accepting all roads and streets referred to therein as being part of the County Road System.

— tabled awarding the bids received concrete, stone, tires, culverts, diesel and asphalt until they have been reviewed and gave Brock permission to award them once they had been reviewed to determine which were the best.

— accepted checks in the amount of $84,828.25 from Sheriff Mitch Williams and in the amount of $7,278.71 from County Clerk Debbie Gambrel.

— changed the rate of pay for Ron Jordan; changed James Hubbard from part-time EMT to part-time Paramedic; and hired Amanda Smith and Crystal Saylor as part-time deputy jailers.

Support Local Journalism

We’ve been there for you, now we’re asking that you be there for us. While we will continue to share COVID-19 and urgent health news for free, we will be requiring a subscription for most of our news and sports content. Please click on SUBSCRIBE or call your local newspaper office.

Recommended for you