By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Lewis County Fiscal Court moved to accept the first reading of an ordinance establishing a 10-year franchise agreement with Adelphia Cable for the western portion of the county from Clarksburg toward Maysville.
Third district magistrate Keith Chapman asked Carla Deaton, Government Affairs Manager out of Adelphia’s office in Richmond, if the cable company would reinstate a second NBC channel in eastern Lewis County. It has been reinstated in the lineup in the western part of the county.
Deaton responded that she cannot speak for what Time/Warner might do. The communications giant is in the process of buying out Adelphia.
The franchise agreement for eastern Lewis County was put on hold until County Attorney Clayton “Buddy” Lykins Jr. can receive and go over an updated and current copy of the agreement.
Joe Harp of Harp Enterprises, Lexington, appeared before the court to display the new eslate Electronic Voting System the county must install and to discuss the changes in new election regulations for the state.
The voting devices can be attached to the voting machines the county currently uses. The new devices are multifaceted but simple to use. They are flexible enough for use by the handicapped or visually impaired.
The necessary upgrades cost about $300 per machine but will be federally funded through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) enacted by the federal government in 2002 after the Bush/Gore Florida voting debacle. The law requires that the county have the equipment purchased and installed by next year’s primary elections.
The court moved to advertise for bids on the equipment.
The court opened the bids for chip/seal for the fiscal year. Two bids were received, and the court accepted the low bid of $44,250 from Gaddie-Shamrock, Columbia. The contract calls for the company to provide the equipment, haul and labor. The county will provide the materials and the oil. According to the bid any material hauled over ten miles will cost an additional 20 cents per ton per mile.
The court received only one bid for drilling, furnishing and installing piling on Crooked Creek. The bid of $23,800 from E&E Construction, Vanceburg was accepted.
The court approved the reappointment of Steve Harris, Vanceburg, to the Lewis County Industrial Authority. His term will expire in August 2009.
The court approved a resolution and agreement between the county government and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Department of Intergovernmental Programs to perform bituminous resurfacing on various county roads. The state has provided funds totaling $494,815 for that purpose. The roads listed are Quicks Run, Big Cabin Creek, Smooth Rock Road, Fly Branch and various streets in Garrison.
The court moved to approve an annual installment of financial support of $15,000 for the Lewis County Conservation District.
Although no sexually oriented businesses now operate in Lewis County the fiscal court followed the precedent of several other counties and approved the first reading of an ordinance that gives the local government authority to regulate any such businesses and their employees.
Lykins told the court that the ordinance would be a good thing to have just in case someone comes in to start a sexually oriented business. The ordinance is for the purpose of the safety and welfare of the county and includes restrictions and requirements for the businesses to comply with in order to operate.
The court approved the 2006 motor vehicle and watercraft property tax at 14.1 cents per $100 of assessed value. That rate is unchanged from last year.
The court gave approval for the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg, the Western Lewis-Rectorville Water and Gas District and the Garrison Water Board to be named as sub-grantee for state funds allocated for various water and sewer projects.
Lewis County Sheriff Bill Lewis explained to the court that his department has four full time certified deputies, one part time certified deputy, six non-certified deputies working in the Justice Building and one special deputy who does not get any compensation. The salary of one full time deputy has been paid several years by a federal grant, but that grant is expiring this month. He requested that the court pay the remainder of that deputy’s salary for the remainder of the fiscal year at a cost of about $14,300. After that the court can put his salary in the budget.
Second district magistrate Todd Ruckel stated that the county cannot tolerate the reduction in law enforcement the loss of one deputy would cause and moved to grant the Sheriff’s request. The motion carried unanimously.
Chapman asked the court if an ordinance could be drawn up requiring CSX Railroad to repair the railroad crossings in the county. Several are in bad shape and CSX has not repaired them after the county’s many requests in that regard.
Lykins said that he has two concerns about that. One is whether the county has jurisdiction in the matter since the railroad is under federal regulations. And two, CSX may have the option of closing the crossings rather than repairing them.
The court moved to authorize Lykins to investigate the situation to determine if the county can legally require CSX to repair the crossings.
On another matter, Lykins explained to the court that the local law library was currently under the control of the fiscal court although it has been inactive regarding the library. At the request of the local bar he asked the court to turn the operation of the library over to three trustees. By law the county attorney has to be on that board in addition to a trustee appointed by the court and another elected by the local bar association.
Lykins told the court that the library would be funded from court costs and filing fees in both the district and circuit courts.
The court adopted a resolution authorizing those changes.
The court also approved four appointments to the Lewis County Planning Commission. Terry LeMaster was appointed to the commission for a term that expires July 31, 2006; Phil Hull to a term to expire July 31, 2007; Chad Clark to a term expiring on July 31, 2008; and Frank Ash to a term that will expire on July 31, 2009.
In his routine monthly jailer’s report Lewis County Jailer Tim Underwood told the court that the Department of Corrections is providing extra compensation to jails that institute extra programs to help out the inmates. He said that the local detention center already has several of those programs implemented including the GED, AA, NA, religious services, a vocational skills program, a victim impact class, anger management classes and basic interview skills.
He also announced that he was selected to serve on the Kentucky Rules and Regulations Committee for jails, and that several of the committee’s recommendations were approved and will soon go into effect.
Underwood, also an ordained Baptist minister and local pastor, was appointed Chaplain of the Kentucky Jailers’ Association on July 14.
He announced that the state jail inspection has just been completed and the inspection was good and clear.
At Underwood’s request the court approved the current Policies and Procedural Manual. It has no changes from last year’s manual.
The monthly treasurer’s report shows that the county received a total of $446,339.13 from all funds. Disbursements totaled $206,106.10 leaving a cash balance of $240,233.03.
First district magistrate Milt Stanfield related a complaint from some of his constituents regarding a problem with the Amish families near Tollesboro driving their horses on public roads. The horses do what horses do and leave manure on the streets and highways, and that manure is messing up some otherwise clean vehicles. The residents are complaining about that.
County Judge Executive Steve Applegate chimed in that he, too, has received those complaints.
Stanfield asked if the county could pass an ordinance requiring the Amish or anyone else using horse drawn vehicles to install baskets on their wagons to take care of that problem. The court moved to authorize the County Attorney to investigate that matter.
He court entered a closed session to discuss the sale of real estate and potential litigation.
Upon returning to open session the court moved to approve the county judge and the county attorney to jointly with Northern contours hire an environmental engineer for negotiating with Northern Contours on payment relating to environmental cleanup and costs.
Applegate commended the Solid Waste Department and the Jail for the good work of the Detention Center inmates in helping with the Tollesboro Lions Club Fair.
Before adjourning Applegate announced that the next regular session of the fiscal court will be held on Monday, Sept. 12, at 9:30 a.m. in the third floor courtroom of the Lewis County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.