|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last week the Lewis County Fiscal Court heard a report from Jailer Tim Underwood
on the state inspection of the local Detention Center conducted on Wednesday, May 26.
Underwood told the court that he received the results of the inspection on Friday,
August 13, and six items were marked that need to be addressed.
He said that two situations are causing overcrowding. One of those was insufficient
seating, and the other involves the lavatories and the water fountains.
On the latter the jail has so many for a certain number of inmates, and the fountains
are causing overcrowding so the jail just can't have them.
Underwood continued by saying that the jail has the capacity for 18 beds, and the day
of the inspection 28 or 29 inmates were in the jail. The commissioner said that there is
no solution for that.
Underwood said that he put in the report that he and the judge executive are exploring
avenues for additional housing. However, he added that when he called jails in the
surrounding counties he learned that all of them are at maximum capacity.
In conversations with the State Commissioner the official recommended putting some
hard, plastic pallets on the floor to hold the mattresses about six inches off the floor.
Currently when overcrowding occurs the inmates are sleeping on two mats placed on the
floor that together are about 12 inches thick. They keep the inmate off the floor and make
them a little more comfortable.
Underwood said that the center is not too seriously overcrowded but if it gets too
serious then the state will come in and force us to move inmates.
The commissioner also said that not enough lighting was in a couple of the cells, and
he recommended painting the walls a lighter color and installing new light bulbs. That
project will be undertaken soon.
The jail will also place the inmates' list of rights in more secure places where they
can be seen without being destroyed.
The old dishwasher has also been replaced since the date of the inspection and a new
one is now in use.
Underwood said that overall he thought the jail got a good report. He relayed the
opinion of the commissioner and director that they were pleased with the way the jail was
run and with the cooperation between the fiscal court and the jail.
Underwood also presented his monthly jail and commissary financial report. Those
reports were approved, and the court noted in the minutes that the jailer had reported the
The court then moved to approve new tax rates for the county.
For the county real estate and property of public service companies for general
purposes the tax rate drops from 12.6 to 12.5 per $100 of assessed value.
For tangible, personal and public service companies the tax rate remains unchanged at
For the Board of Education the real estate and public service companies the tax rate
again drops, this time from 41.2 down to 40.9. The tangible rate, however, rises from 41.2
up to 41.8. The motor vehicle and watercraft rate stays unchanged at 49.0.
For the public library the real estate and
PSC rate goes up to 2.80 from 2.60; the tangible rate goes up to 4.08 from 3.55; and the
motor vehicle and watercraft tax rate remains unchanged at 1.76.
For the Lewis County Health District the taxes remain unchanged. The real estate rate
is 3.40; the tangible rate is 3.80 and the motor vehicle and watercraft rate is also 3.80.
The tax rate for all the fire districts remains at .10 per $100 of assessed property
value. The timberland and forestry rate also stays the same at .03 per acre.
The tax rate for the Lewis County Extension District is unchanged at 4.2 for real
estate, 6.16 for tangible and personal property and 3.12 for motor vehicles and
Robert Trott, General Manager and Carla Deaton, Administrative Assistant with Adelphia
Cable, appeared before the court to give an update of services in the area.
Deaton told the court that Adelphia has installed a new antenna in Cynthiana. It is
being tested and she said that if everything goes well the Cincinnati stations should be
back up and going in the Tollesboro area.
Deaton explained that the Cincinnati pictures at first will not be as good as the
Huntington pictures but they will be better than before. Adjustments should be completed
within the month.
The cable company franchise for the western end of Lewis County is scheduled for
renewal. A proposal is in the hands of the judge executive and will be considered in the
County Treasurer Kathy Dillow asked why the franchise taxes had dropped so drastically
from a year ago from about $13,000 to about $6,000. Deaton said that she wasn't sure but
she would look into that matter.
Deaton said that the company is losing a lot of customers to the Dish Network but not
enough to make that big a difference.
In rapid fire succession the court approved several appointments and one reappointment
to local boards.
Luke Bentley Jr. was appointed to the Garrison Water District Board to replace Jim
Riffe and to complete that unexpired term.
Freda Plank was appointed to the Kinniconick VFD Tax Board replacing Jess Chinn. Steve
Howard was appointed to the same board replacing Maurice Esham, and Judy Kegley was
appointed to replace Gary Kegley.
Danny Chinns reappointment to the Black Oak VFD Tax Board was approved.
Three appointments were made to the newly created North Central Lewis County VFD Tax
Board. The initial appointments are for staggered terms. Appointments hereafter will be
for three-year terms. Edward Willim, III was appointed to an initial one-year term, Brenda
Cunningham to a two-year term and Rodney Ginn to an initial three-year term.
The court approved the annual donation of $250 to the Lewis County DARE Program.