County Also Applies For Grant To Fund New Local Weather Data Station
Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court voted against locking gates at flood-prone bridge locations in the county today in a 6-0 unanimous vote. Instead, the county approved the Edmonson County Road Department to utilize either larger barricades or more barricades that spanned the entire road, not just one lane.
During the discussion, county road supervisor Greg Carroll said he would recommend the county to stay with barricades because he felt residents would simply cut the lock off a gate if they wanted to go around it. The question was asked again about liability for the county between barricades or locked gates, to which County Attorney explained there was no difference.
Vincent said once the road is marked closed, it becomes unlawful for anyone to go around it, whether it's a gate or a barricade.
Magistrate Edd Rich made a motion to object to the locking gates and Magistrate James Vincent seconded. As the motion passed unanimously, Jailer Hank Vincent said while the gates may not be needed, something extra needed to happen in order to prevent tragedies in the future and to show that the county was being proactive in an effort to save lives.
A 20-month old toddler recently drowned when his mother, who was allegedly high on meth, disregarded a barricade and drove into Alexander Creek on Oak Hill Road when the bridge was flooded, on December 2, 2019, according to county officials. Jailer Vincent volunteered the costs of larger barricades out of his own salary if the county didn't want to fund them; however, supervisor Carroll said the county has enough barricades to cover both lanes of traffic on the problematic roads, which are: Willie Webb Road, Oak Hill Road, Blackgold Road, and Cedar Grove Church Road.
County Approves Grant Process For WeatherSTEM
Magistrates also approved a grant application process for a WeatherSTEM station for Edmonson County. The system is a weather monitoring and forecasting system, much like a mesonet, that would give real-time weather data for Edmonson County. The county currently has no form of monitoring weather data, mainly because of the cost.
Dajuana Crockett from BRADD, discussed the advantages of the system that could offer local text alerts and allow schools to access educational weather components. Units are said to cost more than $6000, but a grant would cover the cost, minus an $845 fee and a $500 annual cost for operation. Fiscal court also voted to accept the one-time fee and $500/yr maintenance costs.
We later reached out to Edmonson Voice and regional Meteorologist Landon Hampton from WxOrnotBG.com, who has experience with the system. He said it's a top-of-the-line addition to any community.
"Each station has a very in-depth, localized dashboard, which provide real-time updates," he said. "With the fast advancement of technology, this device provides for additional updates as they become available in the weather world. I applaud the fiscal court's decision to try to obtain this service, as it's a tremendous addition for Edmonson County."
County offices also gave their routine reports:
County road supervisor Greg Carroll reported that 3 of the 4 local flood-prone bridges are currently closed due to high water. He also said crews worked lots of hours after storms on Saturday night took down several limbs and trees on county roadways and he commended road workers. He also noted that crews had fixed a drainage problem on Parsley Road, and had recently installed tiles on Mattingly Road and Ray Ashley Rd.
EM Director Terry "Moose" Massey reported several medical assist runs and eight fire runs, most of which were from recent storms where tree limbs damaged power lines.
Sheriff Shane Doyle reported a very busy start to the new year. He said his office has documented 14 arrests, 19 felony cases, 20 misdemeanors, 9 warrants, and more in the past 12 days. He said his office has collected nearly $30K extra in tax revenue for the county so far from 2019's property taxes.
Jailer Hank Vincent reported 30 county inmates currently housed at Hart County Jail.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander was reportedly absent because of the flu.
County Attorney Greg Vincent reported on the status of the county's ongoing opioid litigation. He said that two companies involved have filed bankruptcy, which could affect the county's estimated settlement amount of $42K. He also reported on an expired "CrimeStoppers" donation program. He said several years ago, an agreement of affiliation was made with CrimeStoppers and fiscal court where $1 was added to all local court cost to help fund CrimeStoppers. He said the resolution has expired and that the fiscal court must approve a new resolution in order for that partnership to continue. The court agreed to allow Vincent to prepare a new resolution. He was then asked a question regarding past due room and rec taxes owed to the county by the previous owners of Park Mammoth, who have since filed for bankruptcy. Attorney Vincent said the county is basically waiting “in line” for past due amounts.
Tourism Report: Chamber and Tourism Director Rhonda Clemmons thanked volunteers for help with this year's Christmas decorations around town and noted that the county chose not to rejoin the SOKY Film Commission, due to the expiration of incentives allowed to film companies from the state. The Bevin administration discontinued the incentives which have kept filmmakers away from the bluegrass. Clemmons said in the event the state continues these incentives, the county would reconsider joining.
A discussion and approval of the 2020 Sheriff's budget then took place.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 27, 2020 at 6pm in the upstairs courtroom of the Edmonson County Courthouse.