County Discusses Possibilities Of Moving Head Start and Community Action Out Of Community Center
Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County fiscal court discussed the lease agreement between Community Action of Southern Kentucky, which also includes the local Head Start program, with the county and their use of the Community Center building.
The lease agreement is up for renewal and according to Judge Cannon, the terms of the renewal are the same, with the exception of a five year term instead of four, and is for the amount of only $215 per month. According to Cannon, that amount is only for the office space used by Community Action and has nothing to do with Head Start, nor their use of the Community Center gym.
Furthermore, Cannon said neither Head Start nor Community Action pay anything for utilities, which the county pays all for the building, excluding the County Clerk's Office which is funded by that office alone.
Cannon said that the Head Start program uses the south end lawn of the building for a playground area, but that is becoming a conflict with county employees and smoke breaks.
"Apparently, according to Head Start rules, their children can't be around people that are smoking, so when county employees go out for a smoke break, the kids have to do something else if they're on the playground," said Cannon.
He also said that it sometimes becomes difficult to hold meetings in the Judge's office due to the noise coming from the Head Start program outside the window. He added that occasionally, prisoners are near the area for a number of reasons and that children shouldn't be around that, either.
"It's not that we don't want to work with Head Start or Community Action, but our courthouse just isn't a very good place for that sort of thing."
According to County Attorney Greg Vincent, a rental analysis was performed on the property which compared the facility to similar ones in Bowling Green, Louisville, and other governments. The analysis showed that the facilities being used by CA and HS are valued at a $33,000 per year rental income, compared to only $2800/year that the county currently receives.
Vincent also added that according to the language in the lease, Community Action can use the entire building, not just their office, which he said shouldn't be the case.
The office space alone being rented by CA for $215/mo was valued at $539/mo.
Cannon said that no other county government in the district provides these services for Head Start and that with Edmonson County's current budget situation something needed to change.
"These programs do lots of good and we don't want to see them stop, but there has to be a happy medium for their continued use and benefit the county as well," he said.
Cannon suggested that Head Start move to a different location so that the county can use the entire Community Center.
"It's not that we want to make money off of Head Start, but we need office space for other county offices," he said. "We have no space left for anything. Every nook and cranny is full, every closet is full, we simply have no space left."
Magistrate Mark Woosley suggested extending the contract for one year instead of the 5 year lease the organization is requesting, but at bare minimum, requiring Head Start to pay their share of the utilities for that period, which is estimated to be around $3500 per year.
Laura Thomas, local Head Start Director said she was unaware of the discussion and was "unable to make a statement regarding the accuracy of any of the information at this time." She also said she would research the situation, consult the central office, and try to address the issue as soon as possible.
Requests for comments from Community Action were not immediately returned.
The court agreed to postpone the vote on the lease until the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 24, 2017 at 9am.
4/11/2017 02:38:29 pm
Please remember this is not Bowling Green or Louisville nor do we want it to be. In my opinion charging the same rent as those places do is not right. Also this is for under privileged children. This county has very little to offer as it is, please don't take this away too. Letting bigger cities and what they do, have an effect on a place as small as this just isn't fair to the county. Most of all low income children should be considered. At least try to help Head Start relocate. Again this is not Bowling Green or Louisville nor do I want it to be. Work out something fair to everyone but don't kick these children to the curb. Children from low income families need all the help they can get. Let's not get so greedy we forget about these young people who need a fair start in life.
4/11/2017 02:47:44 pm
The article didn't say the county was going to charge the same rent as those bigger cities, it was just a comparison. This county don't have the money to fund its own bills much less give a building for free to another outfit that gets there own money. it also said theyd probly give them a year to find something else. its comments like this that gets people all riled up for no reason. nobodys kicking nobody to the curb. the county dont fund head start or community action but my tax dollars are giving them a county building rent free and that aint fair.
4/11/2017 07:29:53 pm
After reading your comment, education seems to be lacking in this county. You complain that your tax dollars are funding a community center which IS being used for community events. What else can judge executive cannon suggest it be used for? Another gun store? This county has nothing for our youth to do on their free time, thus one of the reasons Edmonson county leads the district in drug usage...Our children should come before taxes or anything else...Find a way to work around this Edmonson county!!!
4/11/2017 08:56:26 pm
No, I wasn't complaining that my tax dollars are funding a community center. its funding a community center for a head start program that is getting it for free. some of my tax dollars already go for money for head start. why do they get the building for free? and how do you know edmonson co leads the district in drug use? and what does a gun store have to do anything? you could use a little education yourself.
4/12/2017 09:31:12 am
I'm sure the mentioning of taking out the trees just to put up a picnic table for the county employs wasn't mentioned in this discussion. The employees that smoke could find a different area and make sure they don't bother the routine of the kids. It's funny how this is a problem since we have newly elected officials that haven't been in office that long.
4/13/2017 07:37:18 am
Kudos to our Judge Exe. for being such a champion for saving our tax dollars! Since he is on the Board of the Community Action Agency he has first hand knowledge of the dire financial situation they are in. Advocating for the Head Start to move under the current budget crisis of the CASKY is like pushing a person over the side of a cliff when they are hanging on by their fingernails, and he knows this. This is just one more example of how much the leaders of the Republican party care about our poor and elderly. The CASKY have been paring back services for the poor and elderly for six straight years. In Edmonson Co. they have went from a full time daycare and three Head Start classes to only ONE Head Start class. From the comments made in this article, it is plain to see that our Judge cares more about smoke breaks for his employees, waiting just a few minutes for a meeting, using the community bldg. for anything other than our community, and the safety of the students, (although the courthouse and the daycare/head start have been in the same space for over 25 years without incidence), than educating our most vulnerable children.
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