Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Today, the fiscal court approved the jailer's budget for the next fiscal year which was in the amount of $404,750.00. The most notable change from last year's budget comes from a ten dollar increase per inmate, per day from the Hart County Jail.
The county currently pays $25 per inmate for around 20 inmates daily, which is around $500 per day. That cost will soon be rising to $35 for what the jail says are simple cost of living increases. The current contract with the county hasn't changed in over 10 years.
Some have lobbied for Edmonson County to build their own jail, but the cost of which would run into the millions in the construction phase alone, something Judge Cannon has said is simply not an option the county can come close to affording right now.
County Attorney Greg Vincent said that with a new Circuit Judge that will soon be appointed, it's likely that the number of felony cases currently in the court system will go down as a new judge will move to complete older cases quickly. Moving cases quicker could result in the guilty being moved to other facilities out of the county's responsibility and those found not guilty would be free. That would reduce the number of inmates for which Edmonson County is now paying.
In other fiscal court news:
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle reported that his department is picking up two of their new police cruisers today in Lexington and will be ready for patrol immediately. It is the first two vehicles of four total news cruisers for the office, two Dodge Ram trucks and two Dodge Chargers. The other ones are scheduled to be ready soon.
Jailer Report: Jailer Hank Vincent announced that the county currently has 21 county inmates lodged at Hart County Jail with three serving on home incarceration.
Parks and Rec: Program Administrator Greg Hudson said that little league basketball is now complete after another successful season and baseball/softball is now underway. The annual Spring Jamboree has been set for Saturday, April 22. He also announced that Chalybeate Park will host a community-wide yard sale Saturday, April 1 under the horseshoe shelter. Anyone wishing to sell your items in a booth may do so for $10 per booth. He also reminded the court of two other upcoming events: the Pitch, Hit, and Run Competition on March 25, 2017 at 9am for ages 7-14 and the April 8th Easter Egg hunt at 11am.
Hellervik: The company's field representative Jim Brown said they are still getting positive feedback from much of the community, contrary to what several might believe. He said they’ve had only one person complain to them directly but many are inquiring about buying and selling natural gas. He also said the company is now hearing from residents of Warren County as well.
Judge Cannon said that his office had received a few complaints from members of community near the gas company's facility and advised them to attend today's fiscal court to both discuss their concerns and hear from Mr. Brown. He noted that no one he'd spoken to attended today's meeting.
"I understand why next door neighbors would be concerned, I would be, too," he said. "But I still appreciate how Hellervik has handled their business here so far."
The court also agreed to a 2% increase for the Soil Conservation District's new budget as well as: