Darren Doyle, story:
Magistrates voted today to approve Edmonson County's $1875 portion of a feasibility study for a regional jail. In today's fiscal court meeting, Judge Executive Wil Cannon asked magistrates to approve the bill that will fulfill the county's portion of the cost that is being administered by Ohio County.
The study, funded by Ohio, Butler, and Edmonson Counties, will determine whether it's feasible to construct a new regional jail in a central location. Judge Cannon attended a meeting on May 13th where he expressed the county's interest in such a facility.
Cannon told the court that currently, if a regional jail were to be feasible between the three counties, it would likely be constructed in Butler County, near the I-165 exchange on the west side of Morgantown; however, he said this is the very early stage of what are simply discussions at this point.
Edmonson's Fiscal Court has repeatedly said that building a jail in Edmonson County would not be feasible because of the enormous construction costs, which were approximately $20 million several years ago, aside from the fact of what it would cost to maintain it. County officials have also said there would not be enough income from local inmates alone to fund it. While housing state and federal inmates could generate more income, Edmonson's proximity to the interstate makes it an unlikely candidate for housing inmates outside of the county.
The feasibility study will cost a total of $7500, according to County Treasurer Tammi Willhite, with Ohio County paying $3750 (half), and Edmonson and Butler Counties paying $1875 each for the study.
Edmonson County currently has a jail budget of $477,700 for the upcoming fiscal year. Current county inmates are housed at Hart County Jail, which Edmonson County $45 per day, per inmate. That normally runs the county nearly $25,000 per month, depending on the amount of inmates at the time. Currently, the county has 17 inmates housed at the Hart County Jail, which is a bill of $765 per day.
The study is meant to determine whether or not the population, tax base, and other factors could allow for a regional jail between the three counties.
Successful Tire Waste Event
Judge Cannon also reported on the recent county tire waste event that was held at the county's property on Veteran's Memorial last Thursday through Saturday.
"It was a very successful event," Cannon said. This took place on the new property and it worked out very well. The neighbor was very upset and made that very clear to us every day, but we did the best we could do."
He said three semi-truck loads of tires had already been hauled out of the spot, but at the time of this writing, seven loads had been removed. According to county waste coordinator Mike Clubb, approximately 16,000 tires had been brought in during the free county event.
Rescue Squad Update:
Emergency Management Director Terry Massey updated the court on the status of county and/or emergency management property allegedly in possession of the local rescue squad, and that the squad had been cooperating. He said that all their board members had resigned and three new members had been added. Massey said that the squad would still not have affiliation with county government until they met the training and bookkeeping requirements set by the county.
Two former rescue squad members were arrested recently on meth charges, including the current commander at the time of the arrest.
Problems Foreseen At Upcoming Event At Blue Holler ATV Park:
EM Director Massey also shared concerns with magistrates regarding an upcoming event at Blue Holler ATV Park, located in the Lincoln community. He said upwards of 15,000 people are expected at this event and that the community could become overwhelmed.
"You're about to double the county's population during this thing," he said. "All it is is a drunken party and I feel sorry for the community."
District 5 Magistrate Johnny Brooks, who is magistrate of that area used similar language.
"I feel sorry for the community and I worry it will be a mess," he said. "I really feel for the people that live over there."
The lack of zoning laws in Edmonson County prevent any action from businesses being built and operated anywhere in the county. Several Chalybeate residents are unhappy with a proposed possible residential development in their area that could cover as much as 120 acres, which is currently farmland; however, without zoning, nothing will prevent developers from moving forward if they choose.
Local law enforcement is currently planning patrols and other measures for the Blue Holler event and have reached out to several other agencies, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Road Material Bids: Multiple suppliers submitted bids for materials to be used by the Edmonson County Road Department, which included asphalt, stone, and road tiles, among other products. All bids were accepted based on the current job, it’s proximity to the material provider, price, and time/fuel required to access the provider.
Tractor Bid: Craigmyle Farm Equipment, of Owenton, KY submitted a bid of $34,500 on a John Deere 5425, which was accepted by the court. The amount is currently in the Road Dept's budget and the tractor will be used for mowing.
After an audit performed by County Treasurer Tammi Willhite regarding county-owned vehicles and those of which are in and out of service, the county was able to save anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 per year in insurance premiums. Judge Cannon said a county surplus sale is being planned for later in the year.
The court also voted to:
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for June 14th at 9AM via virtual conference. Judge Cannon said that regular in-person meetings could resume after the next meeting, and the topic would be discussed.