Darren Doyle, story:
Edmonson County Fiscal Court met virtually today to discuss the latest agenda, which included updates from Judge Executive Wil Cannon concerning over two million dollars in federal money that's coming to Edmonson County; about half of which the county has already received.
The money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federally-funded program intended to pump money back into local communities; however, Judge Cannon said the specific areas in which the funds can be used are still unclear.
"I hope (the government) does some work on this and give us a little bit broader way of spending to where it will help the county and help Edmonson Countians," said Judge Cannon.
He discussed how one example of the approved areas would cost the county more than not, by explaining a scenario of one resident that might live at the end of a road with no county water. The funds could be used to bring service to the resident; however, the county water company would have to use more resources to maintain that single customer than they would receive from the customer's use of their services.
"They'd be giving us money to help people, but it would cost us a lot more in the future, and there's a lot of things going on like this with this stuff and I'm not happy with the way this has all come down. If they want to help the counties, they should open it up and let us determine how best the need is for the county and use it accordingly. Hopefully they'll do that someday, I don't know."
The county has already received $1.1 million from the funding with the rest expected to be deposited soon. A budget amendment reading for the added funds was approved today by magistrates; however, Judge Cannon stated in a March 22, 2021 fiscal court meeting that it was unclear whether or not the spending would be decided by himself, which was the case in previous CARES funding, or if by fiscal court vote or other means. At that meeting, Cannon said even if left up to the Judge Executive's discretion, he would likely bring it before fiscal court for discussion. He also noted that he welcomed any magistrate to discuss the funding possibilities with him at any time.
Magistrates also voted to approve the purchase of a new software system that will be used by the county road department. The software, called iWorQ Sytems, will allow real-time tracking of costs, manpower, other resources, and will grant magistrates, road employees, and administrative and accounting personnel access to the jobs.
County Treasurer Tammi Willhite said the program will tremendously help the county keep track of all that goes into the county's road projects, and will be well worth the investment in order to keep up with the federal requirements the county must follow for FEMA projects. Willhite said that the county is depending on funding from FEMA for over 400 projects this year alone, and without proper communication and record keeping between multiple departments and personnel, this funding will not be accessible.
The cost of the program will be $5K for the first year, then $3K per year after that. Magistrates approved the new software purchase.
Judge Cannon updated the court on improvements that are currently being made at Bee Spring Park. He said that extensive cleaning, plumbing repairs, pest control, and other facility improvements are underway. He said that after these improvements are complete, reviews will be made at both the Chalybeate and HWY 70 parks to determine what further needs will be met.
The court also discussed the upcoming Freedom Fest, which is scheduled for Friday, July 2nd. The event is returning to Edmonson County after being cancelled last year due to COVID. The event is free and will feature awards for all youth baseball and softball participants, concessions, and a huge fireworks show that is free to the public.
The court agreed to schedule a county surplus sale for Saturday, July 24th. Details on the sale will be coming later.
Judge Cannon said that Dog Control Officer Kenny Heath will be resigning due to health concerns. Newly hired assistant officer Anna Dietzer will be moving into that role.
Cannon also updated the court on a proposed new development in Chalybeate, which is approximately 120 acres. He said his office has received calls from the public with concerns of such a large development being constructed in the area. He said that most of the homes are planned to be 1300 square feet on 1/3 acre lots and that the goals set from the county would be focused on community lighting, sidewalks, and traffic being flowed to HWY 101 and away from smaller county roads not meant to handle that much traffic.
It is important to note, that without zoning, developers have freedom to do what they wish, where they wish, as long as they follow regulations from the local planning commission.
Magistrates also voted to:
Judge Cannon said that today's virtual meeting will the be last one for now, with the next meeting being held on June 28, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. in the upstairs court room.
"Hopefully this is last Zoom meeting we'll ever have," he said today.