Darren Doyle, story and photo:
The discussion for needed funding from the Edmonson County Conservation District continued today with no decision being made on whether or not a new tax will be coming to county taxpayers.
Judge Cannon said that $60K in funding is being requested by the office, which is an amount not feasible for the county's general fund to support, according to Cannon. The Judge Executive discussed three different options that the county could aid the office in their need for funding, which were (1.) creating a new tax district where county taxpayers would see a Conservation District tax added to their annual property tax bill (2.) relocating the district office to county property to eliminate $6K worth of rent and utilities (3.) more funding from the county's general fund. Cannon also said a combination of the three could also be an option.
Cannon discussed a potential problem with adding a new taxing district, which was that the fiscal court would no longer have the option of setting the rate of the tax. It would be in the hands of the conservation board from that point forward. "While that wouldn't be a problem now because of the good board members we have, what will it be in 20 years or 10 years, or even 5? They'll have the authority to increase that tax to whatever they say. The fiscal court will never again have any control over any of those increases."
After a brief discussion, it was recommended that Conservation District Secretary Barbara Johnson meet with the County Treasurer Tammi Willhite to see if there are other ways the office can work with the county in the budget and the matter would be tabled until the next meeting.
County offices also gave individual reports and updates concerning their specific areas.
Road Report: Interim County Road Foreman Greg Carroll said some county bridges had been closed, reopened, then closed again, while multiple road tiles had washed out due to recent flooding. He also said that various repairs had been completed on department vehicles. Pot hole repair work was currently in place and he asked that if anyone knew of pot holes in need of repair to please contact the road department. He also reported that paving would begin as soon as weather warmed a bit, hopefully around the first of April.
Emergency Management Report: EM Director Terry Massey discussed various classes he'd attended, along with listing certain response calls to a number of structure and house fires, a car in the water, and other county emergencies, for a total of 26 calls since last meeting. He also discussed FEMA grant possibilities for washed out road shoulders as well as other road and tile needs. “I think this opens the door to repair several roads in the county.” Grant money is based on population and needs. He also reported the Chalybeate warning storm siren is not working properly and will check on the repair.
Sheriff Report: Sheriff Shane Doyle spoke on recent training for new special deputies and constables that was conducted by the Sheriff's Office. He reported on a recent trip to Frankfort to hand over a couple dozen seized firearms that cannot be used by his office. Sheriff Doyle said when a firearm is seized, it must either get destroyed order or deemed for department use once the case is closed. The Sheriff said the KY State Police either destroy or sell the weapons, the money of which becomes available in the form of grant money. Doyle said his office has benefited from the grant in the past. Grants are used for body armor, tasers, and other similar equipment.
Jailer Report: Jailer Hank Vincent reported that the county currently has 17 inmates housed in the Hart County Jail along with two more on home incarceration.
County Attorney Report: County Attorney Greg Vincent said he had been researching options for the fiscal court regarding passing local taxing districts and he summarized his research by saying that the court could basically pass whatever taxing district they deemed necessary. This report was given prior to today's Conservation District discussion.
Magistrates also voted to: