Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Aug. 15

Thumbs Up: Sheriff doing more with less

As the overcrowded jail and ever-increasing costs for emergency services continue to weigh heavy on Boyle County’s coffers, there was a small piece of good news revealed last week: Despite a growing number of felony cases due to the drug abuse epidemic, Sheriff Derek Robbins is keeping overtime costs under control.

Overtime costs for the first half of this year are down $17,000 from the first half of 2016, and Robbins estimates his office will save a total of about $25,000 compared to last year by the end of 2017.

That’s not a huge amount compared to the hundreds of thousands in new emergency expenses Boyle County expects to pay for this year; nor is it even a drop in the bucket if you’re talking about the millions it might take to appropriately overhaul the local jail operation.

But it is something; and no one ever saved a dollar by throwing away pennies. We think the overtime savings is worth a thumbs up.

Thumbs Down: 911 confusion persists

Speaking of large emergency services expenses, it’s still not clear what’s going to happen to 911 service in Boyle County in the future, nor how much it will cost. $700,000 in 911 funds remains in the hands of Boyle County and no one can seem to agree on who it really belongs to or what it can be used for. Danville believes the money must be spent on the local 911 center, which it operates; and it has asked the county to turn over the funds. Boyle County has declined the city’s request, and comments from county officials on what will or will not be done with the money have been vague or even contrary to each other at times.

Perhaps fueling the disagreements about the funding is a plan Boyle County is looking into to split from Danville for 911 service and have calls outside Danville sent to Bluegrass 911 in Garrard County. We don’t have any numbers on how such a plan would work, but Boyle County, Danville and Perryville have all discussed the idea in public meetings.

It feels like there’s a power struggle going on behind the scenes over 911. We hope that’s not the case, because 911 service is too important to be bickered over. We hope a special called meeting of the Boyle County Fiscal Court set for 10 a.m. Aug. 29 will clear some of the questions that are hanging over the situation right now.

Thumbs Up: Repairs to Perryville Road

The state has come in and reworked a stretch of Perryville Road that has become notorious for causing hydroplaning. It’s a straight, slightly inclined stretch of the busy highway in the Atoka area of Boyle County, just west of Salt River Road.

As Boyle County Engineer Duane Campbell explained it, a sag in the road where it had settled allowed for water to pool the roadway, leading to the increased likelihood of hydroplaning when the road was wet.

It’s possible hydroplaning on that stretch of road contributed to a July 6 wreck that killed Betty “Sue” Gayle Wethington, 53, of Parksville.

It shouldn’t take a fatal wreck to correct road problems, but that’s what happens many times, and it seems like it’s what happened here.

But we don’t want to get into a game of pointing fingers over someone’s death; we’re just glad the repairs have been made and Perryville Road is at least a little safer to travel than it used to be.