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Cold check collection fees help county fund four local agencies

An unexpected revenue source to the county’s general fund enabled the Boyle County Fiscal Court to give funding to four agencies that had previously been cut or reduced in next fiscal year’s budget because of the court’s prediction of severe COVID-19-related revenue decreases.

County Attorney Chris Herron presented the court with a check for more than $40,400 that his office had received from cold check collection fees in the past year, and from other accounts he oversees that should have been turned over to the county before he took office in 2019, he said. “Don’t expect $40,000 every year,” Herron added.

Magistrate Jason Cullen said that since the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Bluegrass had requested $4,000 for 2020-21, but was turned down, fiscal court now had the money to fund the entire $4,000. “If they requested $4,000 then they need $4,000” Cullen said. “We need to help these children.”

The court voted unanimously to approve the funding.

The Veterans’ Appreciation Luncheon, which annually honors veterans from several surrounding counties with a special meal on Veterans Day had requested $1,000 for golf cart rentals to transport veterans to and from their vehicles. Fiscal court had deemed it necessary to only give $500, but on Tuesday, voted to add another $500 so that the request was fully funded.

Other adjustments that were approved unanimously included decreasing the Arts Center of the Bluegrass by $2,000, (giving them a total of $10,000) and giving $1,000 to Family Services (which fully funds its $19,000 request) and $1,000 to The Arts Commission, which had been cut to 0.

The fiscal court’s funding of $28,000 to Main Street Perryville was brought up again by Cullen. He said since the program is being sued for about $71,000, he was concerned that some of the money “might have to go toward the lawsuit.”

Magistrate Tom Ellis emphatically denied that would be the case. However, Herron said if the money was in the bank, then it could be garnished.

After further debate, the court voted to officially earmark the $28,000 for the MSP director’s salary.

In other business:

  • County engineer Dewaye Campbell presented plans from Wilderness Trace Distillery requesting permission to widen and improve the intersection of Lebanon Road and Alum Springs Crosspike at their expense. Campbell said the county had considered the same project years ago but “we didn’t have the money.”

WTD wants the intersection widened and improved so that semi trucks can haul their barrels of bourbon from the distillery on Lebanon Road to property it owns on the crosspike more safely, Campbell said. If Planning and Zoning and the fiscal court make an amendment to the agricultural zoning ordinance, and a conditional use permit is approved for the distillery, WTD plans to build 11 rickhouses there in which to store and age bourbon.

  • Solid Waste and Recycling Director Angie Muncy presented a Storm Water Protection Plan for the county’s convenience centers. Last month she presented the Ground Water Protection Plans.

“This is something that should have probably been done years and years ago when the convenience centers started,” Muncy said.

The department has always had a Solid Waste Protection Plan in place, she explained, which includes practices to protect the water and land. “We’re already doing what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Plans and permits for groundwater and stormwater practices at the convenience centers have been recently required by the Division of Water because of “false complaints from Alum Springs,” Muncy said. “False complaints that we were doing something, but we weren’t doing anything.”

The complaints stemmed from residents who were against the county’s proposal to locate a dead animal composting facility at either Perryville or Alum Springs convenience centers earlier this year, and their concerns about how the facility could adversely affect water quality in streams, and eventually Herrington Lake.

Now that the Division of Water is involved, each convenience center will have to be tested twice a year for “flow, pH, TSS (total suspended solids) and grease and oil,” Muncy said. But, she didn’t know how much the laboratory tests were going to cost the county. “Hopefully being twice a year, it won’t kill us, but it’s the law and it has to be done.”

If one of the convenience centers doesn’t pass a test, fines will be involved, she said. “But we’ll always be compliant. We’ve never had a problem at the convenience centers.” But, she added, “If a problem comes up, I’ll take care of it.”

  • Boyle County Jailer Brian Wofford presented a check to the county for $27,000 that was gained through the jail’s canteen fund. The money will be used to help offset costs for inmates’ mental and physical health needs, Wofford said.

He said as of Tuesday morning, the jail had 140 inmates — 29 from Boyle County; 18 from Mercer County; 82 from the state Department of Corrections; and 12 from other counties who can’t be transferred to other facilities due to COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Boyle County Health Department Director Brent Blevins told the court he was not asking for a tax increase in the upcoming fiscal year. The tax rate will remain at 3.7 cents per $100.
  • The fiscal court agenda included appointments to the boards of the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as to the Human Rights Commission.

However, Commissioner John Caywood questioned why he wasn’t given the opportunity to submit a recommendation for a board appointment.

Cullen said everyone on the court had a list of county boards and their members which also gave their terms’ expiration dates, and he took it upon himself to read it and make a recommendation. He said two months ago the court decided that magistrates should bring their board recommendations straight to the county-judge executive and not through a special committee.

Cullen argued that magistrates should be aware of their responsibilities and stay up to date on when board appointments are needed. “I’m sorry other people did not take the opportunity to look and see what’s available…”

Caywood told Cullen, “I don’t appreciate being preached at, and if you think I’m shirking my job, we’ll take that up another day.”

Caywood said he wasn’t against either of the people who were up for appointment, but was questioning the process of making board recommendations to Boyle County-Judge Executive Howard Hunt.

After some discussion, Hunt decided to table the appointments, even though the two people were watching the online meeting and were expected to be appointed at that time. He said magistrates could make their recommendations and he would consider them at the next meeting.

Cullen said he wanted to apologize to the two people who were expecting to be appointed.

“I apologize how all this played out and how unprofessional it was. It’s hard to get people to serve… Hopefully we didn’t put a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.”

Hunt said, “I am personally embarrassed and I apologize to everybody involved. We’ll get this straightened out, and once we get it straightened out, we’ll move forward.”