County clerk’s office collected more fees and taxes ‘in the middle of a pandemic’

Boyle County Clerk Trille Bottom presented fiscal court with a check for $374,336.94 in excess fees her office collected by the end of December, 2020 during the court’s regular meeting on Tuesday. This total was $121,446 more than what was she had paid to fiscal court in 2019, Bottom said. She had originally budgeted her office to collect $283,749 for 2020, so the excess was a welcome surprise.

“That is awesome. … We should take a picture of this,” said Judge Executive Howard Hunt as he was laughing.

Bottom said when the pandemic had shut nearly every thing else down in Boyle County, “In the middle of a pandemic, our office never closed, as far as business. It was closed to the public, but we kept going. We opened the phones and did transactions, we had a drop-off box and we had mail-ins, which tripled our business,” Bottom said. Plus her office was in charge of the state and federal elections in the county.

“Considering everything we had to go through, it was a pretty good deal.”

In other fiscal court business
• The Boyle County Farmers Market will continue operating at Constitution Square Park for another two years, free of charge.

Director of the market, who is also the Boyle County Chamber of Commerce director, Jeff Jewell thanked fiscal court Tuesday morning for extending the market’s lease agreement for another two years.

He also told them that many people last summer told him they were thankful for the market because it was just about the only outing they could enjoy on Saturdays during the pandemic.

In fact, last year was the best year ever for the local market, Jewell said. Shoppers spent $110,000 which went “directly to the pockets of the growers.”

• Boyle County Airport Board Chair Rob Caldwell gave an update and asked the court to consider its request for $10,000 to be added to the court’s upcoming fiscal year budget. He also said he was concerned for the Civil Air Patrol. “They’re in the COVID cave and are trying to dig their way out.”

Caldwell added, “I’d like to see them get back up on their feet.” So, he asked fiscal court to step and provide some support, either directly or through the airport board.

Also, Caldwell said the board is exploring fencing in an area near the main building to be used as a public playground. He said it would be a place where people could bring their children to play and be able to safely watch the planes take off and land.

• Director of Solid Waste Angie Muncy asked for, and received, approval to advertise a second request for bids for animal composting. “I’m just not ready to give up $140,000,” which is the amount of a grant she received to implement a dead animal composting project. If a site isn’t approved soon, she will have to return the grant money.

• County Administrator Julie Wagner asked the court to approve implementing processes and procedures for licensing and inspecting kennels, so that the county’s animal ordinance that’s “already on the books” can be enforced. Once enacted, the ordinance will regulate about 25 kennels in the county. “We should have been doing it already,” Wagner said.

She also said there have been some people who have questioned why a new kennel was allowed to be built on property on Maple Avenue.

So, Wagner researched the details of the Planning & Zoning approval process. “There’s no question that the kennel is legal,” Wagner said.

More “cleaning up” of the existing ordinance needs to be tackled — especially the issues of noise nuisance and vicious dogs, before the court will vote to approve the implementation of the procedure and process.