Public can return to in-person fiscal court meetings starting March 22

Published 6:30 am Friday, March 11, 2022

The Boyle County Fiscal Court voted unanimously to open its sessions back up to the public at their meeting on Tuesday.

With Covid-19 cases at a low point in Kentucky and many places opening back up, Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said he believes the world is transitioning to a new phase of life. Magistrates were eager to pass the motion.

Magistrate Tom Ellis said, “I’m getting great feedback from my constituents about their eagerness to have the opportunity to come.”

With such a small courtroom, they will not be able to accommodate six foot social distancing. However, Ellis brought up the idea of possibly having some meetings at the library in the evenings, to be able to have more people attend.

Hunt said their Pulse of the People open forums also allow the public to attend in-person and speak to the court. Magistrates Jamey Gay and Ronnie Short are working to schedule Pulse of the People meetings for districts five and two in March or April.

The public will be able to attend the next court session on March 22.

The court passed a motion to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to help build a new fire station in district four. Hunt said that Boyle County Fire and Rescue owns a two-acre property near Northpoint Training Facility.

He explained that part of the north end of the county is uncovered by a fire protection district. A fire station in that location would cover about 200 homes in that five mile radius.

“It would reduce the tax liability to all homeowners in that affected area from a nine zone to a five zone, which is a significant saving on their insurance obligations,” Hunt said.

The court will use $200,000 of ARPA funds, and the Boyle County fire protection district would make up any difference needed to complete the project. The station would house up to two vehicles. The county already has trucks and supplies needed for the station.

Magistrate Jason Cullen of district four said, “It’s something I’ve had several people in that part of the county asking for since I was elected.”

The court decided to not continue pursuing a smoking ban for the county. Magistrate John Caywood brought up the question of whether to keep pursuing the issue after a presentation by Public Health Director Brent Blevins at a previous meeting about the smoking ban.

The motion passed by a four to three vote. Magistrates Jamey Gay, Jason Cullen and John Caywood voted to keep pursuing. Magistrates Tom Ellis, Phil Sammons, Ronnie Short, and Judge Hunt voted to not pursue it.
Ellis explained that only eight of 120 counties in Kentucky have some degree of a county-wide smoking ban, and that cities should be the ones to choose those ordinances and not the county.

Cullen said, “If you walk into a place that has smoking and you have somebody who has asthma or other severe issues, just walking in and out can do a number on them.”

Cullen explained that businesses looking to come to Boyle County look for things like smoking bans. But Short explained that almost no businesses in the county allow smoking indoors, and that since Danville and Perryville already have smoking ordinances, it might not be necessary for the county.

In other business, the court:
• Expanded the AirMedCare policy in the employee handbook that allows county employees to donate their vacation time to another employee who needs to take time off for medical reasons, but is out of time off. The court passed a motion to add all earned paid time off like sick days and comp time in addition to vacation time to the policy.

• Surpassed half a million dollars in delinquent tax collections from 2017 to now.
• Discussed replacing the roofs on buildings in Constitution Square Park. With lots of moss build-up on the roofs, Ellis said it would be at least a million dollars to replace them.

• Discussed the topic of mileage reimbursement for county employees. Right now they get 44 cents a mile. The State Finance Cabinet changes the rate quarterly, and it will likely be increasing in April to compensate for rising gas prices.

• The annual pie supper is back this year after Covid. The event is a fundraiser auction for the Forkland area, and will be held March 19 at 6 p.m. with dinner served. Ellis said pies at the auction have sold for hundreds of dollars in the past.