New EMS social worker introduced to Fiscal Court

Published 2:09 pm Monday, April 22, 2024

The Fiscal Court was introduced to the new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) social worker Mark Smith at their meeting on March 9. 

Smith is EMS’s Community Behavioral Health Specialist, which is a new position.  

Smith holds a Masters level certified social worker degree. He worked for Heritage Hospice for five years and was in the military for eight years.

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The county was awarded a $850,000 Community Crisis Co-Response Team grant in January, which is a three year program. The new position will fulfill one of the requirements for the grant.  

EMS Director Mike Rogers said their goal is to fund the position through the grant as long as possible, but part of the grant program is to explore sustainability options for the position, so it can be funded in other ways in the future. 

Rogers explained that Smith’s responsibilities are still being figured out. The main goal for the position is to lessen the burden on EMS workers and the Sheriff’s Office on non-emergency mental health calls. 

Smith will go on mental health EMS calls and give the person affected more options than just going to the emergency room or jail. 

“I’m excited to be a part of this team, I think we got our work cut out for us to get it started, but I think once it gets going, we’ll be a well-oiled machine,” Smith said. “I think I’ll enjoy this position and being out in the community with feet on the ground; I know it’ll be challenging but it’ll be worth it.”

Magistrate Paula Bodner said this position is groundbreaking for the community, and is much needed.

In other business, the court: 

  • Appointed Janet Hamner, Tim Montgomery and George Coomer to serve on the Birthplace of Kentucky Advisory Committee. They will all serve a three-year term ending March 1, 2027.
  • Agreed to pursue the idea of hiring a service to put all of the county’s ordinances on their website. County Administrator Julie Wagner found a service that would put ordinances online for $15,000. The service would also go through the ordinances and make sure the language is up-to-date and concurrent with state law. For an additional fee of $1,250 per year, the service would review new state laws for any updates to the ordinances.
  • Passed a motion to move $50,000 from the Junction City Park matching grant fund to a Junction City Park fund in the budget. Magistrate Paula Bodner made the motion, and explained that this money was set aside in last year’s budget for a federal matching grant. However, the county was not awarded the grant. So she suggested that the money they set aside should still be used for Junction City Park. There will be a line item created in the budget for Junction City Park. 
  • Acknowledged the Boyle County Extension District Board’s budget. Area Extension Director Rita Stewart said they have added some new full time positions during the last year. They added a Family and Consumer Sciences program assistant, and a nutrition education program assistant.
  • Discussed the reason that the county does not take glass to be recycled. Solid Waste and Recycling Director Angie Muncy said that when she started, there were dumpsters at the convenience centers for glass. But people were getting hurt, and cars were getting damaged from broken glass on the ground. Once glass is broken, it can not be recycled, and it  contaminates other recyclables. She found out that Republic Services was taking glass to a landfill. Muncy explained that although she’s not against recycling glass, the county would lose money to recycle glass because it costs more to recycle. She said she would need more space and employees to recycle glass, and the county does not have room to expand the recycling facility.