Fiscal court holds busy regular meeting

Posted March 24, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Clinton County Fiscal Court covered a lot of ground dealing with standard county business at its regular 40-minute monthly meeting held last Thursday, March 19 with all magistrates present.

The first item of business was approval of minutes from prior meetings, with magistrate Jerry Lowhorn voting no.

After acknowledging the treasurer’s report, the court approved the monthly report and voted to pay claims and bills.

Clinton County Sheriff Jeff Vincent then presented the sheriff’s tax settlement for the previous year, also presenting the court with a check for $42,023 in excess fees from his office. The tax settlement, on a motion by Lowhorn, passed on a 6-0 vote.

Sheriff Vincent, who thanked his office secretary for her work on the tax settlement and the court for their assistance this past year, then requested the court give $20,000 to the sheriff’s department to help funding in the areas of salaries and operating expenses, a request that was opposed by magistrate Mickey Riddle, which led to a discussion on the issue.

Riddle said the county had borrowed $40,000 for a sheriff’s department vehicle and giving the $20,000 to the office would be costing the county that amount.

Vincent said the vehicle was purchased with a grant and $20,000 additional for up-fitting it. He added the SO was self-sufficient and transfers were made by the county to the jail and ambulance service monthly.

Magistrate Ray Marcum also read amounts of sheriff’s excess fees turned over for the past four years, noting the average was only $8,500 for those years combined, compared to the $42,000 turned over this year by the department.

Assistant Clinton County Attorney Gary Little noted the legal way for the county to fund the $20,000 request would be for them to amend their budget before turning the funds over to the SO, with the sheriff’s office, in turn, amending its budget to reflect the extra funds being received.

A motion subject to budget approval, to Little’s suggestion was made by magistrate Marcum and passed with Lowhorn and magistrates Gary Ferguson, Terry Buster and Johnny Russell also voting in favor. Magistrate Riddle voted no.

The court appointed Connie Gregory to the Tourism Commission board, with her term to serve to be determined.

They then approved first reading of the county’s Administrative Code/Policies and Procedures, with some changes possibly to be made prior to second and final reading next month, as some magistrates noted some changes they recommended to put into the document.

There was only one bid received on the GPMS service provider, that being from the current provider D-Trax. The charge for the county is $10 per day, $10 per drug test of inmates and $12 for the home incarceration bracelet. The motion to accept the bid was made by magistrate Ferguson and passed unanimously.

On a motion by magistrate Russell, the court voted to make its annual $2,000 donation to the Albany Fire Department to be funded through the LGEA (Local Government Economic Assistance) account.

Some road names were given to areas along the 127 Bypass, which will be sent to the AD District and then to the Transportation Cabinet for approval. Those include the Cedar Knob Spur, Cook Road, Cole Yard Road and the road near the Fairgrounds was named the Cross Farms Road.

After voting to advertise for sealed bids for the telephone/communications system for the jail, Attorney Little discussed with the court the potential to file litigation against people who have years overdue tax bills, spefically in the Spring Creek Airport Subdivision area.

Little noted many property owners in the Spring Creek subdivision had unpaid property taxes and gave the county options of how they may be able to deal with the situation.

He did warn that accumulated bills in some or many cases may actually be higher than the property values themselves now, and said filing suits in all cases may cost more than what the properties bring.

Little noted that Clinton County Attorney Michael Rains had suggested checking with the PVA (Property Valuation Administrator) office to see which of the properties that is in arrears is likely to be worth most and put it up for sale at the courthouse door first and see where it goes.

Magistrate Lowhorn said the area now in question was a mess and drug infested and something needed to be done about it.

Following some further discussion, a motion was made by magistrate Marcum to check with the PVA and proceed with possibly putting the highest valued property up for sale first. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

The court also accepted a petition by magistrate Marcum for the W.R. Garner Road in the second district to be taken into the county road system and appointed viewers to make sure the road meets county specifications.

Magistrate Johnny Russell also said some people in the Smith’s Chapel area had concerns about mud problems getting onto the roadways during heavy rains and suggested the county look into getting a front-end road sweeper to help clean up those areas.

Sheriff Vincent also addressed the court about the need for safety equipment for his staff due to the spread of the coronavirus, such as gloves and masks.

Judge/Executive Ricky Craig said a supply of such safety gear was now in Somerset and should be available here in Clinton County within a short time.

Prior to asking for an adjournment, and following a suggestion made on Facebook to have a time of prayer due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic and scripture reading in relation to the timing, judge Craig asked all present, at 7:14 p.m. that evening, to read the verse in Chronicles, Chapter 7, verse 14.

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for Thursday, April 16 at 5 p.m.