Jail issue tabled by squires

Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Clinton County Fiscal Court met before an overflow crowd its regular meeting last Thursday, May 16 with all court members present. Most of the large contingency there was in support of the Wellness Center and a separate article on that issue can be found beginning on page 1.

Several other items of business, including the jail, were on the agenda.

There was only a brief discussion about the proposed closing of the jail, with a few magistrates making comments.

Magistrate Patty Guinn again noted the county needed to keep the jail open and Magistrate Phillip Parrigin said some of his constituents had said they would be in favor of having taxes raised to keep it open.

Magistrates Hershell Key and Terry Buster also questioned the revolving issue of inmate transportation. Key asked why the jail has to transport now.

It was noted the local facility sometimes gets over 30 inmates and can only house about 20 at a time. The remainder are taken to other facilities.

Buster also said that transporting those excess inmates and housing costs already is about $70,000 from the $586,000 total jail budget.

Jailer Gene Ferrill also noted that if the jail were closed and all inmates had to be transported, there would almost have to be two transportation officers on the road at all times, since male and female inmates cannot be transported simultaneously. He added that last Thursday, there were 12 local inmates being housed in Russell County.

The fiscal court is expected to have a special call meeting on the county’s 2013-14 fiscal year budget before the end of the month, so Magistrate Parrigin made a motion to table the issue until that meeting is held to review the budgets. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

At the start of the meeting, Treasurer Dallas Sidwell presented the court with the proposed new budget so any changes could be made prior to it being sent to the Department of Local Government for approval.

The court also voted to approve the monthly treasurer’s report, and made several fund transfers to line-items that are without funds, as well as voting to pay claims and bills.

Earl Claborn, local veterans officer, then gave his annual report to the court for the year 2012. During that time, there were 731 veterans in the county. He also gave a breakdown on total expenditures from the Veterans Administration on each veteran, including compensation and pension, medical care costs and other data.

The court also voted to advertise for bids for road department equipment, such as a tractor and mower and road materials and Judge/Executive Huff announced this year’s FLEX funding, asking each magistrate to determine roads in their district that are in most desperate need of work. Those funds cannot be used for gravel or chip and seal. It was also noted that some roadside weed spraying would be reimplemented.

Judge Huff then presented the Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency budget, without the necessity of a vote and Magistrate Ricky Craig also questioned Claborn about how churches could go about getting American flags to fly at cemeteries. Judge Huff said he could help in securing those flags.

The court then held an approximate 15-minute closed session on personnel.

Upon returning to open session, it was announced that Joann Felkins had retired as Occupational Tax Administrator and the court, on a motion by Magistrate Guinn, voted to hire Virginia Conner to replace Felkins at a rate of $12 per hour, 40 hours per week.

The court, on a motion by Magistrate Mickey Riddle, voted to give Director of Emergency Services Lonnie Scott a standing order to hire employees, with the stipulation that personnel guidelines and EMS budget amounts aren’t exceeded.

The court also approved the EMS operating procedures before adjourning the two hour and 20-minute session.

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for June 20 at 5 p.m. and is open to the general public.