This story first appeared in the April 28 issue of the Community Voice. For your subscription, call 270-384-9454.
The Adair County Fiscal Court voted at its regular scheduled meet- ing Monday night to include the ambulance service in the group of employees given essential pay for work during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Last year we gave our county employees essential pay. I think full-time employees got $5,000 and part-time got $2,500,” said Judge Executive Gale Cowan. “Ambulance service employees came to a fiscal court meeting and thought they should be included in that. They were not. Some people call them county employees, but they are not. They are a taxing district, just like the library, and the extension office, the health department.”
Monday, the court’s ARPA committee, head- ed by magistrate Billy Coffey, brought the motion before the court to include the ambulance service – depending on whether the county receives the second ARPA check from the federal government. The motion passed 5-1 with magistrate Daryl Flatt abstaining and magistrate Greg Cald- well giving the only nay vote. He wanted all qualifying groups, which included the water district, to receive the money.
Caldwell brought up another motion to give the water district essential pay, too, but the motion failed by a vote of 4-3. Harold Burton, Caldwell and Coffey voted Yes. Flatt, Sammy Baker, Chris Reeder and Terry Hadley voted against it.
“The reason I wanted to separate the issues was we have brought this up about the ambulance service before. I made a motion twice,” said magistrate Reeder. “The ambulance ser- vice were the people that were out here and didn’t have a choice (whether or not to work). They started with just a mask for protection. I am not opposed to the water department getting it, but there are some questions. Guys were out in a truck working on water lines? It is just as important, but it is a different situation.”
Flatt agrees. He said ambulance workers were right on the front line.
“This opportunity came about, and I am like Chris. I am not opposed to the water district getting the money, but certain employees,” Flatt said after the meeting. “It is depending on if we get the second payment. So, I would like to have more information on who (of the water department) is getting it, what they have done, and how they were around Covid.
“I can speak for the ambulance service. They had no choice about working or not, they couldn’t work from home. They were in the back of an ambulance, basically in a 6×8 box, with Covid patients and just a mask and no vaccines. They deserve this money whole-heartedly.”
All spending of ARPA money has to be approved by consultants and Adair County’s decisions go through attorneys Stites and Harbison in Lexington.
Cowan said second check, if the county receives it, should be around $1.5 million and could be received in June or July.
In other court business, Terese Penna was hired on as a part-time 911 dispatcher at $11.70 per hour.
Josh Withers was appointed for a three- year term on the Board of Assessment Appeals. Doyle Lloyd was also appointed chairman.
By Scott Wilson