A fiscal court meeting grew somewhat contentious Tuesday morning after Judge Executive Larry Russell Bryant brought up several major topics during other business.
The court had previously voiced an agreement that the morning monthly meeting would be held for the purpose of paying bills, and other items would only be discussed if they couldn’t wait until the meeting held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.
The scheduled topics took around 10 minutes but the meeting continued for another hour. Bryant started by saying they received the appraisal for property the county owns on Reed St. but questioned whether it should be made public. When questioned, County Attorney Jennifer Hutchison Corbin said she was not aware the topic would be discussed at the meeting and had not had time to research it. She said it would be helpful if she is provided material prior to meetings to have time to review. No action was taken.
The conversation moved to a request by Casey County officials to bring some dogs to Adair County’s shelter when needed. Shelter director Tammy Crew offered to work with Casey County as long as a lot of dogs were not brought at one time. As magistrates questioned her, however, it became obvious that taking on the dogs would add undue burden to the shelter staff and could have the potential to cost more than the county would receive in the agreement. After comments that several magistrates did not think they should move forward with the proposal, the issue died for lack of support.
Judge Bryant then told the court they did not receive any bids for a new vehicle for the sheriff’s office. He said they would wait until Sheriff Josh Brockman was there to discuss the next step.
The court then voted to approve a first reading for an encroachment permit on Wheeler Hill Rd. to allow core drilling for an environmental study.
From there, Bryant brought up a proposal to move graves from the Green River Commerce Park. The board voted against allowing the Economic Development Authority to move the graves last month in a split vote. Bryant voted for the proposal. On Tuesday morning, he broached the subject again, saying the proper paperwork is completed and money has been spent on the project.
“This needs to be finalized,” he said, adding that “dirt will be moved before bad weather” at the industrial park.
He asked for a vote to allow the graves to be moved.
“Didn’t we vote on this last meeting,” magistrate Tony Denton asked. Bryant said they did but it needs to move forward and asked Corbin, the county attorney, should the next step be to take the situation to civil court.
She responded again that she needs to know what is going to be discussed prior to the meeting, especially if legal opinions are needed.
Bryant then encouraged magistrates to attend EDA meetings.
“You would know a little bit more about what is going on in our county that affects our dollars and our property taxes,” he said.
Magistrate Terry Hadley said he tried to attend the last meeting but it was an executive session. Reeder suggested that the EDA board attend a fiscal court meeting and update the court. Bryant agreed with Reeder. Bryant continued to discuss the proposed project and Denton said the court had already voted on it, adding, “I don’t understand why it’s still being brought up.”
Magistrate Daryl Flatt said the documents he read says the burial site will not hold up any activity at the park and asked if it was in fact holding up anything. Bryant said they are told there are people from some countries who would not build at the park because of the burial site.
Reeder responded that the topic was not going to move at the meeting and they needed to move on.
Bryant then brought up the position for an occupational tax administrator, which also failed to get court approval last month.
Flatt said the first step needed is for the court to accept a job description. After discussion, he made the motion to approve a job description that creates a part-time position as a county employee. Bryant had originally provided a job description that included additional duties in the office and had unsuccessfully requested a full-time position.
Flatt’s motion to accept the job description with no more than 24 hours a week was approved. The hiring committee will now need to come to the court with a person they recommend be hired.
The court went on to approve the transfer of $150,000 in funds to EDA. The court already approved the use of the funds.
The court approved a request on behalf of Sheriff Brockman for $60,000 to cover expenses until tax revenue starts coming in. The court approved the action, which does not amend the budget but allows for a temporary transfer of funds.
Reeder made a motion to increase base pay at the jail by $1 an hour, which would require $69,000 in revenue. He said Jailer Jamie Richard offered to take $50,000 from commissary funds to use toward the jail’s medical contract to free up those funds for the raise. The jail already provides $80,000 toward medical costs through the commissary.
That would leave less than $20,000 for the county to cover. Flatt said he believed getting the jail fully staffed would also reduce overtime expenses and lower the cost to the county even more. The court approved first reading.
All magistrates were in attendance.
By Sharon Burton
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