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July 9, 2014

911 Center to move within Ambulance HQ

Fiscal Court also oks new Treasurer, traffic policies

WHITLEY CITY —  In launching a new fiscal year, McCreary County Fiscal Court accomplished a great deal for a meeting which lasted about a half an hour.

    The court convened in special session Thursday evening due to a state conference conflicting with this week’s planned regular session.

    Topping the agenda was a proposal to move the 911 Dispatch Center from its current location beside EMS headquarters to the basement of that building.

    Following a March 2010 fire, the completely renovated EMS headquarters reopened in November 2011. By comparison the 911 Center, which first housed the McCreary County Water District, is more than 50 years old.

    County officials already have a $70,000 for radio and repeater upgrades, have been tentatively approved for an $86,000 grant toward a new CAD (computer-aided dispatch) system and last week applied for $40,000 more toward new consoles.

    “It doesn’t make sense to put $150,000 worth of equipment into a building that isn’t worth $150,000,” McCreary County Deputy Judge-Executive Andrew Powell asserted.

    Especially when the 1,500 square-foot EMS basement can be tailored specifically for the state-of-the art system.

    Judge-Executive Doug Stephens also noted that the basement offers more security for the 911 department — a necessity to be certified by the National Crime Information Center, whose database is currently accessible only through the Kentucky State Police.

    The judge asked for authorization to begin the process of borrowing up to $100,000 from KACo (Kentucky Association of Counties) as well as to solicit bids for the conversion.

    Magistrate Jason Mann said he supports the plan but questioned whether the county could afford it after recently passing a budget with less than $30,000 in contingency funds.

    Powell responded that he obtained a $65,000 “preliminary quote”  with the remainder acting as a cushion if the county doesn’t get the latest grant. He also included a low estimate of $100,000 in wireless surcharge revenue for the new fiscal year, which is expected to grow due to a recent legal ruling that Tracfone numbers are also subject to the fee. The county, which currently pays some $3,500 per month to AT&T and Highland, is additionally expecting to reduce that leasing fee by $1,000 once the new equipment is in place.

    “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t thing we could swing it,” the deputy judge said, though he warned the county could afford no more than $100,000 to be repaid at about $15,000 per year.

    911/EMS Director Jimmy Barnett also noted that the department has operated without debt for the last two years.

    Magistrate Stan Cox moved to begin the loan process while Magistrate Frankie Ball moved to solicit bids. Both motions were passed unanimously, excepting Roger Phillips (who could not attend due to work). The actual loan agreement will have to be approved by Fiscal Court before the project moves forward.

    After having announced the resignation of Donna Ross as County Treasurer during a June 24 special session, the court formally voted to accept her resignation letter and welcomed local restaurateur and pastor Mark Sewell as a replacement at $20,910 per year. Sewell, who also has banking experience, will serve as Interim Treasurer through next June to complete Ross’ unexpired term starting Monday. The position is appointed at four-year intervals.

    Court members also considered two traffic-related issues on Thursday, the first of which was to enter into an agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to install numbers at each of the traffic lights on US 27. Judge Stephens said the numbers — like those in Gatlinburg and Somerset — would help visitors navigate the area.

    Deputy Powell noted that the state would install the numbers but the county must maintain them. The four stop lights at Williamsburg Street, Wilburn Ross Highway (Cabin Creek), Pig Skin Road and KY 2792 will be numbered. The plan does not include the caution lights at KY 700 and Cal Hill Spur.

    Secondly, the court approved a Speed Hump Policy modeled after one from Hopkins County. The issue first came during last month’s regular meeting as a potential solution to speeding in residential areas.

    According to the policy, speed humps are wider (12-14 feet) and shorter (three inches) than speed bumps. The devices may only be used on single lane, asphalt county roads with posted speeds of no more than 25 miles per hour. Petitions requesting speed humps must include the signatures of 75 percent of road residents and a public hearing is required before final approval.

    While installing temporary rubber humps at the county park as a trial was explored, Judge Stephens said the cost was not feasible compared with asphalt.

Prior to approval, the policy was reviewed by County Attorney Austin Price who reported no legal concerns.

    In other business, Fiscal Court also:

    • approved bidding for another ambulance refurbishment. There is currently $55,000 available in the Ambulance Equipment Replacement Fund and the department has applied for a $20,000 grant from KBEMS (Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services). The first remounted ambulance arrived last November. By setting aside $5,000 in EMS revenue each month, officials expect to be able to replace one ambulance every 18 months.

    • approved Lonnie Brown as Chief of McCreary County Search and Rescue. Brown had been serving as interim since February.

    • approved Justin Barnett as full-time EMT; Cristin Hicks as PRN Paramedic; Jonathan Bradley as PRN EMT; Jacqueline Gregory and Joshua Goodin as PRN 911 Dispatchers; and Heather Worley, Shara Witt and Lonnie Brown Jr. as part-time Transportation Officers.

    • appointed Jason Jones and Steve Dixon to the South McCreary Fire Protection District Board of Trustees.

    • re-appointed Magistrate Phillips and Duston Baird to the McCreary County Park Board and appointed David Decker to replace Randy Kidd.

    • heard departmental updates from Barnett as well as Economic Director Susan Stephens.

    The next meeting of McCreary County Fiscal Court will be August 14 at 7 p.m.

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Hatfield Lane 22 marijuana plants

The McCreary County Sheriff’s Office seized a total of 22 marijuana plants Saturday evening from a residence on Hatfield Lane in Whitley City. That case will be presented to the grand jury, but three individuals encountered during the investigation were arrested on unrelated charges.

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