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Fiscal Court helps Sheriff pay payroll

Sheriff Randy Waters appeared before the McCreary County Fiscal Court Thursday to request their help in meeting his payroll for the current week.

The issue behind the request is the disparity between the Sheriff’s Budget and the Fiscal Court’s, namely the Sheriff starts his fiscal year on January 1, as opposed to July 1, meaning he has to start the year with a zero balance on his books.

That issue, coupled with the fact the majority of revenue taken in by the Sheriff’s Department occurs mainly in November and December.

The state typically advances funds to the Sheriff’s Department, but that money is not expected until next week at the earliest.

Sheriff Waters said his payroll would be about $8,000 for the two-week pay cycle.

The Court agreed to “loan” Sheriff Waters funds to cover the current week’s payroll, with the understanding that once the Sheriff receives his advancement from the state in he would “repay” the County the money borrowed.

The money will come from funds set aside for the Ambulance Service to upgrade and replace ambulances. Every month a portion of the collections from the department are set aside to go toward the acquisition of a rebuilt unit.

Ambulance Service Director Jimmy Barnett stated there was sufficient funding in the account to cover the requested funds.

While the Fiscal Court cannot loan money in such a manner, County Attorney Conley Chaney stated it would be more of the Fiscal Court helping another department for the benefit of the county as a whole.

In other Fiscal Court actions Thursday:

Deputy Judge Andrew Powell requested the Court approve a proposal to explore the possibility of developing a trail on the old K&T rail bed from Yamacraw to White oak Junction.

Powell stated the Heritage Foundation owns the rights to the rail bed, and the proposal would ask for an easement of about 8 feet along the path.

If successful, the four-mile trail would provide a unique opportunity to tourists who would be able to ride the train to Blue Heron, then walk or bike the trail.

Powell also updated the Court on the Reservoir Park project that was first introduced in February 2014.

The Deputy Judge stated he has charted the path for the proposed four-mile trail around the Reservoir, flagging and logging it with GPS coordinates, and will meet with Forest Service Officials to finalize details for clearing the trail and constructing water crossings where needed.

The McCreary County Water District, who owns the reservoir, has agreed to the plan, and will help develop an access road to the proposed site.

In addition to the trail, plans for the secondary park include a boat ramp and picnic areas.

Judge Stephens asked the Court for permission to declare the old 911 building as surplus and to seek bids for someone to demolish and remove the structure from the property.

The Court also discussed the possibility of refinancing the debt owed on the Senior Citizens Center at the McCreary County Park to raise funding to finance new projects at the park.

The initial discussion centered on the projected cost to add lights to the Little League fields to allow night play and the ability to host tournaments.

Due to specific requirements by Little League Baseball having lights installed on all four fields could cost upwards of $180,000. Deputy Judge Powell stated the cost would be significantly smaller if the opted to just purchase the lighting, but install it themselves, as well as limiting the lighting to the two regulation-sized fields.

Other possible projects could include basketball courts, paving and lighting the walking trails, installing exercise stations on the trails or an outdoor amphitheater.

Powell noted the debt on the building has been paid down to about $180,000 and there is approximately $300,000 in equity to borrow against. Any refinancing should keep the already existing monthly payments that same.

Diana Bybee was appointed to the McCreary County Tourism and Convention Committee, replacing Trey Ball who tendered his resignation.

Ray Wright, Tim Freels, Robert Spradlin, Howard Dewayne Perry, Clifton Redden and Magistrate Roger Phillips were appointed to the newly-formed Airport Advisory Board.

The next meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on Thursday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m.

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