Fiscal Court balks at enforcement
By Greg Bird
The McCreary County Fiscal Court took no action on possibly creating a Code Enforcement Officer position, despite a strong push from Judge Executive Doug Stephens to at least look further into the issue.
“I think it is something that is important,” Judge Stephens said. “We’ve passed several ordinances lately, that without enforcement capability – we probably shouldn’t have passed.”
The Judge noted enforcing the laws they have passed is the only way to ensure all citizens are treated equally, and would help the county grow.
“We have to try and improve ourselves,” he said. “Collecting money in a fair way is the best way to do it, rather than a few individuals paying for all of it.”
Referencing the current contract between the County and Poff Carting over garbage service, Judge Stephens said the County could be opening itself up to a potential lawsuit if it fails to follow the agreement. The contract calls for the County to enforce the mandatory aspect of garbage service, and provides fines and penalties for residents who do not comply with the ordinance.
Other County ordinances, such as the Occupational Tax and Business License, also carry penalties for non-compliance, but without someone enforcing the laws, it is probable there are many who have not have registered with the Occupational Tax Office – meaning there is potentially many thousands of dollars in past due taxes owed the County.
Magistrate Roger Phillips flatly stated he would be opposed to hiring any officer and stated he felt some of the ordinances passed by the Fiscal Court were wrong and he wished he hadn’t voted in favor for some of them.
“I think it would further divide the county,” he said.
“I think we have too many ordinances,” he later said. “Looking back, I’m sure I voted on a few that I wish I would have changed or not voted for after talking to people.”
“Why do we create ordinances if we are not going to enforce them?” Judge Stephens replied.
“That’s what I’m saying, I’d be willing to go back and change some of the ones I’ve voted on,” Phillips said.
Judge Stephens called for a motion to approve further researching code enforcement, but no motion was made and the proposal died.
In other Fiscal Court action Thursday:
The Court approved the sale of approximately 16 acres of land to Larry Watters along Robert Neal Road in Stearns. The property, deemed surplus by the Fiscal Court last month, is located off Wilburn K. Ross Highway, near the site of the sewage treatment plant.
Watters submitted the only bid for the property, and will pay $8,500 for the land, with an additional $2,050 for the survey of the property, for a total of $11,050.
Magistrate Phillips noted the price was low for the land, but confirmed that it is difficult terrain and all timber had been stripped from the property already.
The motion to go ahead with the sale passed by a 4-1 vote with Magistrate O.L. Perry casting the lone dissenting vote.
Judge Stephens asked for permission to approach the McCreary County Water District to see if they would be willing to have the remainder of the land donated to them, since they use it already for the sewage treatment plant.
The Court approved a resolution regarding financing $50,000 through KaCO to go toward the refurbishment of a new ambulance for EMS. Director Jimmy Barnett stated the remainder of the cost would be paid through the Ambulance
A resolution supporting seeking a grant from Homeland Security to obtain new tasers for the Sheriff’s Department was approved. Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney stated the tasers currently in use by law enforcement were no longer in production and the Sheriff is unable to purchase new cartridges and parts for the old units.
The Court approved a resolution supporting the resurfacing of Clark Hollow Road through funding from the Governor’s Discretionary Funds.
The Fiscal Court opened bids for several materials, such as gravel and culverts. The bids are being reviewed and will be awarded during a special session called later this month.
One bid was received for construction of a foot-bridge and 3-mile trail along the McCreary County Reservoir. Parsons Construction submitted the only bid, amounting to just over $67,000 for the project. Deputy Judge Andrew Powell, who is overseeing the process, noted the County had received a $75,000 grant for the project and no County funds will be used. The project is estimated to take about 5-months to complete.
The McCreary County Fiscal Court is expected to meet on June 29th for a special-called session to approve the 2018-19 budget and award bids for services. No time for that meeting has been announced. The budget is being published this week on page 4B.
The next regular session will be at 6:00 p.m. on July 12.