By Eugenia Jones
During Fiscal Court’s regular monthly meeting, McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the temporary loss of operating ambulances in McCreary County. Judge Greene declared the emergency after being approached by EMS Director Jimmy Barnett. During last week’s meeting, Barnett addressed the Fiscal Court by telling them the county temporarily has only two ambulances in operating condition instead of the normal six. Barnett explained one ambulance is out of order after hitting a deer and two have engine trouble. When a fourth ambulance went down, Barnett said he approached Judge Greene to ask for an emergency order. The state of emergency order allows the county to by-pass the bid process if it becomes necessary to quickly purchase an ambulance due to the current shortage of vehicles. Barnett said he hopes to find a loaner vehicle to use until the current McCreary County ambulances are back in service. However, he noted it is best to have the state of emergency order in place so an ambulance (used) can be quickly purchased if a loaner vehicle is not secured. Barnett said the Pulaski and Whitley County Emergency Medical Services have been assisting McCreary County with runs when needed. The magistrates unanimously approved the declaration of a state of emergency due to the lack of ambulances.
In other business, the magistrates:
-approved the second reading and final approval regarding Alcohol Beverage Control. The amended Ordinance Number is 410.2 and lowers the regulatory tax on local alcohol sales from 6% to 5% as required by a recent state mandate.
-approved the 2021 budgets for the County Clerk and Sheriff.
-approved the bid for the refurbishing of an ambulance.
-approved the agreement and resolution with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (Flex Funds) for $238,130. The approval and signed resolution will allow the county to receive the money for road work in the spring of 2021.
-approved appointments, re-appointments and adjustment of terms for the McCreary County Extension District Board. The appointments include two new members: Vicki Coffey and Karen Tucker.
-approved payments from an incoming Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) fund to OVC and Chism Automation for purchase of equipment at Fibrotex/OVC. This fund consists of federal grant money designated for OVC/Fibrotex but required to pass through Fiscal Court when purchases are made. After a portion of the CDBG federal grant money is spent by OVC/Fibrotex, the two companies will pay back funds locally to the McCreary County Industrial Authority where the money will be used for economic development in McCreary County.
-approved a “right of first refusal” agreement between the McCreary County Industrial Authority (IDA) and Fibrotex. This agreement is a first step toward leasing the spec building located in the McCreary County Business Park in Pine Knot. Fibrotex is interested in leasing the building, but is currently on “pause” as it awaits more information regarding the current presidential transition as it relates to military contracts. According to the agreement, the IDA must notify Fibrotex if another company wants to lease the building. Fibrotex would then have thirty days to accept or decline a lease on the building.
Judge Greene noted the recent upswing in the number of local COVID-19 cases and cautioned citizens to take precautions regarding prevention of the virus. He said the courthouse is open, but everyone must wear a mask in the building. There are limits to the number of people allowed in offices simultaneously. Judge Greene urged citizens to do as much business as possible via phone. County Attorney Austin Price also encouraged McCreary Countians needing assistance from his office to do as much business as possible by phone or make arrangements for outdoor pick up of completed paperwork.