Road sign theft can delay emergency help for those in need.
By Eugenia Jones
During this month’s Fiscal Court meeting (January 14), County Road Supervisor Tony Kidd expressed his frustration over the “massive theft of road signs” throughout the County. Kidd noted the seriousness of the situation particularly when emergency crews are responding to 911 calls requesting ambulances, fire-fighters, etc. and are unable to find the locations where they are needed because of missing road signs. County Attorney Austin Price assured Kidd his office “can find a place for sign thieves” once they are apprehended. Anyone with information regarding stolen road signs is asked to contact the Sheriff’s office.
Theft of road signs is a reoccurring problem for McCreary County. Last year, six individuals were cited for theft of road signs. During this month’s meeting, Magistrate Phillips noted some of those cited last year are currently having difficulty finding employment due to their blemished background checks. Theft of road signs can result in a charge of theft by unlawful taking under $500, a Class A Misdemeanor.
Other items acted on during the meeting include the following:
-Approved first reading of Amendment Number 5 which amends the budget for $184,494 expected from the Transportation Department for FLEX Funds for road paving.
-Approved Resolution Number 210114-1 allowing EMS Director Jimmy Barnett to proceed with submission of an Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase a seventh ambulance for McCreary County.
-Re-appointed Tony Kidd as County Road Supervisor for a two year term.
-Approved cost-of-living increase (1.2%) for Jessie Hatfield, Jailer/Chief Transport Officer.
-Tabled approving changes to Administrative Code, regarding vacation time and pay. After briefly discussing the problem of too many employees taking vacation days at the same time and/or cashing in vacation days, the Magistrates agreed to brainstorm ideas and address any needed changes at their next regular meeting.
In addition to regular business, Department Heads submitted the following updates:
-EMS Director Jimmy Barnett noted five of six County ambulances are back up and running.
-The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board submitted their end of year report. ABC Commissioner Brenda Blevins noted the County’s alcohol ordinance was approved and signed effective January 3, 2020 with the first County license issued January 15, 2020. McCreary County currently has twenty licensed merchants. The regulatory fee of 6% plus license fees netted a pending year-end total (2020) for McCreary County Fiscal Court of $97, 023.25. Merchants netted a pending total of $1,289,132.42. (Pending indicates ABC collections are one month behind and not every business has reported at this time.)
The local ABC’s collection of license and regulatory fees has been used to help fund five full time deputies for the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office and paid salaries and expenses related to the ABC office. Due to state mandates, the regulatory fee in 2021 drops from 6% to 5%.
–Park rentals for December totaled $655.00 (Sand Hill-$180.00/Park-$475.00)
-Tourism collected $1,641.52 in transient taxes for December, 2020. A total of $14,063. 93 in transient taxes was collected for the year. Tourism Director Michelle Perry noted 2020 was a difficult year for tourism because of COVID-19, and she is optimistic 2021 will be a better year for tourism related events.
-County Road Supervisor Tony Kidd reported on an extensive list of County Road Department accomplishments in 2020 including approximately forty miles of new blacktop, repair/replacement of more than 250 road signs, rocked and ditched several miles of roads, mostly hand shoveled more than 100 tons of cold patch, worked on several slides, and installed new drain lines at the Courthouse. A comprehensive listing of County Road Department accomplishments will be forthcoming in a future edition of The Voice.
With McCreary County still in the red (critical) COVID-19 zone, the January meeting of Fiscal Court was closed to the general public. However, the meeting was broadcast live and posted on the McCreary County Fiscal Court Facebook page. Judge Greene invites members of the public to submit questions or concerns via social media, etc. The McCreary County Fiscal Court meets in regular session on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Courthouse.