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Fiscal Court meets for regular March session

By Eugenia Jones

The McCreary County Fiscal Court met during their regular March session to deal with several routine items of business.

Vernon Gilreath, representing the McCreary County Soil Conservation District, presented the Conservation District’s 2022-2023 budget and provided an update on Soil Conservation District services available to farmers in McCreary County.  Gilreath noted the McCreary County Soil Conservation District currently rents approximately fifteen pieces of equipment to local farmers.  Rental equipment available for rent includes farm-related machinery such as seed drills, fertilize spreaders, a pasture drag, a tractor, etc.  Gilreath also noted the Soil Conservation District focuses on being a cost sharing entity and implements  programs to help farmers regain certain amounts of money spent by them on lime, fertilizer, and other farm-related products.  Currently, the Soil Conservation District is accepting applications for fertilizer reimbursement.  The District can match 50% up to $2,000 of fertilizer costs for eligible and approved farmers.  The program is open only for eligible farms/farmers (not gardens) and applicants must submit applications for approval and meet certain state criteria.

“This is one way of giving back to the community,” Gilreath said.  “We are using the money we have for the benefit of the people.”

Gilreath warned of further increases in the cost of food at grocery stores due to increases in the cost of products necessary for farming, such as fertilizer, weed killer, etc.  He strongly recommends everyone plant a garden this year to help offset the cost of food.

Other items of business discussed and or acted upon during the meeting included the following:

• Sheriff Randy Waters submitted $6,646.02 in excess fees from the 2021 fee account.  This money is typically returned to the sheriff’s office for purchase of gas, etc.

• Opened and awarded bids to Don Franklin for two trucks.

• Approved payments to Knapheide Truck Equipment Center for two dump truck beds.

• Approved transfers and new hires in EMS and Litter Abatement.

• Approved appointment of Roger Owens to the Eagle/Sawyer Fire Protection District Board of Directors.  Owens replaces Rodney Hensley.

The Fiscal Court heard several updates including the following:

Judge Greene discussed the April 30 Spring PRIDE Clean-Up on HWY 90/Cumberland Falls.  He urged participation and noted McCreary County has lost the participation cup to Whitley County for the last two years.  

Deputy Judge Nathan Nevels reported on the SOAR Economic Development Conference he recently attended and discussed the upcoming Gravel Road Rally planned for April 30.  Nevels noted specific roads used in the Gravel Road Rally cannot be named now (except to road residents) because of road rally regulations.  Nevels also noted the event will be insured by the event’s sanctioning body, NASA Rally.  Nevels is working with County Attorney Austin Price to develop a “hold harmless” clause for the event.  Additionally, individual participants are required to have insurance.

Nevels noted Bulk Item Days (Free Dump Days) and Tire Collection Days are coming later this month and in April.  

EMS Director Jimmy Barnett reported 470 EMS runs last month and 1,118 911 calls through dispatch.

The road department had a busy month including repair of 31 bus turn arounds, installation of 21 road signs, installation of 14 culverts, and spreading rock on roads.  The slope mower is currently being used in two county districts.

ABC Director Brenda Blevins reported the county collected $114,705.29 from alcohol license and regulatory fees in 2021.  The merchant total in 2021 was $2,222,459.24.  These totals reflect a $7,149.64 increase for the county in comparison to 2020 and a $588,835.84 increase for merchants.

Tax Administrator Stephanie Tucker reported a collection of $121,772.90 in occupation taxes in February.  One third of that amount ($40,590.97) was disbursed to the jail fund with the remaining $81,181.93 disbursed to the General Fund.

McCreary County Park collect $4,420 in rentals for last month.  Rental fees include those for the McCreary County Park and Sand Hill RV Camp.

EMA Director Stephen McKinney warned resident to follow burn guidelines and cautioned residents against burning illegal materials.  

Sheriff Randy Waters reported on recent arrests.  County Attorney Austin Price commented on the ongoing “dog problem” in the County and asked residents to be respectful of their neighbors–both those who own dogs and those who do not.

Magistrate Roger Phillips observed that bids for solid waste collection need to be advertised early so Fiscal Court will have time to prepare for the award of that bid later this year.

McCreary County Fiscal Court meets in regular session on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the McCreary County Courthouse. 

Photo courtesy 

McCreary County 

Extension Agency/4-H Civics Club 

Members of the 4H Civics Club attended the March Fiscal Court meeting.  The young members of the group drew sketches of Fiscal Court proceedings and asked questions of Judge Greene.  Judge Greene was pleased to see the young people attend and complimented the suggestion of forming a “youth council” to provide input to local government officials.

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