The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008

Menu

Update on Tenisha Cantrell:

Tenisha Cantrell's parents are still diligently looking for their daughter who has been missing since Sept. 8, 2017.

 Tenisha Cantrell, 16, has been missing since Sept. 8. Tenisha Cantrell, 16, has been missing since Sept. 8."We have heard rumors of her whereabouts and if she is with someone over the legal age, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," William "Cricket" Cantrell of the Point section in Louisa said about his daughter's disapperence.

She went missing on Sept. 8th between 12:30 - 3:00 a.m, she is now 16 years of age, but was still 15 when she went missing according to her mother, Elissa Childers.

If anyone has any information about the whereabouts of this young lady, please contact your local law enforcement or her family at 606-571-0392.

Louisa police chief Greg Fugitt, who put out the first alert that Tenisha was missing, did not immediately answer requests for comment.

 

Lawrence Co. Fiscal Court September 19, 2017

A tax raise by any other name is still a tax raise

The Lawrence Co. Fiscal Court met September 19, 2017 for the regular scheduled meeting. Those in attendance were Judge/Exec. John Osborne, Magistrate Rick Blackburn, Magistrate Earl Boggs, Magistrate John Lemaster, Magistrate Morris Howard, County Attorney Mike Hogan, Sheriff Garrett Roberts and County Clerk Chris Jobe. The meeting was called to order after the opening prayer and pledge.

From left, Magistrate Rick Blackburn, Magistrate Earl Boggs, and judge/exec. John Osborne at yesterday's fiscal court meetingFrom left, Magistrate Rick Blackburn, Magistrate Earl Boggs, and judge/exec. John Osborne at yesterday's fiscal court meeting


*  Motion by John Lemaster, second by Rick Blackburn to approve the minutes from the August 15th and the August 18th Special Meeting.

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by Earl Boggs to approve the 2nd reading of Budget Amendment #1

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by John Lemaster to approve the bills

*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by Morris Howard to approve the Treasurers Request

*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by John Lemaster to accept the Treasurer's Report

*  Motion by John Lemaster, second by Earl Boggs to approve the MOA between Fiscal Court and the Blaine Fire Department

*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by John Lemaster to approve the CDBG Procurement Code for Blaine Fire Department and a $450,000 grant to build a new fire station at Martha.

“This is a great opportunity for all the people of Blaine, Martha, and surrounding area for fire protection and also on their homeowners insurance. I’m very thankful for the Lord’s blessing and all the hard work of Butch Smith and the fire department board for seeing their needs and the public’s needs,”  Judge Executive John Osborne said.

District 3 magistrate Earl Boggs said he is happy with the new station.

"It's going to be located at Martha instead of Blaine, so it should be called the Martha Fire Station," Boggs laughed. "But any time we can get something like this for my district and the county with no cost to local taxpayers, it's a good thing."

TAXES, TAXES, TAXES

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by Earl Boggs to receive the Lawrence Co. Public Library Tax Rate of 14.7%. The board voted to accept a lower rate than the compensating rate this year by accepting the 2016 real property tax rate of 14.7 for both real and personal property for fiscal year 2017-18. This lowers both rates this year for the library.

The Court then had a discussion with the County Attorney, Clerk and Sheriff about the $36 million reduction of assessments in the County this year and how that would impact the budget which has already been approved for next fiscal year. "

"The problem is these oil and gas companies have drilled these multi-million dollar wells but the price of gas and oil is down right now and they are waiting for the prices to go back up before they export any of the gas," Sheriff Garrett Roberts, who is responsible for collecting taxes in the county, said. Oil and gas reserves are not taxed until they get in the pipeline.

Chris Jobe at yesterday's court meeting said the problem Lawrence Co. is having is because of the drop in assessments for oil and gas.Chris Jobe at yesterday's court meeting said the problem Lawrence Co. is having is because of the drop in assessments for oil and gas."In fact, said County Clerk Jobe, "our county assessments were up by $5 million this year but it wasn't nearly enough to make up for the loss in mineral and gas taxes."

The court set the County tax rate at 16.8% (compensating rate) which is slightly higher than last year's (15.10) but not as high as 2014 (See charts below). Motion made by John J. Lemaster, second by Rick Blackburn. Vote was 3 to 1 with Morris Howard voting against the motion.

The compensating rate is the rate, when applied to the current year's property assessment, excluding new property, produces an amount of revenue equal to that produced in the preceding year. In other words, the compensating rate should bring in approximately the same amount of money as last year.

District 1 Magistrate Morris Howard was exasperated at the way county property taxes for the various taxing districts are handled at yesterday's Lawrence Fiscal Court meeting.District 1 Magistrate Morris Howard was exasperated at the way county property taxes for the various taxing districts are handled at yesterday's Lawrence Fiscal Court meeting.

 

"I just can't see raising taxes when we have not even looked at the county government and discussed ideas to reduce the things we spend money on," Howard, who has voted 'no' on every tax increase brought before the court in his two terms as District 1 magistrate, said. 

The Court then acknowledged receipt of all the Special Districts Tax Rates.

County Attorney Mike Hogan said the average taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 will pay an additional $90.20 this year.

Howard again lamented the fact that the county's seven taxing districts set their own rates and the fiscal court has no sayso over what they do. Chris Jobe then explained that the wording on the taxing districts report to the court will now read "received" instead of "accepted' as it has been in the past because the fiscal court has no control over the decisions of the school board, the Library board, the health dept, the Extension service or the special fire district or any other of the taxing districts.       


*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by Rick Blackburn to authorize PVA not to print any tax bill less than $10.00

*  Bids were awarded to E and E Construction for bridgework at Hickman Fork for $52,725 and for Wilber Rd for $63,000.

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by Earl Boggs to approve Employee Health Insurance - Blue Cross and Blue Shield

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by Earl Boggs to authorize Clerk to Advertise for Surplus Property

*  Motion by Rick Blackburn, second by John Lemaster to approve the Agreement and Resolution for 80/20 Bridge Agreement between Law. Co. Fiscal Court and Rural Secondary program. Any amount over $97,044 will be the responsibility of the county.

*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by John Lemaster to accept Sheriff's 2016 Tax Settlement, Gas and Oil Settlement

*  Motion by John Lemaster, second by Rick Blackburn to approve payment in the amount of $1,500 to Sherry Burchett for Sheriff settlement

*  Motion by John Lemaster, second by Rick Blackburn to approve to oversee funds from AML grant ( if awarded) for New Energy Resources for Yatesville Lake Development Project.


*  Motion by Earl Boggs, second by John Lemaster to approve MOA with EKCEP regarding the use of 2 rooms at the Community Center donated as in-kind contribution for Lawrence Co. Teleworks Hub for 1 year. The company will have two rotating employees at the Community Center that will attempt to hire 20 or more people for companies in the program, Economic Development Coordinator Catrina Vargo said.


* Motion by Earl Boggs, second by John Lemaster to approve Resolution adopting Law. Co. Solid Waste Management Plan 2018-2022.


*  Judge Osborne signed a Proclamation Proclaiming the Week of September 24th - 30th as NATIONAL EMPLOY THE OLDER WORKER WEEK

Mike Hogan at Sept 2017 fiscal court meeting explained to the court members about the compensating tax rate.Mike Hogan at Sept 2017 fiscal court meeting explained to the court members about the compensating tax rate.*  County Attorney Mike Hogan then asked that his memorandum and opinion of law become part of the record and be published concerning the ongoing problem of future Kentucky Public Pension Funds

The meeting was then adjourned.

 At the request of the magistrates and the judge/exec. here is the recent history of property tax rates in Lawrence County. It does not include the assessments for each year, however.
 
2017 tax rates2017 tax rates
2016 tax rates2016 tax rates
2015 tax rates2015 tax rates
2014 tax rates2014 tax rates
 District 4 magistrate Rick Blackburn made the second after John J. Lemaster's motion to accept the compensating tax rate for the 2017 year. District 4 magistrate Rick Blackburn made the second after John J. Lemaster's motion to accept the compensating tax rate for the 2017 year.
 
 

SEPT. 20, 2017

LOUISA, KY. -- After U.S. District judge Henry Wilhoit, Jr. issued a summary judgement in favor of the defendants in the Billy Collins, Jr. wrongful death lawsuit last Friday it seemed that the controversial case was finally over.

Members of the Louisa Police Department, Chief Greg Fugitt, Stephen Wilburn and the county sheriff and a deputy were sued in federal court after Collins, 56, died during an attempted arrest on May 29, 2015 which family members said was brutal and caused the death of Collins.

Autopsy reports from the state medical examiner's office said his death was a 'homicide' although there are several definitions of homicide besides murder.

No criminal charges were filed in Collins' death After a Lawrence grand jury issued 'no true bill' because of lack of evidence. 

Wilhoit ruled there was no proof Billy Collins, jr. had mental problems.Billy CollinsWilhoit ruled there was no proof Billy Collins, jr. had mental problems.Billy CollinsWilhoit sided with the police in the lawsuit and said a "wrinkle in the law" caused him to issue his judgement which was given with prejudice meaning an appeal of his decision was available.

Wilhoit signed the deal made by attorneys for the PLAINTIFF, Michael Curtis, Esq. and the DEFENDANTS Chris J. Gadansky, Esq., and Jonathan C. Shaw, Esq., of the law firm Porter, Banks, Baldwin & Shaw, in Paintsville. The agreement was reached in a telephone consultation with both council involved but not with the city's attorneys.

Lawrence County Attorney Mike Hogan said yesterday that the lawsuit against Lawrence county and sheriff Garrett Roberts and deputy Mack Wilhite has been resolved and there will be no appeal of their case in exchange for a settlement of less than $100,000 (Hogan would not reveal the exact amount of the settlement) and the plaintiff's agreement not to file an appeal. 

"The settlement was substantially less than $100K and less than projected attorney fees for the appeal," Hogan said. "The County was out nothing, all covered by our insurer."

Louisa City Police Officers Stephen Wilburn, Jordan Miller, Chief Greg Fugitt, the city of Louisa and the Louisa Police Dept.'s insurance carrier did not come to an agreement on a settlement and Hogan said there is an appeal in the works of Wilhoit's summary judgement in the city's part of the case.

But Eldred "Bud" Adams, an attorney who represents the city of Louisa on a regular basis, said he is pleased with the ruling and did not mention an appeal by the plaintiffs.

"Naturally we are very pleased and feel that Judge Wilhoit reached the correct decision based on the law and facts," Adams said in a statement for The Lazer.

Michael Curtis, the plaintiff's attorney in the case, did not answer requests for comment this week.