February 26, 2015
Lawrence County Veterans groups present Fiscal Court with certificate of appreciation….Gas tax stabilization bill adopted
Louisa, KY — The Lawrence County Fiscal Court meeting was held Monday, Feb. 24, after being cancelled last Monday due to the weather. The opening prayer was said by a visiting veteran, and after the Pledge of Allegiance was said, the meeting was called to order by County Judge Executive, John Osborne.
The minutes of the January 20th meeting were approved as was the first reading Budget Amendment #4. Other general agenda items approved were the Treasurer’s Request and Report, and Bills. The 2013 UnMined Coal Settlement was approved, as was the University of Kentucky Sesquicentennial Anniversary.
The Road Fund Stabilization Resolution was the next item on the agenda, and generated a lot of conversation. It concerns the state gas tax which generates road fund money annually.
The resolution, also known as House Bill 29, calls for the stabilization of the gas tax, ensuring that the tax would not drop below its January 1, 2015 level. By doing so, the road fund money would not drop below the current level but the fuel tax could also not be raised more than $1 dollar per gallon per year.. The Lawrence County Fiscal Court unanimously voted yes to request the state to pass the Road Fund Stabilization Resolution.
The court then heard from Todd Moran, Supervisor with District 12 State Highway Dept., who read the 2015-2016 Rural and Secondary Road Presentation from the Kentucky Transportation Dept., which concerns money the county receives for roads each year from the state. Funds for the secondary road program are made available from a portion of the motor fuels tax. The sum is 22.2% of the current tax on all motor fuel sold in Kentucky.
Due to the limitation of funds, many requests cannot be accomplished. The anticipated allotment for the 2015-16 fiscal year is $1,517,026. The court accepted the presentation. Magistrate John Lemaster commended Moran and all the state road crew for working through the rough weather. “Our roads were in much better shape than other places,” he said.
The Veterans then presented the Lawrence County Fiscal Court with a certificate of appreciation. Joe Robinette said “This is for all you do in support of the veteran programs and activities, and we appreciate you.”
The January 2015 Economic Development Report was read by Coordinator, Catrina Vargo. Some of the things mentioned in the report included the extended college campus proposal which has been submitted. ACTC, MSU, EKU, and most recently, Sullivan University have expressed interest in using the annex and the Methodist Church as a satellite campus.
“We should have an answer next month” she said. Other happenings during January in the Economic Development Dept. included visiting businesses discussing possible expansion leads, working with the tourism commission getting ads ready for new tourism brochures, assisted in work ready application, assisted Lawrence County Health Dept. in acquiring a mini grant for pedestrian walkways, attended AEP’s meeting on the Kentucky Economic Advancement Program grant, for which a project will be submitted for the county.
A proclamation was approved proclaiming March as Red Cross month.
Appointments were made for the following boards: Housing Authority– Steve Wilburn, Board of Ethics–Cathi Blair and Jim Wilikenson, Cemetery Board– Mary Ellen Reid, Solid Waste Board– Neil Wilson and Fred Jones. Also the court accepted a motion to appoint two people to view closure of a portion of West Clayton Lane. Appointments will be made at a later date.
The court authorized County Clerk, Chris Jobe, to advertise bids on lawn services for Pine Hill Cemetery.
County Attorney, Mike Hogan, was asked about the issue of medical expenses of inmates at the regional jail by judge/executive John Osborne.. Hogan said “one problem is the jail requires medical clearance before they will accept anybody.” He spoke of a recent incident where a pregnant woman who was arrested and taken to jail, but had to be taken to the hospital to be cleared medically. She refused treatment and was taken back to jail where they wanted to send her to a different doctor.
Hogan said this is running up unnecessary medical bills for the county but does not know of any easy fix for the problem.
Another issue he mentioned was the collection of fines and whether or not they are being received. Payments of court fees are accrued at a rate of $28 a day, Hogan said, and for those who are not able to pay, it is $10 a day. The money is collected through the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office, but Hogan said he doesn’t know if they are all being received.
“I don’t think they even have a record there at the circuit clerk’s office on how much each prisoner pays,” Hogan said. “We ought to at least be able to keep up with what they owe and try to make them pay what they owe.”
Circuit Clerk Jodi Parsley was asked today (Thursday) if her office keeps accurate records on fines and other costs and here is how she responded”.
“Q: Is it true that you are responsible for the collections of fines and costs after being court ordered by the judge.
Response: “As the Clerk we receive the money assessed in court, any “jail fee” owed to the county is distributed to the County Treasurer on a monthly basis. Most people make partial payments to the Clerk’s office and these payment plans are set up by court order only, pursuant to KRS 24A.175. The Clerk is only responsible for receiving and distributing these monies. Our records are available for inspection upon request. As Circuit Clerk, I always have the county’s best interest in mind, as well as upholding the laws of the Commonwealth.”
County Treasurer Sabrina Cantrell was standing just outside her office next to the courtroom and she was asked by Hogan if she has ever seen any report or records of those who pay and those who don’t pay fines and costs and she said it is up to the circuit clerk to send the monies to her office and she records what she gets.”
Osborne and several of the magistrates did not seem to be pleased with the situation and agreed to have a meeting to see just how the system works nand see if they can stop the bleeding of money now apparently being lost through the court system..
Former Lawrence County Jailer Phillip Tripletts’s budget ran in the red nearly every one of the 12 years he served mostly, he said, because of the medical bills.
The meeting was adjourned. The next Lawrence County Fiscal Court meeting will be Tuesday, March 17.