March 17, 2015
County to begin collecting fees on monuments at cemeteries
LOUISA, Ky. — Meeting on the Ides of March yesterday, members of the Lawrence County Fiscal Court were not all wearing green but on a couple of issues they were seeing red.
Circuit Clerk Jodi Webb Parsley attended the meeting to explain the process of collecting fines and court costs to the court after Judge/Executive John Osborne asked at last month’s meeting about ways to save some money on jail costs.
County Attorney Mike Hogan mentioned at that time that he felt like the county may be missing out on some monies it was owed because of the collection system used for court costs and fees.
Parsley brought official documents to explain to the court how the fines and fees are handled by her office.
“We have to have an order from the judge before we can collect any fees or fines and in the past we have been collecting without one in some cases,” she said. “I just discovered it this week while getting ready for this presentation that without a specific order from the judge clerk’s do not have to collect monies for fines from individuals.”
Hogan said he will try to correct that situation by asking the district judges to implement a blanket order that covers all cases when it comes to collecting what is owed to the county.
Parsley said she has been collecting those monies, over $6,000 last year, and sending it to the state. “The state sends us a summary each year of how much we have sent them, but that’s about all,” Parsley said. She said there was no individual record for each fine or fee except the handwritten one she keeps in her office and it is not included in the state report.
The county has been running thousands of dollars in the red on jail costs for nearly a decade, much of which can be blamed on state laws that require medical attention for inmates, Hogan has said. But he also said the county needs to keep up with the fines and make sure they are paid since the state apparently does not do it.
Parsley said the county’s fines and fees (usually $20 for the county’s part) go to Treasurer Sabrina Cantrell’s office but there is no action taken when fines are not paid on time or at all. The number of fines and other records are also sent to the state Administative Office of the Courts.
“We’re not a collection agency and all we can do is what the circuit and district court orders us to do, so as soon as there is a system for us to go by, we will do it,” Parsley added.
Another interesting discussion came near the end of the meeting when Yellow Creek resident Maddie Howard asked Osborne if the county can begin doing routine maintenance on the Yellow Creek road in addition to the emergency $200,000 slip removal that Osborne said will begin today (Wednesday). “Fixing the slip has already been approved by the state and we will be on it this week,” Osborne said. “But we have to do maintenance on all the other roads in the county, too.”
Ms. Howard told the court that her area had not been kept up and there are several places that cannot be reached by car because of the slippage and other problems.
Newly elected District 4 magistrate Rick Blackburn, who lives in that area and drives a school bus there agreed. “We have some very serious places and I can’t run the bus route the way we used to because of the road conditions,” Blackburn said. Osborne said the county has done extensive work at Yellow Creek in recent months and more is planned. He did say there are 400 miles of other county roads that are almost impassable, too.
Then Hogan took the floor “as a taxpaying citizen and not your county attorney” to ask the court to blacktop a near half mile of road from Ky 644 near TRMC past the Catholic Church and down main Meadowbrook to Preece Avenue.
But District 1 magistrate Morris Howard took exception to Hogan’s request saying there are roads all over the county that are actually impassable because of the recent winter and because of lack of maintenance in recent years.
“The people out in the county need to be served by this court,” Howard said. “The city has a government and they should take care of the city streets.” Hogan shot back that the people of Louisa also pay county tax, perhaps even more than rural residents and they deserve to have their streets fixed, too.
No action was taken by the court but Louisa mayor Harold Slone said the section of highway Hogan mentioned is at the top of the list for blacktop in the near future as temperatutres rise and the blacktop season come in.
Economic Development Coordinator Catrina Vargo reported on her activities for the month which included work on getting funding for a portion of the Browns Food Service Building previously used as a carpet mill and rubber products manufacturing center. She said the 87,000 sq. ft. space is ideal for a small factory that would employ as many as 100 workers if it can be repaired. She also said she is applying for a grant to pay the estimated $230,000 it will take to fix the building up.
“We have to show that we are committed to the project and even if we don’t get this grant, we will move forward and find funding someplace else,” Vargo said.
She also reported meeting with the county’s representative on the East Park Industrial Board, David Michael who said Boyd County has not been sharing the taxes they collect for each county’s part of the project, funded through FIVCO. She said Co. Attorney Mike Hogan was present at the meeting.
Hogan said he will contact the park’s. tax administrator, Carol Vincent of Greenup County and the Boyd County Sheriff’s dept. to check on the tax collection from the park. Lawrence County has not been paid anything for its part of the deal. The county is supposed to get a certain percentage of jobs for its residents form industries at the park but has not been getting those, either.
Vargo also mentioned a project the county and city are working on that will provide murals on buildings along the riverbank where a River Walk is also in the distant planning stages.
In other court action:
- Approved minutes of the February 24, 2014Meeting
- Approved 2nd Reading of Budget Amendment #4
- Approved Treasurer’s Request
- Approved Bills
- Approved Treasurer’s Report
- Approved the Jail Fund Budget FY15-16
- Accepted Clerk’s 2014 Financial Report pending audit – (Clerk)
- Accepted Clerk’s Excess Fees. Clerk Chris Jobe said his excess fees were $46,444.88 for this year up about $11,000 from last year.
- Approved Clerk’s Request to Raise Election Poll Worker’s from $100 to $125. Magistrate Rick Blackburn made the motion and John J. Lemaster the second to grant the increase which passed 4-0. Jobe said he had surveyed the surrounding counties and Lawrence County was amoung the lowest in pay for the officers. The raise will not take effect until the November election, Jobe said.
- Accepted Bids on Pinehill Cemetery Maintenance. The low bidder on maintenance at Pinehill Cemetery was Rick Kelly Lawn Service at $1,275 per mo. or $425 week. John J. Lemaster made the motion to accept the low bid and Earl Boggs the second. The vote was unanimous.
- Approved Closure of a Portion of West Clayton Lane near there the late Richard and Alma Gussler lived. The parcel is less than an acre and Jim Booth’s R&J Enterprises plans to develop the area in the near future, Osborne said. He said per state law, he appointed Denver Chaffin and Jim Wilkenson who visited the site and approved of the move.
- Approved Paying $2,950 for Fire Hydrant at Blaine Fire Dept. at its new location. The old fire house burned down last year.
- Approved a store at LC Park beside the Putt Putt Golf Course with a rent charge of $100 per month for an unnamed person to run the store. Osborne said the small building will be large enough to sell soft drinks and candy as well as other food and camping supplies and the unnamed person will also run the new Putt Putt Golf Course the county will put in place at the location. osborne also suggested, and the court agreed that the store will be seasonal open from April 1 to Nov. 1 each year.
- Declared Surplus Property. Hogan rememinded the court that if any of the property included computers, state law requires they not be sold but disposed of in a proper mannner. Jobe said he will dispose of any such item the same way he does it for his office.
- Discuss Pinehill Cemetery Monument Fee. Lemaster is the chairman of the Cemetery Boards committee and he recommended that a $50 fee for flat gravestones and $100 for above ground stones be imposed by the county. “Most of the other counties aroung here are much more and this one time fee will help us balance the cost a little,” Lemaster said.
- Approved Yellow Creek Emergency Slip Repair at a cost of more than $200,000 which will be paid from state funds.
- Morris Howard motioned and John J. Lemaster made the second to approve the repairs on Little Cat Road which have already been approved by the state.