By Al Owens
This month's regular session of the Lewis County Fiscal Court began nearly an hour late due the delayed arrival of Second District Magistrate Todd Ruckel. Third District Magistrate Keith Chapman missed the meeting due to health problems. He was scheduled for heart surgery on Friday, April 15.
The court moved to adopt Deerview Lane into the county road system after Road Foreman Dane Howard reported that the street exceeded the county's requirements. He said that the road is black topped and in excellent condition.
Last month the court tabled approval of a bid by E&E Construction, Vanceburg, on the Holly Road project because the bid did not include the total cost of the work. Howard told the court the total at $5.00 per linear foot for the piling would come to minimum of $12,000 and would not exceed $18,000 and is well within the project’s budget. He said that the local crew is doing most of the work in house. With that information at hand the court approved the bid by E&E Construction.
A request by Phil Kennedy, superintendent of the Vanceburg Electric Plant Board for $400,000 available to the county through the state’s bond funds for water and sewer projects was tabled again this month until all the requests from other local entities could be heard. The funds available to the county through the program total $500,000.
Rick Hilterbrandt, General Manager and Chris Stewart, HMB Engineer from the Western-Lewis-Rectorville Water and Gas District appeared before the court to also request some funding for their current project from the same source of revenue.
Hilterbrandt said that the project would serve over 212 households and would include 35 miles of water line. He informed the court that the construction plan is 50 percent complete, and about 75 percent of the easements have been obtained. He stated that if the district has to borrow a lot of money to complete the project then the customers would see a rate increase to pay for the project.
John Thomas, Chairman and Bob Applegate, Commissioner also attended the meeting.
Tony Hunt, Manager of Lewis County Sanitation District One, also appealed for funds to help get a sewer project finished that would serve the Tollesboro Industrial Park, Pine Valley and Ribolt. He said they were looking at about $12,000 per customer to serve the area.
Hunt pointed out that Pine Valley would have about 35 customers and Ribolt 56.
Joe Harp from Harp Enterprises and Charles Hall representing the Board of Elections explained the changes coming in the election process in Lewis County.
Harp Enterprises provides the voting equipment for the county.
Harp informed the court that new election laws mandate providing accessibility to voting machines for voters with disabilities to vote without assistance. They can still request help if they wish.
The current equipment is satisfactory but needs to be upgraded to comply with the law. The upgrade will be totally funded by federal and state funds.
Hall told the court that only two of the 14 precincts in Lewis County meet the regulations for accessibility to voting sites. That means that some precincts will have to either be totally renovated or voting locations changed. Some of the precinct voting sites can be altered with minor adjustments but some are old and may have to be relocated. Final decisions have not yet been made regarding these changes.
Hall said that the Board of Elections is open to suggestions.
The court approved the annual agreement with the Montgomery County Regional Jail Adult Detention Center. The agreement permits Lewis County to transfer inmates to Montgomery County if the local facility should become overcrowded. The agreement is renewed every year even though the Detention Center has never had to take advantage of the arrangement.
The 2005-06 Lewis County Fiscal Court Annual Budget was presented to the court. No action was necessary but the clerk noted in the minutes that the budget has been presented as required.
The court also approved the 2005-06 County Road Aid Cooperative Contract. This is the program that is providing the funds for the Holly Road Project.
The court approved reimbursing Jailer Tim Underwood for a $500 reward he paid for the capture of an inmate that recently walked off a work detail. Underwood requested that such a reward be made a policy of the Detention Center but that request was not granted at this session. Magistrate Milt Stanfield said that he did not think a reward would be necessary, because once an inmate escaped it became a matter for law enforcement to handle. County Judge Executive Steve Applegate agreed.
Underwood still appealed for the policy change. He said that the state pays the Detention Center $836 per month for housing state inmates, and when they escaped that money would be lost.
The inmate referred to was captured within two hours after the announcement that a $500 reward would be paid for information leading to the apprehension of the escapee.
Lewis County Treasurer Kathy Dillow reported that the total of all county funds comes to $3,592,826.50. Disbursements totaled $2,998,428.62 leaving an unencumbered cash balance of $594,397.88. The report was approved.
The court also approved all the claims and transfers for the General, Road and Bridge and Jail Accounts.
Before adjourning Judge Applegate announced that the cleanup week was a tremendous success. He said that a total of 279.32 tons of old appliances and junk plus 18,150 old tires were disposed of. The estimated cost came to $47,324.30. Applegate said that some of that was paid by the state, some by Buffalo Trace and some by the county. He noted that the Lewis County Solid Waste Department made 61 pickups for the disabled and senior citizens throughout the area.
He also announced that the next regular session of the Lewis County Fiscal Court is scheduled for Monday, May 9, at 9:30
a.m. in the third floor courtroom of the courthouse.
The meetings are open to the public