April 18, 2006, News
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Fiscal Court donates land
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Lewis County Fiscal Court took the first step in donating a 150x150 foot parcel of land to the Tollesboro Industrial Park by having the tract of land declared as surplus property.
Lewis County Treasurer Kathy Dillow presented a tentative 2006-2007 annual budget to the court. No action was taken on the budget at this session, but the first reading will be held in the May meeting. Dillow told the court that she got the budget to the court early so the magistrates could look it over and make any necessary changes before that first reading next month. The presentation of the budget was simply noted in the minutes.
The court then moved to acknowledge receipt of the 2006-2007 annual budget for the Lewis County Conservation District.
The magistrates approved an application to Rural Development for funding to purchase one new police cruiser for the Sheriff’s Department.
The court adopted a resolution approving the lease of two Mack tandem dump trucks from World Wide Truck & Equipment Sales, Prestonsburg. The county will use the dump trucks for one year and then sell them at an auction where they should either break even or make up to $9,000 profit.
The court also adopted a resolution approving the annual application for funding for the Lewis County Cemetery Board. County Judge Executive Steve Applegate said that the funding usually comes to about $2,500 and is used to maintain neglected county cemeteries.
The court approved and acknowledged the receipt of the fiscal year 2006-2007 budget for the Lewis County Extension Board District.
The magistrates also approved the monthly treasurer’s report presented by Dillow.
First district Magistrate Milt Stanfield asked about extending the maintenance on Garrad Road an additional one quarter of a mile. Applegate initiated the regular procedure for that action by asking Road Foreman Dane Howard to make an assessment of the road and to find out who owns the property. The property owner would have to deed the right-of-way to the county.
Dillow announced that this year the county has reduced its debt by $200,066, and that by next January the road department would be debt-free.
Applegate announced the results of the county’s Cleanup Week from March 19 to 26. He said that two crews picked up debris for 132 senior citizens and disabled residents.
All told the county collected 52 tons of appliances that were recycled at Daniel’s Metals. He said that 155 tons of furniture, old building materials and other junk was hauled to the Mason County Landfill. The county also received and hauled 14,000 old tires to Porter Tires.
The estimated cost for the weekly event totals $30,458. The county received $1,187 for recycled appliances leaving the total cost to the county of $29,271.
John Teager and Mark Ginn of the Lewis County Solid Waste Department issued this note of thanks: “I would like to thank members of the Lewis County Fiscal Court for their support in the yearly cleanup event. I also want to thank Jailor Tim Underwood and his staff for their cooperation. A total of 14 Class D inmates worked extremely hard at this event. But the most thanks goes to the residents of Lewis County who took their time and effort to make this week successful. Working together we can make a difference in keeping Lewis County clean.”
Applegate then noted that this year is Lewis County’s 200th Anniversary. He told the court that a tentative schedule of events has been prepared to help showcase the county and its history. The events include a gospel sing and a motorcycle ride.
He also informed the court that the county is still on track for the construction of the new Lewis County Animal Shelter.
The court approved all the claims and transfers for the General, Road & Bridge and Jail Fund accounts.
Before adjourning Applegate announced that the next regular session of Lewis County Fiscal Court will be held on Monday, May 8 in the third floor courtroom in the courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.
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Electric Plant Board hires engineer
By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg learned that the utility company was able to successfully negotiate with Bob Brown and hire him part-time for engineering services.
Brown formerly worked for W.M. Lewis and Associates, Inc., Portsmouth, Ohio.
Brown will also help the city as engineer in the Renaissance Streetscape Program, but his salary for that work will be paid through reimbursement from the state grant the city received for that project.
Superintendent Phil Kennedy told the board that he is working on next year’s budget. He said he has a lot of it done, but it’s tough because of the fluctuating costs of oil, electricity and natural gas.
He added, “And another thing, too, with the price of gasoline and all that, and your oil, the way it’s going I’m going to have to watch this fuel adjustment every time, and it’s taken another jump because coal went up unbelievably.”
Kennedy informed the board that with the authority granted him by the board last month to hire a class 2 or 3 sewer operator he has been able to hire a class 3 operator. The new employee is Harold Middleton who has been working in Ashland.
He shared plans to landscape the Annie Applegate property with the board. The landscaping has been planned by what he humorously called his resident landscaper, board member Charles Stapleton.
Then Kennedy told the board about a new challenge the utility company faces this year. The Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Water was in Vanceburg a week ago to discuss the problem.
He said that in 1994 Congress passed the Clean Water Act. As a result of that legislation sewer systems have to be upgraded and cleaned up to reduce the amount of sewage going into the nation’s rivers and waterways.
One city not far from Vanceburg has been fined $5 million over this issue.
Kennedy said that only two types of sewers exist: sanitary sewers and combined sewers. The combined sewers form the major problem because they are designed to catch the overflow from hard rains that come through storm drains and dump that into the rivers through the sewer system. In dry weather all the sewage goes into the publicly operated treatment works (POTW) but in downpours of rain it mixes with the overflow and goes into a river, in Vanceburg’s case the Ohio River.
Kentucky has 288 combined sewer systems that have to be upgraded, and Vanceburg has six of them.
Kennedy pointed out that every thing the city has done so far has been legal and permits were obtained for all the sewer system in town, but that was all done before the Clean Water Act of 1994.
He told the board that the state is going to help small communities with the problem. It has entered an agreed order with Vanceburg to help correct the situation in ten years. Over that period of time the city is to reduce the overflow by about 70 percent.
Part of the procedure will be to run smoke tests on the sewer system. He said when those tests are run smoke will come out of manhole covers near residences, and the public may wonder what’s going on. An attempt will be made at the time to inform the public so they won’t panic and think we’re under some kind of terrorist attack.
The agreed order with the state has to be completed by December 31 of this year, and then the long process of correcting the combined sewer system problem will begin.
Kennedy encouraged each board member to start a file on this project so they can keep informed and up to date on the situation.
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Prescribed burn a success
By Jacquelyn Drake
Lewis County landowner Arthur Dummitt recently conducted a Prescribed Burn on his property with assistance from the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), the Lewis County Conservation District (LCCD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Dummitt is a participant in the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP). In 2003 established a stand of Native Warm Season Grasses (NWSG), to provide habitat for rabbit, quail, migratory song birds, turkey, deer, and other wildlife. But what makes his field special, is that during the planning process, a remnant stand of NWSGs were found. The remnant stand was left undisturbed during establishment of the contracted practice, but was included in the burn plan.
In order to complete his WHIP contract, Dummitt was required to conduct maintenance on the field. There are several options for maintaining the grasses, but the most beneficial is to burn the field off about every three years. Doing this clears off the thatch, kills out undesirable woody species, and other competition that can interfere with the effectiveness of the grass in providing habitat.
Burning however can be a difficult task, and there is a great deal of planning involved to make sure it occurs without incident. Dummitt began by obtaining an approved Burn Plan from
KDFWR. This plan was then shared with other participating agency.
Once the plan was in place, Dummitt prepared the field for the burn by establishing a 16-20 foot firebreak around the perimeter of the field to be burnt. The firebreak is established by disturbing the soil and planting a cool weather hearty plant, such as winter wheat. The purpose of the firebreak is to reduce the chances of the fire getting out of the controlled burn area.
With all precautions in place, Dummitt was able to coordinate with NRCS and KDF to determine when to conduct the burn. The Kentucky Division of Forestry was instrumental in watching weather conditions and ensuring the fire did not cross over the firebreak. The burn was conducted without problems, and was a complete success!
If you are interested in learning more about the WHIP program, please contact the NRCS office at 606-796-3831 ext. 3. The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.
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Pep rallies were held last week at Lewis
County Middle School, above, and Central Elementary, at right, to help
students get revved up for CATS testing.
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