By Paula Franke
Lewis County Fiscal Court heard a presentation from Richard Nelson, policy analyst with Family Foundation of Kentucky, when the court met Monday morning.
Nelson told magistrates that his organization assists counties in bolstering their public decency laws in connection with controlling sexually-oriented adult businesses. For those counties lacking existing laws, such as Lewis County, his organization can help in developing an appropriate ordinance.
Even though this has not been a problem, Nelson explained that his organization urges counties to be pro-active in addressing the issue before it becomes a problem.
He pointed out that these businesses cannot be banned outright, but properly drafted ordinances can provide local control over their operation.
Nelson further noted that as more and more surrounding counties adopt these ordinances, Lewis County lacking any ordinance will become for attractive to these kinds of businesses due to the existence of the AA Highway.
The court was in general agreement to study the issue.
In connection with unfinished business from previous fiscal court meetings, magistrates had a lengthy discussion concerning how to allocate the $500,000 available to Lewis County from the state's bond funds for water and sewer projects.
Phil Kennedy, superintendent of the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg was on hand to press his request for $400,000 for a project currently in the works.
He said that the state did not fund the project this year, and he could not borrow the necessary funds from Rural Development without having $500,000 up front. He already has $170,000 for that purpose but asked for $400,000 of the $500,000 in order to apply for the loan needed to complete the job. Without it the utility company will have to wait another year to actually begin the work.
Magistrate Milt Stanfield said it didn't seem fair to him that a single project should get the largest part of the funds. He noted that a project in Garrison had requested $100,000 to continue extending water lines in that part of the county, and Western Lewis-Rectorville had also requested funds for a major project.
Magistrate Keith Chapman noted that there were three entities seeking a total of $800,000, but there's only $500,000 to go around.
"Everyone needs to put their cards on the table," he said. "If a 'fair' split keeps projects from completion [as a result of not enough money to go forward with a project], it's not really 'fair'."
Magistrate Todd Ruckel's opinion was that the best way would be "to allocate the funds to projects we know will go forward."
"It's the duty of the fiscal court to allocate funds in a way that projects will start," said Judge Executive Steve Applegate, "rather than divide the funds in such a way that there's not enough for anyone to start a project.
Stanfield made a motion to table the issue, noting that representatives from Western Lewis-Rectorville were not in attendance to defend their project. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Ruckel then made a motion to allocate $300,000 to the Electric Plant Board of the City of Vanceburg, and $100,000 each to the Garrison and Western-Lewis-Rectorville projects.
"I don't think it's fair to the people of Western Lewis Rectorville, but I'll go along with it," Stanfield said.
"It may not sound fair," Applegate said, "but we have to do what's fair for the county."
The motion passed.
Amy Kennedy, from Buffalo Trace Area Development District, gave an update on the Lewis County Health Department Project.
She said $250,000 has been received from Rural Development and they are waiting on an additional $250,000 from ARC. The delay in the ARC funds is due to waiting for the new ARC commissioner to sign off on it.
In regards to the $1 million CDBG funds, Kennedy presented seven documents requiring fiscal court approval. County Attorney Clayton "Buddy" Lykins Jr. informed members of the court that the documents appeared to be in order. They were approved.
Crystal Gilliam from Adelphia Cable appeared and pointed out that the company's franchise agreement for the Tollesboro area will expire soon. She provided a copy of a proposed 10-year agreement.
Following some discussion regarding franchise fees, new state tax implications, length of franchise agreements and other issues, the court decided to table the matter until the June meeting.
In other business, the court approved:
*the first reading of the annual 2005-06 annual budget.
*the 2005-06 Lewis County Conservation District budget.
*a contract with the Rowan County Detention Facility.
*a resolution to approve the Lewis County Health Department tax rates.
*participation in the KACo Advance Revenue Program.
*a memorandum of agreement between the Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Election and Lewis County regarding upgrading the county's voting equipment.
*the appointment of John Blevins to a full time position with the Lewis County Road Department.
*a request for a $500 contribution for the Vanceburg-Lewis County July Celebration fireworks.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Lewis County Fiscal Court will be Monday, June 13, at 9:30 a.m., on the third floor of the Lewis County Courthouse.