By Al Owens
Meeting in a recessed session last Monday the Lewis County Fiscal Court left the issue of county insurance hanging in the air.
The court moved to give County Judge Executive Steve Applegate authority to purchase workers compensation insurance if the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) fails to renew the current workers comp package on July 1. A letter from the company informed the court this month that they will not renew the contract unless the county buys both kinds of insurance from KACo.
In previous years the court obtained property and liability insurance from St. Paul Insurance represented by Ron LeMaster and the workers compensation insurance from KACo. According to KACo representative Sue Porter over a year ago KACo initiated a policy requiring counties to buy both property and liability and the workers comp from them or the counties could not receive the workers comp package by itself.
Following the meeting, Applegate clarified that had magistrates not given him the authority to secure Workers Compensation Insurance with a carrier other than KACo, he would have no choice but to lay off all the county workers after July 1 until coverage could be secured.
The court approved a Chip/Seal list of roads to be advertised for bids.
The court also moved to make a $2,500 contribution to the River Valley Agritourism Alliance.
Third District Magistrate Milt Stanfield voted for the contribution but made the point afterwards that some folk in his district are dissatisfied that the county often makes contributions to such worthy causes with money that could possibly be used to repair the roads in the county.
The Agritourism Alliance promotes agricultural events and products in the five-county Buffalo Trace Area Development District to help farmers increase their income by providing markets for their crops and produce.
The court approved an amendment to the Lewis County Clerk’s annual budget because the revenues received exceeded the amount budgeted.
County Clerk Shirley Hinton appeared before the court accompanied by members of the Lewis County Board of Elections to review the changes coming up in the voting precincts.
Federal law now mandates that all voting sites must be accessible to
handicapped and disabled voters so they can vote without assistance.
Every precinct must meet certain requirements and some in the county do
not. That will necessitate changing some precinct locations and upgrading
Hinton said that in District Two precincts one, two and three will vote at Central Elementary. The location at Black Oak will remain the same but will have to be updated with a ramp and parking strips.
In District Three voting sites will be in the activity room of the Quincy Church of Christ, at Laurel School, and at the Garrison Fire Department with no changes being made since these places meet the requirements. However, Firebrick’s location will have to be updated and a location must be found in Tannery. The fellowship hall at Bivens Chapel is being considered for a voting site but the church has not yet been consulted.
In District One the Tollesboro Fire Department passed inspection but
Burtonville did not and it has no voting site. It may be moved to the Tollesboro
location. The Trinity Wildlife site will need some upgrading including some
Petersivlle needs an entire new building twice the size of the current
structure used for voting.
Hinton said that all 120 counties in the Commonwealth are going through the same process because of the new federal law. The county, however, has to pay for all the improvements.
Sheriff Bill Lewis told the court that a new device like a laptop is being added to each voting booth so the folk in wheelchairs can vote without assistance but said that the state is funding that project.
Hinton told the court that the county must be in compliance with the new regulations by Jan. 1, 2006.
She explained that in 1961 the county had 29 precincts. Then the voting booths were added in 1962 and that number was reduced to 13. Currently the county has 14 voting precincts.
Hinton advised the court that the next Primary Election will be held on May 16, 2006. According to another new law the local schools will close on primary voting day.
Due to a conflict of interest involving two newly appointed members of the Lewis County Planning Commission all the appointments made earlier in the month during the regular session were rescinded.
County Treasurer Kathy Dillow told the court that the Portsmouth Ambulance Service has received a grant of almost $16,000 but has not contacted her to acquire the funds. The grant was to pass through the court to the Ambulance Service, and the court moved to make that payment. Judge Applegate said that he would inform the Ambulance Service about the matter.
The court also approved a transfer of $10,800 from the General Fund to the Road Fund so the books would balance at the end of this fiscal year.
The court adjourned until the next regular session that will be held on Monday, July 11 at 9:30 AM in the third floor courtroom of the Lewis County Courthouse.