By Al Owens
Meeting in regular session last week the Lewis County Fiscal Court viewed a power point presentation given on behalf of the Eastern Kentucky ATV Association.
Morgan County Judge Executive Tim Conley and Tony Patrick, President of the ATV Association attended the meeting. Patrick gave the presentation.
Patrick told the court that currently the Skyward Trails in Kentucky has 130 members from 16 counties. He explained that before Lewis County could join the association and participate in the move toward agri-tourism a neighboring county must already belong to the organization.
Patrick said that 20 to 30 Lewis County residents are already members of Skyward Trails.
He informed the court that the Hatfield-McCoy ATV project in West Virginia last year brought in $15 million of additional revenue to a financially depressed area.
Patrick said that joining the association has several potential rewards for the county. He listed increased revenue for local residents and businesses, the removal of liability by the property owners, the creation of new jobs, protection of the environment and increased safety for the riders as desired benefits.
Patrick used the phrase "thar's gold in them thar hills" to point out the richest of the Commonwealth. He said in the past gold in Kentucky was found in the form of lumber, coal and tobacco. He emphasized that today the gold is "the natural beauty of our mountains".
Patrick told the court that people from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and some other states want to come to our state to ride their ATVs and their horses.
He explained that the Kentucky Mountain Trails Development Coalition now involves 12 counties.
He listed the coalition's goals as follows: 1) To develop a multi-use trail system throughout Eastern Kentucky to promote tourism 2) To tie the Skyward Trails System into the Hatfield-McCoy System in West Virginia 3) And to link the Kentucky and West Virginia systems to the Virginia system.
Patrick said as far as potential jobs Lewis County can provide food, parking for large trailers, shuttle services and transportation services for folk who would enter the trail in Lewis County and ride their ATVs through three states to the end of the trail system and have their trailers and vehicles waiting at the end of the line. In addition to that the vehicles and trailers need to be serviced and maintained and that would mean employment for some.
Patrick continued by saying that Lewis County would have certain goals to meet and listed those goals: 1) To identify ATV and horse trails in the county 2) To identify possible ways to connect the trails together and begin mapping those trails 3) To establish 80 to 100 miles of interconnected trails within the county 4) To identify possible trail head locations, and 5) To encourage our state legislators to help. The prime objective he said was to provide connectivity from the Carter County line through Lewis County to the ATV Super Highway and to provide connection from individual trails to that Super Highway.
Patrick also warned of potential problems in making all these connections. 1) crossing rivers and streams 2) crossing main highways 3) running on blacktop 4) avoiding moderate or extreme areas 5) identifying water shed problems 6) convincing property owners that the trail system is good for them 7) locating trail heads where they are easily accessible and that provide adequate parking, and 8) avoiding Corps of Engineer land and national forests.
He concluded his presentation by asserting that the ATV project would be an economic boon to all of Eastern Kentucky.
Conley addressed the court and voiced enthusiasm for his county's
participation in the project and said he hopes that Lewis County will get
involved. He told the court that he expected no action on the matter at the
meeting but asked that the court consider taking part in the effort in the near
In other business the court approved the recommendation of Road Supervisor
Dane Howard to relocate Fuller Branch Road and then moved to advertise that
The court approved the appointment of Greta May as the Lewis County Financial Officer. County Treasurer Kathy Dillow said that May, who is the secretary in the County Judge’s office, is already doing the work and doing it well and that obtaining the new title really would not change anything. That state recommends that each county have a Financial Officer.
Kevin Cornette from the Buffalo Trace Area Development District gave the court an update on the work of re-addressing the county in order to move to Enhanced 911. He said that every appropriate structure in the county has a new address but the workers are having some difficulty in matching the new addresses with the old addresses, and the job is taking a little longer than estimated.
Cornette asked the court for a physical contract extension to complete the work. The extension would run through August, 2006.
He informed the court that Homeland Security Funds totaling $287,000 for the equipment for Enhanced 911 has been awarded to Lewis County and requested that the court approve an interlocal agreement so those funds can be transferred from the BTADD to Lewis County with the county receiving ownership of the new equipment.
The court complied and approved both the contract extension and the interlocal agreement with Buffalo Trace.
The court received one speculative bid of $36,970 from E&E Construction for the reconstruction of the Bear Branch Bridge. That means the bridge work will only be done if the state grants the county the funds for the project.
No bids were received on the purchase of a used lowboy trailer.
The court tabled approval of the annual budgets for the Garrison-Quincy Water District, the Western Lewis-Rectorville Water and Gas District and the Black Oak VFD Taxing District. The budgets did not balance, and the court had some questions about its responsibilities regarding the approval of unbalanced budgets. County Attorney Clayton "Buddy" Lykins Jr. will research the matter before next month’s session. Judge Steve Applegate said that a special session of the court could be called if necessary to approve those budgets before any deadline.
The court adopted a resolution to accept title, ownership, maintenance and operations of reconstructed County Road 1349 (Manley Road-Old KY 10) from mile marker 2.75 extending easterly to the bridge over Little Salt Lick, a distance of 1690 feet. The small portion of property was donated to the county by the state.
The court approved the appointment of Luke Bentley Jr. to the Garrison Water Board Commission. The term is for two years and expires December 31, 2007.
The court approved the Lewis County Clerk's 2006 annual budget. The budget is practically the same as last year's.
The court also approved the Lewis County Sheriff’s 2006 annual budget. It totals an estimated $369,281. Sheriff Bill Lewis explained that the only difference from last year’s budget was the salary for one new deputy. That deputy was added to the department last September and the court had approved his salary for the remainder of the current fiscal year. It now becomes part of next year's budget.
The court also approved a $200 annual donation to the Christmas Cops program as requested by Vanceburg Police Chief Joe Billman.
Before adjourning the court approved the treasurer's report and all the claims and transfers for the General, Road and Bridge and Jail Fund accounts.
County Judge Executive Steve Applegate announced that the next regular session of the fiscal court will be held on Monday, January 9, 2006 at 9:30 a.m., in the third floor courtroom of the Lewis County Courthouse.