MURRAY – The Calloway County Fiscal Court voted Wednesday to purchase an eight-acre plot of land on Murray’s north side for future use.
At the end of the court’s regular monthly session, the magistrates met with Judge-Executive Kenny Imes in his office for an executive session. When the court reconvened in open session, Imes moved that the court approve the purchase of approximately eight acres on U.S. 641 North near KY 80 for $400,000. The court unanimously approved the motion.
Imes said $400,000 was “at or below” the certified appraisal price, and the funds would come out of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money the county has received. Imes said the land is on the northwest corner of 641 and 80, just south of Murray Memorial Gardens.
“It’s for future county use,” Imes explained after the meeting adjourned. “There is no specific plan to do anything, but we’re going to have building needs – the animal shelter, road department, courthouse, Class D facilities (for jail inmates), the sheriff’s office, 911. It could be any of those things. We’re just putting some land together for the future needs of the county.”
In a cost savings move, the court also voted to change providers for the county’s emergency mass notification system. The county will now contract with Hyper-Reach instead of CodeRED.
Calloway County Emergency Management Director Jeff Steen said the county has used the CodeRED for several years to inform the public in cases of emergencies, and about 1,000 residents are signed up to receive the alerts. He said it has proven very useful and was utilized just last week to locate a missing child. He said the sheriff’s office also recently used it to enlist the public’s help in locating a person of interest for an investigation, and to warn the public about approaching severe weather many times. It has also been used for boil water advisories, Golden Alerts and Amber Alerts.
However, Steen said CodeRED has increased in cost and also charges the county extra for informing the public of things the company doesn’t consider emergencies. CodeRED now comes with an annual cost of $16,000, but the Hyper-Reach system will cost the county less than half that amount, Steen said. Steen said that after he started talking with the company, 911 Telecommunicator/TAC Officer Nathan Baird negotiated a price of slightly below $8,000. Steen added that he had previously tried to negotiate with CodeRED to go lower than $16,000, but the company would not agree to a lower contract price.
“Other counties have been using this service, and it is less than $10,000 a year,” Steen said. “You can use it as much as you want, so if you have something the vendor would consider a non-emergency, such as a boil water order, you don’t have to pay more for it. So this Hyper-Reach system is a better product for less money, and it’s a proven product because other counties have used it. We’re not going to be beta testing.”
Steen said Hyper-Reach has the added benefit of allowing the sheriff’s office to put out an alert immediately without having to contact and get approval from Emergency Management. He added that Baird had offered to pay for the system out of the 911 budget, so it would not be coming out of the EM fund. He said CodeRED likes to be notified a month in advance before a county cancels its service, so the county can start using Hyper-Reach next month.
Besides saving money on the switch to Hyper-Reach, Steen said he is even more excited about the new storm shelter that is being put in operation at Murray State’s Racer Arena and Cutchin Fieldhouse. He said the structure has previously withstood 101 mph winds, and there are secure areas inside where people can shelter in the event of a tornado warning.
“So the people who are out in the county and the city that live in homes that don’t offer sufficient protection would have sufficient protection,” Steen said.
The court approved the tax rates for special districts in the county. Deputy Judge-Executive Gina Winchester said that once the Calloway County School District taxes are sent in, the sheriff’s office will be able to send out bills. The rates are as follows:
• Calloway County Fire-Rescue will collect 9 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property, 9 cents for personal property, 6 cents for motor vehicles and 6 cents for watercraft. If someone owned a home worth $100,000, for example, they would pay $90 each on real and personal property and $60 each on motor vehicles and watercraft.
• The Calloway County Library will collect 5.5 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property, 6.48 cents for personal property, 3 cents for motor vehicles and 3 cents for watercraft.
• The Soil Conservation District will collect 0.5 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property.
• The Calloway County Cooperative Extension Service will collect 1.7 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property.
• The Calloway County Health Department will collect 2.8 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property, 2.8 cents on personal property, 3.1 cents for motor vehicles and 3.1 cents for watercraft.
The Clarks River Conservation District will collect 0.416 cents per $100 of assessed value for real property.
The 911 fee will be $30.
In other business:
• The court voted to advertise bids for a new accounting and payroll system for Treasurer Tonya Robinson’s office.
• The court approved the purchase of materials for the road department from Vulcan Materials Company.
• The court also voted to declare a 2016 Dodge owned by the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office as surplus. Sheriff Nicky Knight said the vehicle has some mechanical problems that would be expensive to repair, so with 117,100 miles on it, he thought it would be best for the county to declare it surplus.
• The court approved two personnel changes for the road department.