MURRAY – Calloway County Judge-Executive Kenny Imes expressed his gratitude during Wednesday’s monthly fiscal court meeting for the more than $1.2 million the county will soon receive for resurfacing projects, adding that the amount was more than 10% of the state’s total discretionary fund this year.
Imes commented on the funds prior to the court’s vote on a resolution authorizing him to sign the necessary state contracts to accept the money. Last month, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet informed the county it would be reimbursed a total of $1,244,505 to resurface portions of 16 different county roads. The projects were submitted for funding consideration from local officials, and in each case, KYTC district engineers assessed road conditions to determine the most critical needs based on factors such as safety, economic impact and traffic volumes, the release said.
Imes said he received the contract from the state on Monday afternoon. He said the work should begin in the spring.
“Before we take a motion to (pass the resolution), let me kind of explain and give credit where credit’s due,” Imes said. “This money, $1.2 million, comes out of the discretionary fund, which is technically the secretary of transportation’s fund … but Gov. (Andy) Beshear obviously has ultimate authority over that and he did approve these grants. It’s $1.2 million, and I think the thing we ought to be especially appreciative for in Calloway County is the fact that the total funding for the entire state was only $10 million. So we got over 12% of the entire funding for the entire state from the secretary’s discretionary fund.
“A lot of efforts went into doing that, and I am very – personally as judge, and I think as a court – appreciative to get that because it’s been a long time coming. It was a long process, but the Governor’s Office and Secretary of Transportation (Jim Gray) thought what we applied for was worthwhile. We were very diligent, I think, in putting a good package together that was reasonable …”
Imes said the discretionary fund – which he said is intended for projects in need of emergency funding at the transportation secretary’s discretion – is normally about $30 million a year, but it was trimmed down this year because of COVID-19 budgetary restrictions.
At the beginning of the meeting, the court voted to pass the second reading of two 2020-21 budget amendments that were approved on the first reading last month. That included $959,131.53 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds and a $295,897.30 grant from the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL).
The court also passed the first reading of three more amendments. Those included $8,000 for mineral severance, $368,704.47 in CARES Act funding and another $25,406.50 from CTCL.
In connection with the CTCL budget amendments, the court voted to accept a $295,897.30 bid from Harp Enterprises to purchase new voting machines for the county. County Clerk Antonia Faulkner said the county’s current machines are between 15-20 years old. Although they are still working well, she said the clerk’s office has been planning for the need to eventually replace them and the larger CTCL grant made that possible. The funds are required to be spent by Dec. 31, she said. Since the county’s current machines have no resale value, Harp would destroy those as part of the bid, Faulkner said.
Faulkner said the $25,406.50 CTCL grant was for additional expenses related to staging an election during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assistant County Attorney David Perlow filled in for County Attorney Bryan Ernstberger to oversee a property nuisance hearing. Solid Waste Coordinator Gidget Manning said she had been investigating a nuisance property at 596 Utterback Road to try to get the owner to clean it up. She said she had sent one letter by certified mail last year to the owner where he resides in Florida and another in February of this year. She said that as of Tuesday, it appeared that the grass had not been mowed or maintained all year, and possibly not in two or three years. She said the land contains an abandoned bus, a car, multiple tires and car parts.
The court first voted to determine the property as a nuisance. Perlow said the court could refer the case for criminal action, but since the owner lives in Florida, he would have to be extradited back to Calloway County. He said it would likely cost the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office thousands of dollars just to get the owner to court, so he would discourage that option. Another option would be to fine the owner up to $50 a day until the property is cleaned up, and if the fines piled up, the county could consider condemnation and a foreclosure action, Perlow said. He said, though, that foreclosure would also be a lengthy and expensive process for the county.
“Probably the most economical route would be if the court were to clean up the property and then take the value of what it takes to clean the property up and then put a lien on the real estate,” Perlow said.
The court voted to approve the third option.
In other business:
• The court passed a memorandum of understanding establishing a partnership between the Calloway County E911 Communication Center and Murray State University through its police department for the purpose of obtaining two 2021 Kentucky Homeland Security 911 grants. Training, Advising and Counseling (TAC) Officer Nathan Baird said that if the the two entities are successful at being awarded the two grants, they would add up to around $400,000.
• Bobbie Smith Bryant spoke about the bicentennial book project on which she is currently working at the county’s request. Any current or former county resident is encouraged to submit content, and the deadline is Sept. 1, 2021. She said she can be reached at email@example.com or 502-494-7076.
• The court approved a $10,000 bid for the sale of a 2008 Ford F-250 Emergency Management truck.
• The court approved a request by Sheriff Nicky Knight to declare a 2011 Ford F-150 surplus. Knight said the vehicle has more than 160,000 miles on it, so he wished to declare it surplus to trade it in or put on Govdeals.com so that the money it earns could be put toward the purchase of a new vehicle for the sheriff’s office.
• Imes said the $75,000 sale of the former DES Rescue Squad headquarters netted a total of $73,645 for the county. He said the real estate netted $71,250 and the personal property netted $2,395.
• Imes said last week’s waste tire collection event resulted in the collection of 35,000 tires. He said that keeps those tires out of ditches and other places they don’t belong. He said it was a tremendous success and he thanked Manning and road department personnel for their hard work.