• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court’s first 2016 meeting a lengthy one

Woodford Fiscal Court’s Tuesday meeting was the first of the new year, and Judge-Executive John Coyle began it by quoting Oprah Winfrey, saying 2016 offered another chance to get it right. Ninety minutes later, after several lengthy discussions, one of which was tabled for another night, Woodford County Attorney Alan George suggested that Coyle not quote Oprah Winfrey again. Nearly half an hour was spent on an agenda item that mushroomed: a motion by Magistrate Gary Finnell (Dist. 3) to end the ban on county-funded training for magistrates instituted last year. Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8) said he believed the ban on training for all county employees, a money-saving device, should be ended, too – along with the ban on educational reimbursements and overtime and compensatory time. Finnell eventually withdrew his motion, and the court began to consider Brown’s motion. Magistrate Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6) noted that he’d planned to vote against Finnell’s motion for financial reasons, and would definitely vote no against Brown’s, as it would cost the county more money. Treasurer Becky Wilson was asked if she knew how much Brown’s motion would cost. George noted that Wilson had only come prepared to discuss Finnell’s motion, and asked if Brown would consider withdrawing his motion and discuss the matter at the court’s next meeting. Brown agreed, saying he felt better about the issue. Shryocks Ferry Bridge County Road Engineer Buan Smith told the court about the bridge near the Kentucky River on Shryocks Ferry Road, which was downgraded in 2014 to a three-ton limit. Smith said an early December flood caused a portion of the crossing to wash out, and heavy rains around Christmas finished the job. Tad Moreo, one of the three area residents who use the bridge as the primary access to their homes, pointed out the bridge is also used to access the water treatment plant. Smith asked the court for $7,000 to repair the bridge. Coyle said a state 80-20 match is still available for a new bridge. “The idea would be to create concrete slabs, basically building a concrete road over the culverts, so it’s all one unit, so that the creek would actually have to move about … 40 tons of concrete in order to wash it out again,” Smith said. A motion by Magistrate C.L. Watts (Dist. 2), who represents the area, to allow Smith to spend approximately $7,000 to fix the problem passed unanimously. Problems with the Griers Creek and Weisenberger Mill bridges were also discussed. Both have three-ton limits. Hilltop Meadows Smith told the court that Hilltop Avenue and Meadow Lane, which connect and are off Duncan Road, are still known by those names on their plats. He said when the post office went from rural routes to addresses with road names, there was already a Meadow Lane in Woodford and Franklin counties. Smith said the post office changed the name of the roads to Hilltop Meadows for its purposes, but the county has referred to the roads by their original names. Smith asked magistrates for a motion officially changing the names of the roads to Hilltop Meadows, which the 911 system already recognizes. The motion passed unanimously. Later, Smith told magistrates he’d used 50 tons of salt that day to treat the roads, and asked for permission to fill the half-full salt barn with 400 tons. The cost would be about $32,000, he said. No vote was taken; last year, when the county was experiencing financial problems, department heads began notifying magistrates of such purchases during court meetings. Police rebate Versailles Police Chief James Fugate had a rare bit of uncontroversial news: He told magistrates that the department would credit the county to the tune of $65,867.06. Magistrates didn’t question the good news; earlier, Fugate told The Sun that the money saved was largely due to much lower gas prices. Reduced speed limit At the court’s Dec. 8 meeting, Brown suggested magistrates consider instituting a 35 mph speed limit on Brushy Run Road and Edgar Lane, for which speed limits were not posted. In such situations, the limit defaults to 55 mph. In December, the court decided to publicize the matter and allow citizens to speak. None did, but Brown said he’d spoken to several, none of whom opposed the change. A motion to set the limit at 35 mph on those roads passed unanimously. Clark to leave Jack Jouett House Director Janice Clark surprised the court when, after her regular presentation, she said she was planning to retire sometime this spring. Coyle said he tried to persuade Clark to stay longer, and joked that since he would only replace her with someone as qualified, she might be waiting a long time. Clark has served as paid director for three years and volunteered at the Jack Jouett House for 11 years before that. Coyle praised her work, and the court, and members of the public, applauded her. Appointments Adam Mitchell and Carol Brown received unanimous votes for appointments to the Woodford County Extension District Board.

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