• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court discusses annex stairway problems

Woodford Fiscal Court on Tuesday spent much of a 37-minute meeting figuring out how to help keep people from falling on the steps leading from the first floor to the basement of the Courthouse Annex. Woodford Circuit Court Clerk Christie Edwards told magistrates there'd been 19 such incidents since 2013: six that year, one in 2014, 11 in 2015 and one this year. "As you enter our office, it always seems to happen at the bottom of the steps," Edwards told the court. Edwards said she'd asked the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to send someone to make suggestions to fix the problem. Edwards said those suggestions included: . Adding a center hand rail from the top to the final step; . Changing the color of the final step from orange and black to solid black; .Putting an elevator sign on the wall near the annex entrance; . Cutting the lip of the final step; .Adding a video camera to make a record of future falls. In response to a question from Magistrate Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6), Edwards said she recommended instituting all the changes. Gardiner asked if there was a cost estimate for the work. Maintenance Superintendent David Long said he'd received one bid thus far - $1,605 for the handrail. Long said a contractor told him cutting the step would be a bad idea because it would invalidate the existing UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification. "The steps that are on there are rubber-matted steps, and they have that lip going down for a reason. And if you take and cut that edge off, that's where the heavy bulk of your rubber is that holds this thing down, where your actual step is a very thin layer of rubber, and if you cut that off, it's going to allow that rubber, over time, to start to raise ." Long said. Long said the contractor told him he wouldn't do the work. "I think what people are doing is when they're coming down the stairs . as soon as you can get to where you can see out in front of you, what they're doing is looking for somebody to talk to or which window you go to ." Long said. Long said people who fell were missing the bottom step, and that he put a curtain there to "slow this down," but couldn't put a curtain low enough because tall people would rub their heads on it. Long said what he'd like to do is go out further with a curtain that would be hung on one of the rails so that people walking down the stairs couldn't see people in the clerk's office area. Considerable debate ensued, leading to a motion by Magistrate C.L. Watts (Dist. 2) to incorporate all the changes suggested by the AOC, save for cutting the lip of the bottom step. Long estimated that all the work could be done for $2,500, of which the AOC will pay 91 percent. The motion passed 7-0. (Magistrate Gary Finnell (Dist. 3) was serving as presiding officer in the place of ailing Judge-Executive John Coyle.) No federal snow dollars Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler told the court that the county would not be receiving federal disaster dollars to help pay for the two January snow events. Chandler said the county "suffered pretty substantial losses in terms of overtime, supplies and wear and tear on vehicles." The county nearly met its threshold for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, but the state fell short by $3.5 million, he said. Jack Jouett House Jack Jouett House Director Janice Clarke, who's stepping down from the position March 16, told the court that the historic marker approved by the Woodford County Heritage Commission would be installed June 18. Clarke said the Children of American Colonists was holding its annual convention in Lexington then in order to take part in the dedication. Recycling Recycling Director Sherri McDaniel asked for and received the court's approval to declare surplus a 1998 GMC Yukon.

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