• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Jailer discusses staffing problems

Woodford County Jailer Michele Rankin presented her quarterly report to fiscal court Tuesday, noting the detention center is over capacity, but brought in $198,207 in revenue for state and federal inmates. She also told the court that she is short three full-time deputies (21 remain) and six part-time employees. "We're having a really hard time trying to hire people right now," Rankin said, later adding that some of those who left did so for jobs at fast-food restaurants. The starting pay for part-time jail employees is $10.10 an hour; full-time workers get a dollar more. She also told the court the heroin epidemic is having a major impact on the jail. "We are having a lot of inmates in the hospital. We had one inmate who, by the time we're done June 30, will have been in the hospital for over two months," Rankin said. Hospitalized inmates must be accompanied by a detention officer, which Rankin said forced her to institute 12-hour shifts on Monday for jail employees. "My employees are going to be pretty exhausted. That might be why they're walking out, but I hope not," she said. Magistrate C.L. Watts (Dist. 2) asked Rankin how long the jail could function like that. "We don't have any choice. We'll just have to keep on going," Rankin replied. Rankin said she was exploring other options for guarding inmates at hospitals, ranging from the private security firm Wackenhut to bringing back former jail employees who work for the Department of Corrections on a part-time basis. "If anybody needs a job, we're hiring," Rankin said with a smile. First budget reading The first reading of the fiscal year 2017 budget, which takes effect July 1, was held. The spending summary includes: . General fund: $10,533,348.91; . Road: $1,947,221.98; . Jail: $2,185,206.78; . Local Government Economic Assistance: $310,995.16; . State grants: $102,166.64; . Federal grants: $556,795; . Disaster Emergency Services: $103,214.78; . Debt service: $484,176.28; . All funds: $16,223,125.33. Fire district budget The court unanimously approved the proposed fiscal 2017 budget of the Woodford County Fire Protection District. It includes revenue of $715,250, $687,000 of which is tax revenue; personnel expenditures of $644,500; operating expenses of $252,000 and $318,750 in capital outlays. Hazardous waste grant Recycling Director Sherry McDaniel told the court that the state's Household Hazardous Waste Grant program has been renewed for the fourth consecutive year to the tune of up to $48,000. The 75-25 matching grant means if all the state funds are used, the county's share would be $16,000. A tentative date of Sept. 20 has been set for residents to drop off materials like paint and chemicals. McDaniel also said she'd received an email Monday notifying her that $4,000 in state funds would be available for tire disposal. Flood buy-out update Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler told the court that five of six homeowners in areas suffering "severe repetitive loss" due to flooding have renewed voluntary participation agreements. The homes are in the Shore Acres, Clifton and Buck Run Road areas. The federal government has pledged $816,000 to buy the properties, and will also reimburse the county for up to $3,000 for an independent appraisal needed to determine fair market value. Chandler said he'd reached out to local appraisers and recommended the court accept a low bid of $1,675 by Perry Real Estate Appraising, which the court unanimously approved. Appointments Judge-Executive John Coyle announced the re-appointment of Versailles City Council Member Ken Kerkhoff to the Woodford County Tourism Commission for a four-year term. His nomination of John Wayne Simpson to the Woodford County Fire Protection Board for a four-year term received a unanimous vote.

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