• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court discusses bridge problems

In a nearly two-hour meeting Tuesday, Woodford Fiscal Court discussed two bridges closed by the state and agreed to take action on one of them. Early in the meeting, Road Engineer Buan Smith brought up the topic of Griers Creek Bridge, which was closed last week after a state inspection. After considerable debate, the court voted unanimously to allow Smith to spend $5,000 to make temporary repairs to the bridge. The work must be inspected before the bridge - the closure of which has forced mail carriers and others to make a lengthy detour - can be reopened. Smith said he hoped a state emergency grant of $80,000 will still be available for a permanent replacement, which could cost an estimated $175,000. Smith said he'd budgeted $160,000 for the bridge. Judge-Executive John Coyle said the county's emergency declaration of Griers Creek Bridge could allow a no-bid process for a quicker replacement. Near the end of the meeting, Magistrate Linda Popp told the court, "The Weisenberger Mill Bridge is a problem." She said state officials told her that the state will pay for a two-lane replacement of the historic one-lane bridge, but that Woodford and Scott counties would have to pay for needed improvements to the approaches on either side. Popp suggested a letter or resolution from the court expressing the county's feelings on the matter, noting that many people who live near the bridge don't want the two-lane replacement mandated by the state. After a lengthy discussion, the issue was tabled, with Magistrate Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6) suggesting Popp write a letter for the court to review. Budgets and audits Woodford Sheriff Wayne Wright and County Clerk Sandy Jones submitted budgets, which must be delivered to the state by Jan. 15, for review. Both were unanimously accepted, as were audits of their departments for calendar year 2015. Wright's suggested 3 percent raise for his deputies ran into a stumbling block from several magistrates, who noted that county employees had received a .7 percent increase for fiscal year 2017, which began July 1. "I don't know where you want me to be because no one will give me a number," Wright said. Eventually, the court agreed to ask Wright and Jones to submit budgets including a .7 percent increase for department employees. After the meeting, Jones said her raises were not uniform and were determined by performance. In her presentation to the court, Jones said she'd just returned from a meeting of county clerks and was unaware that the audit of the clerk's office was on the agenda. "I'm a little bit taken aback," Jones said. The audit noted that the clerk's financial statements had "misstatements and ineffective reconciliation procedures." Jones said when she took office in January of 2015, there was no bookkeeping software program in place. She noted that the audit said her office had overpaid fiscal court by more than $33,000, and a motion to send the money back to the clerk's office was passed unanimously. While the court was in executive session to discuss a personnel matter, Jones told The Sun that the software installed after her office received a $60,000 grant in October had corrected the problems, and the improvements would be reflected in the next audit. Courthouse awning Maintenance Director Rick Wade asked magistrates their opinion on putting a canvas awning over what will, on Jan. 3, be the only public entrance to the courthouse. The north entrance, which is next to the sheriff's department, will include a metal detector. Judge-Executive John Coyle said that on busy days, it was likely that some people might have to stand in line there. The court passed a unanimous motion to allow Wade to investigate the type and cost of the awning, which would cover the handicap ramp to the door. No containers Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Director Rich Pictor told the court that the day before, the department's board of directors voted unanimously to not allow the Woodford Theatre to place two storage containers adjacent to the building. Pictor said board members were concerned with how the containers would look, and believed the theatre board should see if current space could be better utilized. Appointments The court unanimously approved several reappointments: . Tim Turney to the Board of Adjustment for a four-year term ending Dec. 31, 2020. . Peter Fisher to the Board of Architectural Review for a two-year term ending Dec 31, 2018. . M.J. Bakke and Melissa Tomblin to the Woodford County Extension District Board for three-year terms ending Jan. 1, 2020. . The court also unanimously approved the appointment of Bob Mac Cleveland to the Woodford County Rural Land Board for a four-year term ending Dec. 13, 2020. Final meeting The court will hold its final meeting of the year on Thursday, Dec. 29, in order to pay bills. Asked if it would be a short one, Coyle replied, "It'll take two minutes."

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