Court signs Soper for economic development
Woodford Fiscal Court voted 7 to 0 Tuesday night to enter into a year-long contract with John Soper and pay him $2,002 a month to provide economic development services to the county. Magistrate Ken Reed (Dist. 4) abstained from the vote. The deal now means the county will join the cities of Versailles and Midway to pay Soper a total of $5,721 a month. He will retain his position as unpaid chair of the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA). Reed and other magistrates expressed concern over the Feb. 28 ending of the EDA's contract with the Bluegrass Area Development District (Bluegrass ADD) for the services of Craig McAnelly as EDA executive director. Soper assured them that McAnelly would still be a resource, and Judge-Executive John Coyle pointed out that the county's $3,102 annual contract with Bluegrass ADD would be intact. Soper acknowledged that some projects might require the EDA to ask for additional, paid help from Bluegrass ADD, but said such deals would have to be approved by the court. Soper said McAnelly's heart would always be in Woodford County, adding, "Our success will be a testament to his legacy." Budgets approved The court unanimously approved the calendar year 2017 budgets submitted by Sheriff Wayne Wright and County Clerk Sandy Jones. Wright's budget of $1,267,308.96 is up about $80,000 from last year's budget. At earlier meetings, he told the court that much of the increased expense is related to the new courthouse security procedures, only some of which will be offset by reimbursements from the state Administrative Office of the Courts. Wright said his department came under budget last year by $187,135.42 - 15.76 percent. The clerk's budget of $755,262.29 is up about $45,000 from last year, about half of which will be spent on long-needed data processing services. Police under budget Versailles Police Chief Jim Fugate appeared briefly to tell the court that his department, which is funded by the two cities and county, came in under budget, too, and that the county will have a credit of $60,868 to apply toward its funding of the department. Coyle joked that he'd hoped Fugate would be delivering a check for that amount, rather than a credit. Fugate also updated the court on the Versailles City Council's plan to purchase the old St. Leo's School property and build a new police station there. Fugate said the plan wouldn't cost the county any additional money, and if successful, would help the department attract and retain officers and improve services. Emergency Management Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler asked for and received the court's blessing to pursue a $5,000 state grant to conduct a survey of hazardous materials passing through the county. The survey will include main roads and railroads. He said presently, no one knows what chemicals are being transported through the county. "We know that there's a lot of propane. We know that there's a lot of methyl/ethyl-type products. The scary ones are the mixed loads. So those are the ones we're trying to get ahold of. The corridor coming up the (Blue Grass) Parkway - we just don't know what's passing through, so it'll help us in planning efforts to be able to respond if there was a transportation incident with a load that involved chemicals," Chandler said. Chandler said the cost of the survey will be less than that of the grant, $4,000 of which would come from the state and the other $1,000 from the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Chandler also announced that the first in a series of free CPR classes will be offered in the courthouse community room Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. Health care professionals will be charged $5. Jail work agreement The court unanimously approved a $198,000 contract with the state Transportation Cabinet for fiscal 2017, which ends July 1, for inmates to provide road maintenance work. Rural Land Board The court unanimously approved the reappointment of John Creech to the Woodford Rural Land Board for a second four-year term.