• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court holds line on property taxes

Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the general taxation rate at 7 cents per $100 of assessed value of real and personal property. The current rate is projected to generate revenue of $1,552,849. Tax rates for bank deposits will remain at 2.5 cents, motor vehicles at 9.4 cents, and watercraft at 9.4 cents per $100. Earlier in the meeting, Treasurer Sabra Garmon issued another encouraging financial report, showing a balance of $3,349,407.47 - up nearly 100 percent from the July 26, 2016, balance of $1,707,458.64. In response to a question by Magistrate Ken Reed (Dist. 4), Garmon credited less spending and more revenue for the improved financial outlook. Workforce development Woodford Economic Development Authority Chairman John Soper spoke and answered questions for 11 minutes about efforts to help get jobs for people without high school diplomas or GEDs - and ways to assist would-be workers with criminal records. For several months, Soper and others have been working with Woodford County Adult Education, the local school system and several of the county's largest employers. Tuesday, he briefed the court on an upcoming meeting at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System headquarters that will help on both fronts - criminal record expungements and the lack of a diploma or GED. Soper said Yokohama and NSG are working with Adult Education on a program that would have them hiring workers without diplomas or GEDS who are willing to obtain them within a certain time frame. He's also been in meetings with school officials and five or six "top companies" to begin apprenticeship and other programs designed to help students obtain good-paying jobs at local industries. Home-schooled students won't be left out, he said. All of the large local plants already have programs to help pay the cost of college educations for their employees, he said. "The bottom line is people want a job, and they think they're iced out of the system. There's a way that we can probably get them back in, and we're going to try everything we can to do that," Soper said. The KCTCS session will take place Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. Soper said financial assistance will be available for at least the initial step in obtaining an expungement for certain crimes. Clock tower update Maintenance Superintendent Rick Wade gave the court an update on the renovation of the courthouse clock tower and other work on the courthouse. Wade said 75 percent of the exterior of the clock tower has been replaced, and there was good news on the quoins that were in question - two from the top and another lower quoin have been pulled out and reseated. The face of the clock tower will be removed the second week of August, he said. In response to a question from Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8), Wade said the project is going better than some had originally thought. That may mean the price tag of the projected $1 million renovation, which includes a new roof and other work, could be lower. Police negotiations Judge-Executive John Coyle announced that the court would hold a work session Tuesday at 5 p.m. to discuss oncoming negotiations with the city of Versailles over the county's contract with the city for police protection. At last week's city council session, Mayor Brian Traugott appointed a four-person committee to meet with the county. In a letter to Coyle distributed to the court, Traugott wrote, "I am prepared to proceed with these negotiations in any way you see fit." New dump truck Road Engineer Buan Smith received the court's unanimous blessing to begin to price a new dump truck that will not require a commercial driver's license (CDL). Smith said he's had trouble finding CDL-certified drivers to work for the county. In response to a question from Magistrate Gerald Dotson (Dist. 5), Smith said the new truck, which will take 16 weeks to build after it's ordered, will bring the county's total to 15 - four of which he called "basically band-aids." Four of the 15, including the new one, will not require a driver with a CDL. Appointments Coyle appointed Neil Vasilakes, owner of Wildwide Winery, to a three-year term on the Woodford County Tourism Commission. His nomination of Shawn Hamm to a four-year term on the South Woodford Water District Board was approved unanimously. Scott honored Longtime Woodford County emergency medical technician Howard "Big Wayne" Scott was presented a certificate of appreciation, a standing ovation, and a hug from Coyle for his 30 years of service. Sunday will be his last day on the job.

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