• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court approves police deal

Discussion of a new contract to continue the 2004 merger with the city of Versailles for police protection consumed the bulk of Tuesday night's Woodford Fiscal Court meeting.

It began with a presentation by Magistrate Ken Reed (Dist. 4), chair of the court's Lease and Contracts Committee. Members include magistrates Linda Popp (Dist. 1), C.L. Watts (Dist. 2) and Judge-Executive John Coyle. Reed said during a committee meeting on Sept. 5 at Moss Hill Golf Course, members suggested several revisions to the contract that would save the county $353,373 over the 10-year deal. Other attendees included Versailles Police Chief James Fugate, and Midway council members Bruce Southworth and John McDaniel. One money-saver for the county would be an increased contribution from the city of Midway, discussions over which are ongoing between the mayors of the two cities. Midway presently pays $100,000 a year for part-time police patrolling, though in the case of an emergency, other Versailles police officers are dispatched to the city. The committee's suggestions wouldn't alter the basic structure of the contract, in which the county pays 38 percent of the Versailles Police Department's operating expenses and 50 percent for capital expenditures. Midway's contribution is presently taken off the top before the percentages are tallied; Reed said the Woodford County School District's contribution of $35,000 should be taken off the top, too. The committee also recommending altering the decal on police vehicles to include "Woodford County." Reed said the committee voted 3 to 1 in favor of their police package; Coyle voted no, as he did, along with Magistrate Jackie Brown, when the court voted on the deal. "I told the committee that I firmly believed that ... the city of Midway is 100 percent responsible for police protection inside the city limits of Midway and the city of Versailles is 100 percent responsible for police protection inside the city limits of Versailles. The sheriff has county-wide jurisdiction to serve processes from court, to patrol the roads, to do all of the duties that every sheriff in the state excluding Jefferson and Fayette County has ..." Coyle said. During the committee meeting, newly appointed Sheriff Johnny Wilhoit had submitted a proposal showing how the sheriff's department could resume full police duties, which included hiring 17 new deputies. Reed noted that Versailles is about to build a new $4 million police headquarters and wondered how much the county would have to pay to do the same. He said the sheriff's department, which is housed on the first floor of the courthouse, is already undersized. Coyle and Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) both said the city of Midway needed to pay more for police protection, but Gill said she favored continuing the police merger, though she wanted more specifics on Midway's contribution. Eventually, a motion by Reed to approve the committee's offer to the city of Versailles passed 7 to 2. Tax rates The court unanimously accepted property tax rates submitted by the Woodford County Extension District and the Woodford County Fire Protection District. The Extension district board voted to take a 4 percent increase in revenue for real property, bringing it to 1.744 cents per $100 of assessed value. The personal property rate dropped from 1.8 cents to 1.744 cents, while the motor vehicle/watercraft rate remained at 1.5 cents. The fire district rates for 2017 are 6.1 cents for real property, personal property, inventory, aircraft, watercraft and in-transit inventory. New county roads The court unanimously accepted portions of two new roads into the county system: a .912 mile stretch of Hiddenaway Lane, from Pinckard Pike to the end of the road, and a .051 stretch of Forrest Court, a cul-de-sac off the western side of Hiddenaway Lane. Huntertown Road sidewalk Gill updated the court on the Huntertown Road sidewalk, for which the county obtained an 80-20 matching federal grant. She said that new federal rules mandated that each of the 13 property owners along the 1.5-mile path along Simmons Street and Huntertown Road be made financial offers in return for an easement or right of way. After the 80-20 match, the county will pay 52.13 percent of the cost of the sidewalk, and the city of Versailles, 47.87 percent. Rights-of-way or easements are expected to cost $97,099, though that figure could drop if property owners donate the small slivers of land needed for the sidewalk, Gill said. Ultimately, the Uniform Investment Act will result in an additional $9,297 expense for the county, and the court voted unanimously to pay engineering firm HDR to take care of the title searches and offers. Work on the sidewalk could begin next spring. Other matters * The meeting began with a minute of silence to honor victims of 9-11 and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. * The court voted unanimously to allow Ambulance Director Freeman Bailey to renew the court's contract with Bluegrass Community Hospital for $12-dollar tuberculosis tests. * Recycling Director Sherri McDaniel reminded the court that the annual Household Hazardous Waste drop-off event will be held Saturday from 8 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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