Court hires new firm for emergency notifications
During an hour-and-45-minute meeting Tuesday, Woodford Fiscal Court voted unanimously to hire a new company to provide emergency - and non-emergency - notifications via phone and social media. The vote came after a lengthy debate on the issue. Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said the present contractor, Alert Sense, had dropped its Kentucky representative and "forgot about" Woodford and other counties. He also said there were performance issues with the service, such as delayed responses to weather alerts. Chandler said the company offered to make good by offering a free year of service, but the only call he received after the offer was from its billing service, wondering why the bill for the next three months had not been paid. Chandler said he will rework a grant that was to have reimbursed the county half of the $8,250 annual cost of the Alert Sense contract - the same fee that Heads Up Community will charge. The existing database of phone numbers will be imported to Heads Up Community. The new firm offers the ability to send non-emergency messages about such things as prolonged road closures and water line replacements and a better interface with social media, Chandler said. During the transition period, both companies will provide notification services through sign-ups and an imported 911 base. County to join opioid suit? The "Good of the County" program featured a presentation by James Magazine, a Clearwater, Fla., attorney who works for one of several firms suing opioid manufacturers and distributors. Magazine said his firm, Lucas/Magazine, represents Lexington, Louisville and several other counties in the massive suit. He said manufacturers and distributors hadn't followed the letter of a 1970 federal law preventing drugs from being sold directly to the public and requiring them to notify the Drug Enforcement Agency of suspicious orders. County Attorney Alan George said if the county joins the suit, it would keep 70 percent of winnings or settlement money, minus the firm's costs. The higher number of counties that participate, the better chance of a settlement, George said. The court could vote on a resolution to join the lawsuit at its next meeting. Courthouse renovation Maintenance Superintendent Rick Wade said the $1 million courthouse renovation was proceeding as planned and should be finished by the target date of mid-November. Wade said the final coat of paint on the clock tower will be applied as soon as weather permits. On Sunday, during heavy rain, only the weather vane was leaking, and that should be repaired the following day (Wednesday, Oct. 11), he said. Roads Road Engineer Buan Smith said property owners at the end of Shryocks Ferry Road would like the county to end the road at their property so they can put a gate there. He said he'd spoken to Mitzi Delius, assistant public works director for the city of Versailles, and that she said the city had no objections provided they still had access to a nearby pump station. George said before such an action can be taken, the court's Roads Committee must visit the site, notices of a public hearing must be posted in three prominent places within a mile, and two "viewer reports" must be made. The court took a similar action at the end of Lansing Lane earlier this year. Smith also said work on the Griers Creek Bridge has begun and some of the old pieces can be kept for other projects. He got the court's unanimous approval to surplus the rest for scrap. Nuisance, retention basin ordinances Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7), said the Ordinance Committee she chairs will meet at 8 a.m. on Oct. 24 to review ordinances prepared by George involving nuisances and retention basins. First readings on the ordinances could be held at the full court's 7 p.m. meeting that day. Executive session The court met in executive session for about 20 minutes to discuss a possible land acquisition, but took no action afterwards.