• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court gives go-ahead for needle exchange program

Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday voted unanimously for a resolution that will allow the Health Department to begin a needle exchange program.

Backers say the program has been shown to reduce disease among IV drug users, law enforcement officers, medical professionals and citizens who may accidentally be stuck by an infected needle. Judge-Executive John Coyle suggested the court read the page-and-a-half resolution describing the “Harm Reduction and Syringe Exchange Program” and vote on the matter at the court’s next meeting. However, Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) made a motion that the court vote that evening, and the court did so.

Before the vote, Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8) asked about the cost. County Attorney Alan George said the program will initially be funded by a grant and he didn’t expect it to cost the county a cent. Magistrate Gerald Dotson (Dist. 5) noted that diabetes patients have to buy their own syringes, and asked if drug users caught with needles from the health department would be exempt from drug paraphernalia charges. George said that was true, but the exception was in the state law that allows such programs.

Magistrate Gary Finnell (Dist. 3), a member of the Board of Health, said he understood their worries, “ … but safety is our main concern.”

George noted that the program will end if any of the three governmental bodies needed to sign on to it (Fiscal Court, the Versailles City Council and Board of Health) withdraw their consent. Fiscal Court was the last to provide consent.

After the meeting, Finnell said the Board of Health will decide when to begin the program.

Courthouse renovation update Maintenance Superintendent Rick Wade wasn’t present due to surgery earlier in the day, but he submitted a letter updating the court on the $1 million courthouse renovation project. Wade wrote that the roof is 75 percent removed and weather-sealed, the Cornish wrap at the rear of the courthouse is completed, and the target date for completion is the end of this month, weather permitting.

Garbage fees The court unanimously accepted a low bid from present contractor Rumpke of Kentucky for residential garbage pick-up services that would see monthly rates rise by $2.37. The new rates will be $12.95 a month for once-weekly pick-ups and $26 for twice-weekly pick-ups. The court also unanimously endorsed a low bid from Central Kentucky Hauling, LLC for compactor containers and rentals to the Solid Waste Department.

Storm water detention/retention The court unanimously approved an ordinance amending present law regarding county ownership and maintenance responsibilities for existing storm water detention/retention areas. After a transfer of ownership to the county, the ordinance would “effectively pro-rate the cost of the continued maintenance of the area among all individual lot owners whose lots are in the vicinity of, and are serviced by, the … area.”

The sum total cost would be billed annually to the impacted Home Owners’ Association. The ordinance notes that “private maintenance of these … areas had, and has, resulted in many instances in maintenance which is less than desirable …” Present law requires work provided by the county be billed directly to property owners, which, according to the ordinance, “is better addressed by payment from the … homeowners’ or neighborhood associations.”

Nuisance ordinance The court unanimously approved an ordinance designed to better define and crack down on nuisances in residential areas outside Versailles and Midway. Violators will be given 10 days written notice, and if the owner or occupant is unavailable, a written notice to fix the problem within 17 days will be sent to the owner on file at the PVA’s office.

If the nuisance isn’t remedied or abated within the designated time, the violator can be fined up to $250 for each offense for each day.

Healthy bottom line Treasurer Sabra Garman announced that the county’s adjusted balance on Nov. 10 was $5,046,522.75, thanks in part to a recent $1 million-plus contribution from the sheriff’s department. Coyle said the adjusted balance was the highest he could recall in his time of office, and George said he believed it might be the highest in county history.

HRC appointments Coyle announced a new appointment to the Human Rights Commission (Darlene Jackson) and two reappointments (Kyle Fannin and Mary Nehring). All will serve three-year terms.

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