• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Jones discusses school tax recall procedures

County Clerk Sandy Jones Tuesday briefed Woodford Fiscal Court on her role in certifying a tax recall that could overturn the Board of Education’s decision to raise property taxes to pay for a new high school.

(See school board story on the front page.)

Jones read from a statement that included a timeline of events ranging from the Jan. 18 decision by the school board to pass a property tax increase of 5.5 cents per $100 of assessed value to her April 4 certification of the tax recall petition.

“I have been asked how I determined the names on the petition were qualified, and I have given the same answer to any and all who asked me this question. I, like all county clerks in this state, have the use of the Voting Registration System, and the original cards that voters sign when they first register to vote are housed in this office. These tools, along with our county’s GIS map, were the essential tools I used in determining this petition is sufficient,” Jones said.

Monday night, the school board voted to appeal the petition, and while it was unclear whether Jones knew of that decision, she said a Woodford Circuit Judge would hear the appeal if they did so. If the judge rules the petition drive was valid, the school board will decide whether to hold a special election or have it in November, and the approximately $50,000 cost of a special election would be paid for by the school board, Jones said.

Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8) pointed out that it would cost little or nothing to include the school tax hike on the November ballot.

Woodford Theatre plans

Woodford Theatre Managing Director Tony Del Grosso appeared before the court to talk about plans for modernizing the lobby and improving the overall theatre experience – and to request the court’s help in their $300,000 capital campaign.

Del Grosso said the theatre’s already received $141,000 in funding and pledges, and asked magistrates to consider pledging $60,000 over five years, or 20 percent of the total. Del Grosso said another way of contributing to the campaign would be for the county to forgo the $1-per-ticket surcharge that serves, in essence, as rent.

Among their goals: replace worn-out furnishings, finishes and equipment in the lobby, vestibule, auditorium and backstage areas; celebrate the history of the theatre through a display of memorabilia; and reflect the Woodford Theatre brand throughout with signs, graphics and systems.

A six-page report described the improvements in detail, with the final page including mock-ups of the redesigned lobby by Patrick Lee Lucas, director of the School of Interiors at the University of Kentucky College of Design.

“The idea would be to clean up the whole front, light it better, have better signs, and of course, repaint as well,” Lucas said.

The court made no commitment on funding, which is not uncommon in such cases. Workshops begin soon for the fiscal year 2018 budget, which beginsJuly 1.

Earlier in the meeting, Woodford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Don Vizi briefed the court on his organization’s projects and requested $5,000 in funding, the same as last year. Coyle praised Vizi’s work with the Chamber, saying, “You’ve certainly turned it around.”

New Jack Jouett House director

Judge-Executive John Coyle announced that the Woodford County Heritage Committee, of which he’s a member, voted unanimously to hire Susan Hughes to be the new executive director of the Jack Jouett House. Hughes is the former director of Shaker Village, where Coyle said she handled everything from employee costumes to programming.

Hughes, who lives in Frankfort, will not occupy the Jouett caretaker’s house, Coyle said.

Lightning rods

Maintenance Superintendent Rick Wade told the court that the lift outside the courthouse was there to get workers to the roof in order to install lightning protection. The work should be complete by today, Thursday, April 12, according to Wade.

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