Court likely to ask for special election funds up-front
In a straw vote, members of Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday indicated they planned to ask the Woodford County Board of Education to “front” the county the money to pay for the June 26 special election on school taxes.
County Attorney Alan George explained the process that has led to the election in which voters will decide whether to pay a 5.5 cent “facilities tax” hike (per $100 of assessed property value) for a new high school. He began his remarks by praising County Clerk Sandy Jones for the “tremendously difficult task” of inspecting and certifying signatures on the petition that led to the special election. George also said that the court had only budgeted for the May primary for this fiscal year (which ends June 30), and that he’d suggested to Kerry Harvey, an outside attorney working for the Board of Education, that the Board pay the cost of the election “up front.”
The price tag for the machines, workers, and other items is approximately $50,000, according to Jones.
Judge-Executive John Coyle suggested that the court ask the Board for at least $50,000 and perhaps a couple thousand more. The court took no official action, but when Coyle asked for a straw vote on the question of asking the Board for the money before the election, it appeared that every magistrate raised a hand.
A representative of a construction firm involved with the Kentucky Wired project briefed the court on the state-wide fiber-optic, high-speed internet project.
Holly Hopkins Scoville said the 30-year project had already begun in Woodford County and that the “end date” would be July 2020, though officials hoped to finish earlier. She acknowledged delays in the ambitious program, which conservative critics have said is an expensive, “utopian” project unlikely to measure up to backers’ promises.
“In Woodford County, you all will actually be receiving the large backbone of this middle mile. What that means is, we are the middle portion of this. This network will allow ISP (internet service providers) to attach to it to bring fiber-to-home, fiber-to-business projects,” Scoville said.
Benefits include higher speed and more reliable service, she said.
The court unanimously accepted the fiscal year 2019 “preliminary” budget for the Woodford County Extension District, which was adopted by the district board on March 27.
Spending items include $299,082 for personnel, $167,898 for operations, $179,264 for administration and reserves, and $115,095 for capital outlay.
The court unanimously approved Coyle’s recommendations that Annie Denton of Midway and Jennifer Sullivan of Versailles be appointed to fill vacancies on the Woodford County Public Library Board of Trustees. Denton’s term will end June 30, 2020; Sullivan’s on June 30, 2019.
Coyle also announced his personal appointment of John Dale to the Board of Assessments for a three-year term.
Personnel Director Devetta Jackson told the court that Humana’s initial offer to renew the county’s health insurance contract was 11.7 percent higher than last year. She noted that last year, the company paid out more in county employee claims than it received in premiums.
Jackson said she’d budgeted a 10 percent increase, and said negotiations between the county and the health insurance giant continue.