• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

County road workers to clean up storm mess

At the start of a special Woodford Fiscal Court meeting Friday, Aug. 2, Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said a request for proposal (RFP) for clean-up of the July 20 storm resulted in just one bid.

That contractor, Chandler said, “was not in good standing with the county,” and recommended the court not consider the offer.

Chandler and County Attorney Alan George had prepared the RFP, and magistrates accepted Chandler’s recommendation.

“The Road Department has done a great job since the last scheduled Fiscal Court meeting (July 24), where you authorized overtime and additional equipment, and they’re making a lot of progress,” Chandler said. “There’s still a long way to go, but I don’t have any options for you (for outside help)… for getting the debris off the side of the road.”

Magistrate Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6) asked whether the county was allowed to hire a company directly. Assistant County Attorney Phyllis Mattingly said such a move was possible, but she believed the court should stick to the process and perhaps reconsider the RFP.

At both of the previous week’s Fiscal Court meetings, magistrates had expressed the desire to get storm debris off county roads before the first day of school Aug. 9, and a new RFP would delay that process. They also approved the rental of a chipper and the purchase of new chainsaws.

Road Engineer Bo Wilson had good news for the court: while his crews were “worn down to a frazzle,” with the continued help of inmates from the Woodford County Detention Center, they could get the job done without outside help.

“Additional help would be great, but we’re ahead of schedule,” Wilson said.

Judge-Executive John Coyle asked when all county roads would be “somewhat back to normal.” Wilson responded that another week would have them in really good shape.

“Aiken (Road), we took everything as we went. Most roads we’re cutting back, making sure all the brush is gone. The second trip, we’ll go around with a Bobcat and dump truck, picking up big stuff… There is no problem with two (school) buses meeting, or two semi’s meeting (on roads). It’s cut back that far,” Wilson said.

Wilson said Solid Waste and Recycling Center Director Sherri McDaniel had loaned him a Bobcat for a second round of clean-up.

Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8) said the best thing the county did after the storm was to allow people to bring storm debris to the Solid Waste and Recycling Center at no charge. McDaniel said as of Friday, there was an estimated two million pounds of the stuff at the Solid Waste and Recycling Center. Brown said that would mean less for the county to pick up off roadsides.

Coyle said he, McDaniel, and several magistrates had met with state Transportation Cabinet officials and the city and county fire chiefs about burning vegetative matter at the county park. The burn began Monday morning, and a Transportation Cabinet employee overseeing the burn told the Sun the process would likely take several days.

At Friday’s special meeting, magistrates and a state Transportation official said it was important that smoke from the burn not drift over to the Falling Springs Arts and Recreation Center and populated areas. Monday, at around 11 a.m., it appeared that smoke from the blaze was mostly drifting straight up, and the smell of smoke was negligible.

Matthew Bland of the Transportation Cabinet told magistrates that a blower could be used to make the burn more efficient.

The question of when and whether to begin bringing debris from the Solid Waste and Recycling Center to the burn was left undecided after McDaniel said she still had room for more. She said her department had accepted debris from 2,600 vehicles since the storm and that what was on the ground already would fill 143 dumpsters. Wilson said official vehicles would begin bringing debris to the burn site rather than the Solid Waste and Recycling Center.

The court unanimously approved motions to extend the rental of a wood chipper and continue the Solid Waste and Recycling Center’s extended hours through the next day, Aug. 4 as well as Aug. 11. Another motion to allow overtime there through Saturday also passed unanimously, as did a motion to move forward with the burn. Magistrate Ken Reed said something should be done to show appreciation for the hard work of those who’d been cleaning up since the storm. Coyle said he didn’t want to blow the surprise, but some sort of event was in the works.

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