Court discusses response to bourbon fire
Woodford Fiscal Court spent much of its Tuesday meeting discussing the response to the July 2 Jim Beam bourbon barrel warehouse fire – and praising those who helped limit the damage and keep firefighters safe. (See several stories about the fire and its aftermath beginning on the front page.) Before Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler spoke, Magistrate C.L. Watts (Dist. 2), who represents the Millville area where the fire occurred, thanked the many responders from multiple counties. “Woodford County is still the best place in the world to store bourbon whiskey,” Watts said, adding that a new, larger water line put in a few years ago at the request of the late Judge-Executive John Coyle and himself helped save two other warehouses. He asked that Chandler and the others who put in long hours on the scene be given a hand, and the entire courtroom rose for a standing ovation. Chandler spread the praise and briefed the court on the latest details. Judge-Executive James Kay said he’d spoken to several leaders who praised Chandler’s work on the scene. Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) said while the water line near the Beam warehouses prevented a huge disaster, she was worried about the smaller line serving the nearby and far larger Woodford Reserve warehouses, and hoped something would be done about it. Kay said the area needs better roads. He also asked Treasurer Sabra Garmon if she knew how much money the county would lose from the estimated 45,000 barrels destroyed by the fire. Garmon said that was difficult to determine, as the distilled spirits tax rate increases as the barrels age, but that overall last year, the Beam operation paid the county $36,000. The lost barrels contained “young product,” she said. Later, at the end of the meeting, Kay again praised Chandler, saying after he worked all night, he came in to work on the computer of Kay’s new administrative assistant, Jordan Coyle, the daughter-in law of the late Coyle. Ambulance center Emergency Medical Services Director Freeman Bailey received the court’s unanimous permission to surplus old medical supplies, uniforms and other items from the county’s EMS center on Big Sink Road. The move is in preparation for a razing of the building, which will be replaced by a new one at the site. Earlier, Bailey was also praised for limiting firefighters’ shifts at the warehouse fire, the heat of which at times reached 2,500 degrees. New housing opportunity The court voted unanimously for for a zoning map amendment and minor subdivision plat of the 20-plus acre Journey’s End Farm at 425 Hippe Agee Road. The measure, which rezones the property from agricultural/conservation (A-1/CO-1) to small community (A-4), was recommended by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission. First readings First readings were held on two ordinances allowed by actions of the Kentucky General Assembly. One would increase the sheriff’s fee for serving subpoenas and other documents from $50 to $60; the other would raise the figure at which sealed bids must be sought to $30,000. EDA appointment Kay’s nomination of Courtney Roberts for another four-year term on the Woodford Economic Development Authority passed unanimously. Roberts’ work on the board was praised by fellow EDA member Magistrate William Downey (Dist. 5). ‘Woodford County Day on the Kentucky River’ Kay received the court’s unanimous go-ahead to advertise a new event: “Woodford County Day on the Kentucky River,” which will begin at noon Aug. 17 after “Operation Clean Sweep” that morning at the Clifton boat dock. The new event will feature boating, kayaking and canoeing in the area, which Kay pointed out was upriver from the bourbon spill.