Kay: local governments in forefront of battle against COVID-19
Judge-Executive James Kay told Fiscal Court members Tuesday that Woodford County and the cities of Versailles and Midway have been among the leaders in Kentucky in the fight against COVID-19. He said each government was among the first five in the state to issue emergency declarations and the county was one of the first to issue a “one per household” directive for shoppers. Kay said that order by Woodford Public Health Director Cassie Prather was welcomed by local businesses and their employees. He praised court clerk Melody Traugott and his administrative aide, Jordan Coyle, for their work updating the county’s website, which has a great deal of information and many links regarding COVID-19. He also complimented Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7), who is a registered nurse. Later in the meeting, Gill spoke of her work as a nurse in Lexington, saying, “If you could just imagine doing your job wrapped in plastic” – a reference to the personal protective equipment she has to wear. She asked people to do all they could to stay out of the hospital, and said she thought the county and state were doing an excellent job battling COVID-19. EMS savings Kay said the new EMS headquarters on Big Sink Pike is coming in $142,000 under budget and credited EMS Director Freeman Bailey for working with the contractor to obtain the savings. The court voted unanimously to accept the resulting change order. The original estimate for the building was $876,400. Revenue drop Treasurer Sabra Garmon told the court she didn’t foresee a huge cut in the April 30 payroll tax receipts, but forecasted a drop of 25 percent for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1. The county’s beginning balance was $9,672,948.66. Energy savings The court voted unanimously to approve an ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $6 million in general obligation bonds to pay for a sweeping energy efficiency project, which will include a new HVAC system for the courthouse and detention center. Later in the meeting, the court also voted unanimously in favor of a budget amendment reflecting a $84,028 energy savings performance grant. AOC reimbursement The court voted unanimously to approve reimbursements from the state Administrative Office of the Courts for use of the courthouse ($45,489.50) and courthouse annex ($103,953). Garmon noted that a new state law cut the reimbursement rate, and Kay said while he knew the state faced budget problems, he didn’t think it was right to push those off on local governments. County-wide Sun Kay told the court that he and the two mayors had helped put together a Sun special COVID-19 issue that will be sent to every household in the county. Each government is paying a third, and Kay praised Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift for not asking for a lesser percentage. “It just goes to show you that we really are all in this together,” Kay said of the cooperative effort between the three executives. Kay said the cost is $382 for each government, and a motion to pay the county’s share passed unanimously. The Sun is not profiting from the newsletter, which has no advertisements and could be in mailboxes around the county as soon as today, Thursday, April 16. Parks and Recreation Kay said the Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Department Parks has furloughed all part-time and most full-time staffers – the first county employees to lose their jobs. Quarterly reports The court voted unanimously to accept quarterly reports from Fiscal Court and the Sheriff’s Office. Jack Jouett House The court unanimously approved a renewal of the annual $146 contract with All-Rite Pest Control for the Jack Jouett House. Huntertown Road sidewalk Gill said 600 feet of sidewalk has been laid along Huntertown Road and that she hopes the project will be finished soon. Metronet problems Kay said some residents were having problems with Metronet, and that he and County Attorney Alan George will contact the company to ensure their employees and subcontractors are operating under social distancing guidelines and treating property owners with respect. Closing remarks County Attorney Alan George praised Woodford County citizens for following rules and being part of the solution during the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than the problem. He said he wasn’t getting the sort of calls many other county attorneys were. Kay said 95 percent of Woodford County residents are doing everything they can.