• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Court approves Economic Recovery Act

In a brisk meeting Tuesday, Woodford Fiscal Court unanimously passed an order making $45,000 in federal CARES Act funds available to residents behind on bills because of measures taken to combat COVID-19. The measure was considered and approved before the meeting by the court’s Budget and Finance Committee. The Woodford County Economic Recovery Act will be administered by the Blue Grass Community Action Partnership (BGCAP), which has an office on Park Street and will be paid $5,000 for the work. BGCAP is also administering the individual assistance portion of a similar measure passed by the Versailles City Council. A portion of the order’s preamble reads, “Whereas, the Woodford County Fiscal Court has a compelling interest to guard against mass homelessness and utility cutoffs due to people experiencing a decline in income as the result of COVID 19 …” The court’s order is designed to help households in the unincorporated parts of the county making less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level with delinquent utility, rent and mortgage payments. Judge-Executive James Kay said a goal is to help people keep their electricity on and, for families with children who’ll begin school online, assistance paying internet fees. Eligible households may receive utility assistance twice for a maximum total of $750 and rent/mortgage help once for up to $750. For the rent and mortgage portion of the program, the order states that each grant must guarantee an additional 30 days of shelter. EDA executive director The court unanimously approved a six-month contract with Fortune Solutions LLC of Lexington that will bring Lucas Witt aboard as executive director of the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA). Magistrate William Downey (Dist. 5) said while the institutional knowledge of his predecessor, John Soper, will be hard to replace, Witt is a young, experienced project manager who’d worked for the state Cabinet for Economic Development. Kay praised Witt, too, and noted that he’d been the unanimous choice of himself, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift. Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) asked about the section of the contract involving travel expenses incurred by Witt in the course of his duties. Kay said he believed that Witt would seek pre-approval from the court and two city councils for things like out-of-state company recruitment trips and that the court could ask the EDA to help pay those expenses. The county’s portion of Witt’s pay is $1,600 per month. He’ll be paid $2,100 by the City of Versailles and $1,050 by the City of Midway. Witt’s contract has already been approved by the city councils. COVID-19 During the announcements portion of the meeting, Magistrate Liles Taylor (Dist. 1) noted there were 11 new positive tests for the coronavirus reported that day. Regarding the wearing of protective masks, Kay said, “If we rise to the occasion, we can get our kids back in school.”

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