• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Fiscal passes EPAD ordinance, Measure made possible by 2015 state law authored by Kay

Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday unanimously passed an ordinance giving owners of commercial and industrial properties a new way to pay for energy and water conservation improvements. The measure was made possible by a 2015 state law authorizing the creation of Energy Project Assessment Districts (EPADs) authored by then-state Rep. James Kay, who is now the county’s judge-executive. Before the vote, Kay reminded the court that the ordinance is supported by the county’s two mayors, the chair and executive director of the Woodford Economic Development Authority and other community leaders. EPAD ordinances are in place in Louisville, Lexington, Northern Kentucky’s three most populous counties and several other counties, he said. According to the City of Louisville’s website, Louisville’s EPAD lets property owners repay private loans for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation measures through a voluntary property tax assessment: “The program allows property owners to secure more favorable financing terms than with traditional financing mechanisms. Through the EPAD program, property owners may also finance up to 100 percent of an eligible project’s cost.” Other unanimous votes established an interlocal agreement between the court, Sheriff’s Office, Property Valuation Administrator’s Office and County Clerk’s Office and a program agreement for the program. The ordinance excludes residential properties of fewer than five units. Energize Kentucky, the state agency created by the state EPAD law, will collect and distribute assessments. Kay said Holiday Inn Express & Suites, the county’s only hotel, could apply for the program. The recent winter storms that knocked out power to millions of Texans and led to multiple deaths put energy conservation efforts front and center, he said. After the meeting, Kay told the Sun, “EPAD projects (lead to) lower utility and water bills, creating a savings over time that can be factored into the financing, but overall it’s very similar to an ordinary loan. Businesses will only use EPAD if the rates are competitive, and we’ve seen in other counties that they are.” Food and Beverage Relief Fund In an update on the Woodford County Food and Beverage Relief Fund, Magistrate William Downey (Dist. 5) suggested giving one business another week to comply with the program’s requirements and the court agreed. Two other businesses that closed during the pandemic should be kept on the county’s radar and the court can reevaluate their progress at its March 23 meeting, he said. The program makes up to $7,500 in federal CARES Act funds available to restaurants and bars in the unincorporated parts of the county and up to $2,000 for restaurants and bars in Versailles and Midway. Many of the latter previously received grants from the city governments. Solid Waste and Recycling report The court unanimously accepted the Solid Waste and Recycling Department’s annual report for calendar year 2020. The report showed the facility accepted, among many other types of items, 1.02 tons of aluminum, 417.25 tons of cardboard, 3,068 pounds of lead acid batteries and 2,600 gallons of motor oil. Taylor praised Director Sherri McDaniel’s department for offering a wide variety of services, some of which aren’t mandatory. Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) also offered kudos to McDaniel and her employees, noting that the Solid Waste and Recycling Center is getting a lot more business during the pandemic and that “they always do a fine job.” Farm lease The court unanimously authorized a one-year extension of Fred Lane’s lease of 160 acres of the Gentry McCauley farm, which was purchased by the county and added to the Woodford County Park several years ago, for $16,377. Board appointments The court unanimously approved Kay’s nomination of realtor Tom Biederman for a four-year term on the Rural Land Board. Magistrate Liles Taylor’s (Dist. 1) motion that Magistrate Kelly Carl (Dist. 4) serve another two-year term on the Board of Health also passed unanimously. Training pay The court unanimously approved payments of $3,279.72 apiece to Magistrate Larry Blackford (Dist. 6) and Carl for three units of training and $4,372.96 for four units of training to Magistrate Jackie Brown (Dist. 8). The program is overseen by the state Department for Local Government. IT services agreement The court unanimously approved an amendment to the county’s IT services agreement with CBS Total Technology of Lexington that expands the company’s work to the county’s remote facilities, such as Animal Control and the Coroner’s Office. The county will pay $10 monthly for each new PC and a one-time fee of $135 for each new site. Winter weather The court unanimously confirmed its Feb. 16 vote by email to purchase 65 tons of salt from the state highway department. Kay and several magistrates praised road workers, emergency responders and the county’s two main utilities for quickly restoring power to 2,500 customers.

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