• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Praise for election workers at court meeting

The Nov. 24 meeting of Woodford Fiscal Court was not covered in last week’s issue, as we went to press a day early because of Thanksgiving. Woodford Fiscal Court’s Nov. 24 meeting featured comments from the Republican and Democratic representatives to the county Board of Elections about what each called a very successful election in the county. Democratic board member Henry Duncan noted the board met throughout the year and that pandemic-related changes to the election process had to be approved by the state Board of Elections. He reminded the court that in addition to expanded absentee voting, people could also choose to vote early by dropping off mail-in ballots in secure lockboxes in the courthouse and Midway Branch Library. When voters dropped off early ballots that needed to be fixed, or “cured,” they contacted many of them and were able to correct the problems, he said. GOP board member Ken Morales began by praising County Clerk Sandy Jones and her employees for “one of the smoothest and trouble-free elections” he’d seen. It took employees of the clerk’s office, the sheriff’s office and many others to make the election work so well, he said. Judge-Executive James Kay praised Duncan, Morales and other election officials for the “monumental task” of pulling off an open, honest, transparent and successful election during the pandemic. County Attorney Alan George said in his 27 years working with the county Board of Elections, he’d never seen any partisanship. Jones praised Duncan, Morales and her team, and Duncan said while he and Morales were 180 degrees apart in political beliefs, when they discussed politics, they’d learned to disagree without being disagreeable. He added that he didn’t understand how partisan politics could lead to hatred. Highest balance ever? Treasurer Sabra Garmon told the court she believed the county’s balance of $10,517,522.01 was the highest in history. Later, during the announcements portion of the meeting, George said he also believed it was the highest balance the county had ever had on hand. Contracts, surpluses The court voted unanimously to renew the annual contract with Johnson Controls of Lexington to provide fire protection for the Woodford County Detention Center. The court also unanimously approved a request by Animal Control Director Susan Jones to surplus a washing machine and send it to the Solid Waste and Recycling Center for disposal, and another by the Sheriff’s Office to surplus a 2011 Ford Explorer for junk. Spark Community Café to cater employee Christmas lunch The court voted unanimously to pay Spark Community Café $1,530 to cater the Dec. 10 Christmas luncheon for the county’s 170 employees, which will be delivered by magistrates and others to each office and to those working at home. Announcements Magistrate William Downey (Dist. 5) told the court the City of Versailles agreed to pay the cost of landscaping needed after 550 feet of fencing near Shaw Court and Spring Run Road was removed and reinstalled. Last summer, the court voted to pay $7,383.75 for the fence work. Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) said she’d received a lot of complaints from parents in the southern part of the county about poor internet service making it harder for their children to learn online. She asked what the court could do to improve internet service throughout the county. Kay responded that the previous Friday, he’d discussed the matter with officials from the Bluegrass Area Development District and the company that conducted a rural broadband speed test. He agreed that internet service was not good in many areas of the county, but said Woodford was ahead of most every county in Kentucky, and most states. A plan for rural broadband improvement will be discussed in a future court meeting, he said. The meeting ended with Kay following up on Magistrate Matt Merrill’s earlier comments about Thanksgiving in 1777 by noting the following day, Nov. 25, was the two-year anniversary of the death of his predecessor and friend, John “Bear” Coyle. Kay said few gave so much as Coyle, who served as sheriff, judge-executive and board member for the Food Pantry for Woodford County, and he asked the court and community to “Be like Bear – be giving.”

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