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Fiscal Court travels to Woodbury Museum

Sheriff Scottie Ward gave the squires a check for $22,632.74 for the 2013 settlement  of the sheriff's office.

The Butler County Fiscal Court met Monday, March 10th at the Woodbury Museum. While the meeting was classed as a special session because of the change in venue, it was the Court's regular March meeting. Fifth District Magistrate Keith Daugherty was absent from the meeting. Several visitors were at the meeting including 2nd District Magistrate candidate Dale Willis, and Morgantown Mayoral Candidate Billy Phelps.

The first order of business for the Court was a temporary hire for the Butler County Animal Shelter. The Court voted 4-0 to hire Matt Staples for six months. Staples will be employes as part of the Kentucky Works Program. As a part of the program Kentucky Works will pay 75% of Staples' salary for the first four months, and half his salary for the final two months.

Staples is currently employed at the Shelter, and Sheriff Scottie Ward was complimentary of his work ethic. Ward said that when his department takes animals to the shelter, "he's the first one that comes out and helps us."

Sheriff Ward was next in the agenda, presenting his final settlement check for the 2013 calendar year. Ward gave the squires a check for $22,632.74, which they accepted by a 4-0 vote.

Next the magistrates discussed options relating to a faulty air conditioning unit for the County Clerk's office. The current unit is out and Quality Supply/Advanced Heating and Cooling submitted two estimates to the Fiscal Court. One bid was for repair, at a cost $1,875. The other was for a new air conditioning system for the office at a cost of $6,400.

Judge Fields told the squires that at present the office stays hot, even during cold weather. This causes the unit to run all the time, and shortens the life of the unit. Jailer Terry Fugate said the system also causes certain areas of the Courthouse, like the Jail, to be hot, or cold, depending on the outside weather. Fields told the Court that the new system will have an outside baffle, which will allow cooler outside air to be drawn into the building during certain times of the year to help regulate temperature, and keep the unit from operating constantly.

Third District Magistrate Chad Tyree asked if any other options were available, and if the unit could be repaired and the outside baffle also installed. He was told the baffle system would require a new unit. Terry Fugate suggested, and was backed up by Sheriff Ward, that plumbing and piping related to the cooling system need to be cleaned as well. After limited discussion the magistrates voted 4-0 to purchase a new system.

Judge Fields next told the Court that the janitorial contract is up for Courthouse cleaning. He said that the Court needed to approve advertising for bids, and the motion passed by a 4-0 vote.

Jailer Terry Fugate submitted his fiscal year 2014-15 budget to the Court. No action was taken on the proposed budget beyond a 4-0 to accept it for review.

Discussion of the timetable for the McKendree Chapel Road bridge project was next on the agenda. Judge Fields told the Court that installation of the bridge needed to be pushed back until the end of the school year. He said that bad weather had delayed he project and that it would be better to wait now until schools are out of session to do the work. He also reported that landowner Ronald Weathers had been consulted about the delay, and problems it might pose him in moving farm equipment. Weathers told Fields he had alternate routes available to move his equipment if needed and was fine with delaying the work. The Court voted 4-0 to delay installation of the bridge until after June 1st.

The Court next voted 4-0 to distribute an insurance settlement to the Second District VFD. The check for $5,415 was a settlement for damages done to a fire vehicle.

Following the approval of the monthly transfer of $55,000 from the General Fund to the Jail Fund the Court moved to routine bills and transfers. Among items in routine bills were two wrecker bills incurred by the Butler County Road Department during the most recent round of bad weather.

C&L Wrecker Service charged the county $250 dollars to remove a stuck snow plow during the storm. In the same storm Chad's Wrecker Service charged the county $1,500 to transport a disabled snow plow approximately 15 miles to the county barn.

Road Supervisor Timmy West reported to the Court that he has a rotating list of wreckers that his department uses, similar to other county and state agencies. He said when he contacted Chad's he told them he had a snow plow with a broken axle that would have to be pulled up a steep hill. West said the first wrecker dispatched by Johnson was too small to do the job, and that another larger wrecker had to be dispatched to pull the plow.

Magistrates took issue not only with the widely varying rates, but also with the lack of itemized, detailed information on the invoice from Chad's.

After discussing the matter with County Attorney Dick Deye the Court moved to pay all bills except the tow bill from Chad's. Judge Fields was clear that he thought the bill should be paid, but that a system needs to be considered where wrecker services on the Road Department list should agree to set rates before being placed on the contract.

Fourth District Magistrate David Whittinghill started that he didn't think the county should be liable to pay time and fees to Chad's for bringing the wrong sized wrecker to the scene initially. He asked the County Attorney if the county should pay the portion of the bill for the inadequate wrecker, and was told by Deye that he thought they shouldn't be liable. Deye continued, pointing out that the lack of information on the bill from Chad's made it impossible to see what the charges for each wrecker, and the hours billed, actually were.

After discussion the Court agreed to ask for more information from Chad's Wrecker Service before the bill will be paid.

The floor was then opened for comments from visitors and magistrates. The magistrates were all complimentary of the Woodbury Museum and thanked organizers for hosting the meeting. Carliss Raymer asked Jailer Terry Fugate if his work crews would be mowing and cleaning the park and museum grounds this season, and pointed out that they had not done all the grounds keeping last year, despite promises to do so.

Fugate told Raymer and the Court that several factors had forced him to not do as much grounds keeping in calendar year 2013. He said that his numbers of prisoners classified to work on crews had been low, and that he was laid by the City of Morgantown and the State Transportation Cabinet to provide them two five-man crews. He said that he was confident that his crews would maintain the grounds this season.

The Jailer then took a moment to address the Court about procedures, regulations, etc related to the jail. He said that his staff has to undergo more training this year because of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). He invited any magistrate to come visit the jail to see how it's operated and to get a sense of the amount of regulations and paperwork that is involved with basic jail operations.

Bruce White, Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Butler County handed out monthly progress reports to the squires. White told the Court that the Club has turned in their application for assistance to the Court and is once again asking for $12,500 dollars in funding.

With no further business the meeting was adjourned and the guests and magistrates enjoyed a pot-luck meal prepared by the Museum.


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