By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
During Monday night’s Estill County Fiscal Court meeting, the court approved a resolution to borrow $400,000 from Citizen’s Guaranty Bank to pay insurance premiums, audit expenses, outstanding jail claims, and workman’s comp and liability insurance.
Judge-executive Wallace Taylor made no mention of using any of it to repair the sprinkler system at the jail, although Magistrate Gerald Rader said in no uncertain terms that he favors fixing it and getting the jail back open.
Jailer Bo Morris reported on how the off-limits jail is affecting the transportation and housing of inmates. He said that since the jail closed on March 31, 67 people have been transported to be housed, mostly in Lee and Clark County. He said he or his staff has made five hospital runs and a doctor run, and they have brought inmates in for three different court dates.
“If this is the way it’s going to be, we are going to have to have some vehicles,” he said. Deputy jailer Chad Smith said one car has already had to be filled up (with gas) seven or eight times, and the engine is beginning to rattle.
Sheriff Gary Freeman said, “Court days are terrible,” as inmates sit in circuit court all day. Jailer Morris said inmates continuously ask to go to the bathroom and are taken back and forth to a public restroom, presenting safety issues and opportunities for drugs to be passed to inmates.
The question was raised, if the jail is permanently closed, could that same space (no longer technically a jail) be used to house the inmates when they are in town for court.
John Thorpe with the State Department of Corrections was at the meeting, but he did not have an answer to that question.
The sheriff said that jail space will become more scarce, and he expects the cost of housing inmates elsewhere will skyrocket in the near future.
Morris also spoke of other problems that had surfaced. Last Wednesday, some inmates were still in the courtroom when the court broke for lunch. He had to round up some “chips, pop, and Little Debbie cakes” for them.
No action was taken on the jail.
In his monthly address, Judge-executive Wallace Taylor said the county road department will be mowing cemetery roads in preparation for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. He also briefly revisited the county’s mediation with landfill attorneys. He said he expects a long litigation process.
The judge presented a proclamation to a group of children in recognition of April as the Month of the Young Child.
In other new business, the judge opened sealed bids for a new Emergency Operating Center computer system. There were two, and CSEPP director Ronnie Riddell agreed to review the bids. One bid was submitted for radio consoles upgrade, and Riddell will review it also before making a recommendation to the court.
The court decided to table Resolution 17-03 which would give the county judge freedom to sign off on landfill matters without first bringing them before the court.
When Magistrate Rader expressed some reluctance to pass off all authority, Taylor said it was a step recommended by the county attorney.
The court decided to table the resolution and go into closed session to discuss it as it pertained to specific situations such as the mediation.
As it does annually, the county approved a resolution to accept Transportation Cabinet county road aid, and passed a county road aid cooperative program agreement for the fiscal year 2017/18.
A resolution was passed affirming parts of Lock 12, Boat Ramp Rd. and Riddle roads into the county road system.
The Chamberlain Branch watershed budget, the Conservation district budget, and the Conservation District plan of work were approved, as well as the sheriff’s 2016 fee settlement “as it’s been done for the past 18 years,” the sheriff said.
Tyler Hensley asked if there will still be a special meeting to address the Mountain Springs Cemetery Rd. situation. Deputy Judge Teresa Sparks said the meeting has already been advertised to take place on May 4 at 4:30.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the fiscal court is May 15 in the little courtroom at 6 p.m.