By LISA BICKNELL
CV&T News Editor
Photo by Lisa Bicknell
Estill County Jailer Bo Morris pleaded with the fiscal court Monday to give his three full time staff members raises. He said his employees have been with him five to eleven years and still only make about ten dollars an hour.
The first thing on the agenda for Monday’s special fiscal court meeting was the reading of a resolution by Estill County Judge-executive Donnie Watson reaffirming Mountain Springs Road as part of the county’s road system.
Watson also read statements from Doug Rogers and Herbie Rogers, who said they remembered that the road was well-traveled until recent years.
The resolution stated that the 9.4 mile road has been called North End Road, Furnace Pilot Road, and most recently in 1997, Mountain Springs Road.
“All I can find out is that it’s been a road for a long time,” said Watson.
“In case there are any doubts,” Tyler Hensley and Margaret Devault, who lives on the road, approached the court to show how it has been blocked to traffic over the past few years.
Watson cautioned that the county was under no obligation to keep up the road to any certain standard with so many others in the county in bad shape. Hensley said the four-wheeler groups he belongs to are willing to pitch in.
But the court appeared to need little convincing. They voted unanimously to reaffirm the road, and the crowded courtroom, filled with many residents and property owners from the area, erupted into enthusiastic applause.
County Attorney Jason Riley said he would request a continuance of the trial to see if the case can be settled.
In other business, Watson also read a resolution encouraging “the Kentucky General Assembly to act as soon as possible to address Kentucky’s funding needs to avoid further erosion of the transportation network.”
Watson said many counties have signed off on the resolution which states that the road fund requires an additional $500,000 million per year for maintenance and construction.
The fiscal court passed the resolution unanimously.
Jailer Bo Morris again requested the fiscal court to give his three full-time employees a raise. He said they have worked for him for five to 11 years, and are making about ten dollars an hour. Morris even offered to allow the county to pull half their raise out of his salary.
Morris said jail staff are generally looked down upon, and he listed some of the difficult situations they face daily as they deal with inmates.
He said his employees “take a chance on not going back home at night.”
Chad Smith is one of the full-time employees and was present for the meeting. He said that he is making decisions as he supervises the part-time workers, as he tries to keep in mind the county’s liability.
“I don’t want to retire making $10 an hour,” he said.
One of the court mentioned making a decision in the court meeting, but Morris said, “They shouldn’t be put off another day.”
He said, “I couldn’t blame him if he walked out tonight.”
The magistrates and judge were in agreement that they wanted to give a raise.
Paul Tipton said, “I’m all for a raise, but I want to know what I’m voting on. I’d rather do a little research.
Ultimately, the court agreed to give the full-time employees a dollar an hour raise, and look at the budget to consider giving more.
A working budget for the next fiscal year is due to the state by April 1.
Sheriff Chris Flynn also said that it would be more helpful if the on-call part-time help were present at the jail to reduce wait time.
Watson said, “If we are paying them, they need to be here.”