By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
Electrical inspectors needing to perform their duties for Knox County will be contracted by the county, rather than hired as county employees.
This decision was reached Wednesday during the regular November meeting of the Knox County Fiscal Court.
According to Knox County Judge Executive J.M. Hall, the Kentucky Legislature determined that a county which wants to hire its own electrical inspector can do so as long as parameters are set by the Fiscal Court in question.
Hall said if the county had decided to hire rather than contract inspectors, the county would have to have the rules in place by Dec. 7.
But Hall said the option was also open where counties can hire local electrical inspectors contractually, and that’s the road the Court took.
Hall explained that contracting the inspectors “was the way we’ve done it” in the past.
He said those interested in performing the work for the county through contract must present to Fiscal Court their name, address and the amount they would charge for the work performed.
The Court then approves the names, sending the list to Frankfort. “(We want) to let several people do it,” he said, adding he knew of a couple local inspectors they could use.
Once the inspectors have state approval, Knox County can enter into a contract with the inspector, to be approved by the full Court.
Fifth District Magistrate Guilio Cima motioned to approve hiring electrical inspectors by contract, and it was seconded by Fourth District Magistrate Pat McDonald. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
In other business:
— An amended restated Interlocal Agreement to continue to allow the Operation UNITE task force to help battle drug problems in the state’s 5th Congressional District was approved by the Court Wednesday.
Operation UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, is “the three-pronged, comprehensive approach deemed necessary to combating substance abuse in Kentucky” according to its website.
Operation UNITE “works to rid communities of illegal drug use through undercover narcotics investigations, coordinating treatment for substance abusers, providing support to families and friends of substance abusers, and educating the public about the dangers of using drugs,” the website states.
Knox, Laurel and Whitley counties are all under this agreement in the 5th District.
As the state’s redistricting plan has taken effect, four counties had to be added to the 5th District Operation UNITE agreement. The Interlocal Agreement was already in place, but due to the addition of the counties, the amended agreement had to be approved by the Court, according to Hall.
Second District Magistrate Keith Abner motioned to approve the amended agreement, with a second from First District Magistrate Carson Gilbert. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— The jail replaced two part-time workers Wednesday.
County Jailer Mary Hammons explained she recently lost two part-time employees at the jail. One left because he was on active duty with the National Guard; the other took a position with the Ohio State Police.
The new jail employees, who began their part-time positions earlier this month, are Ricardo Santos Cruz and Michael Hudson. McDonald motioned to approve the new hires, with a second from Gilbert. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— Delinquent property tax collections for October were accepted and approved by the Court. Hall said $4,159.97 was collected for the month of October.
Abner motioned to accept the monies, with a second from Gilbert. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— The Knox County Sheriff’s Department budget was received by the Court Wednesday. Hall explained the Sheriff’s Department is one county department that operates on a calendar year, versus the July-to-June fiscal year normally utilized by government budget groups.
Gilbert motioned to acknowledge the Court received the budget, with a second from Cima. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
No approval for the actual budget was made Wednesday.
— The Court approved an Emergency Operational Plan. Hall said this is a cooperative agreement renewed annually. Knox County EMS Director Mike Trent said the agreement was “totally redone” this year and approved by the state’s Emergency Management.
“So we’re up to standard with the state, where we weren’t before?” asked Cima.
“Yes we’re compliant now,” Trent said.
McDonald motioned to approve the emergency plan, with a second from Cima. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— The Court unanimously approved the second reading of a budget amendment during Wednesday’s meeting. Hall said that the amendment covers a $116,312 decrease in what was budgeted versus what was used. Mills motioned to approve the amendment, with a second from Abner.
— The inmate procedure manual for the jail was approved Wednesday. Hall explained the procedure manual directs jail employees how to monitor inmates. County Jailer Mary Hammons said the manual had no changes and was the same as in previous years.
Abner motioned to approve the manual, with a second from Gilbert. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— The Knox County Sheriff’s Department was approved for a $100,000 loan during the meeting Wednesday. Hall explained that as the sheriff’s department operates its budget on a calendar year rather than a fiscal year, it is required the department close its current bank accounts out and open new ones for the new year.
In the interim, Hall said, the department is left with no funds. The monies approved will allow the department to run its day-to-day operations until it receives its budgeted monies for 2013.
Hall said the loaned money is then sent back to the county coffers. “(This loan) is just a temporary transfer,” Hall said. “We’ll get it back.”
After some discussion concerning the loan amount, $100,000 was agreed upon. Cima motioned to approve the temporary loan, with a second from Abner. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— Salary caps were put in place by the Court for the County Clerk and the sheriff. Gilbert motioned to approve the caps, with a second from Abner. The Court was unanimous in its decision.
— Due to the Christmas holiday, the Court unanimously agreed to reschedule the monthly regular meeting of Fiscal Court. Normally on the fourth Wednesday of the month, in December the meeting falls on Dec. 26. Cima motioned to move the date, with a second from McDonald. The regular December meeting will be 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Knox County Fiscal Courtroom in Barbourville.