TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

September 18, 2013

Current health dept. property discussed


TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble/ Staff Writer

The Whitley County Fiscal Court picked up where they left off last month, discussing the land at the current county health department site in Williamsburg.

In the end, they plan on calling a special meeting to tour both the health department building, as well as the old Post Office, where the voting machines are currently stored, and go from there.

Much of Tuesday’s regular meeting was devoted on the two sites, and what options the court has.

They currently own a portion of the land on the old part of the Whitley County Health Department building, while the health department owns the rest. But the health department will be moving to their new facility near Exit 11 of I-75 in October.

County Judge-Executive Pat White Jr. said the health department would sell their part of the property to the court for $300,000.

County Court Clerk Kay Schwartz would like to have a place close to the Whitley County Courthouse where the voting machines can be stored, in a one-story building that’s climate-controlled.

“It can be renovated, as long as it works,” she said during the session.

White noted there was no suitable space for the machines in the 15,000 square foot building that currently houses the health department, but a climate-controlled room could be built, attached to the building, or built separately in the parking lot.

“The old Post Office is suitable for the machines, but there’s a lot of asbestos there. The building needs a lot of work,” Schwartz added.

It was noted Williamsburg’s old Post Office was built by the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, during the time Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. It also contains a mural called “Floating Horses Down the Cumberland River,” that was painted by artist Alois Fabry in 1939.

Years ago, the county tried to apply for a Brownfields grant from the federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to refurbish the old Post Office, but the grant requires was a Phase I feasibility study.

White mentioned one group — the Corbin-based Autism Spectrum Solutions of Kentucky, Inc. — expressed interest in leasing 2,500-3,000 square feet of the current health department building. The possibility of renting out some space in the building was also brought up, possibly as the home of Whitley County Emergency Management.

“We need to look at options for storing the machines,” said 2nd District Magistrate David Myers.

The discussion ended when they agreed to call a special meeting, probably in October, so the judge and magistrates could tour both the old Post Office and the current health department buildings and see what options they have with both of them. As a result, they approved a motion to table the matter, pending further discussion.

Also tabled was a motion to consider a pay rate change for two Whitley County Jail employees. The pay increase for chief deputy jailer Sandra Hoke, and Danny Hoke, who does maintenance at the jail and is supervisor of inmates when they’re out on work release, was requested by Jailer Ken Mobley.

“Both are making considerably less than their predecessors,” White told court members.

Myers asked if the request could be tabled until the court’s finance committee had a chance to discuss it, as well as talk with Mobley and other staff members, and bring the request up at the next meeting. The court voted unanimously to table the action until that time.

Approval was given to allow White and County Attorney Bob Hammons to sign a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for $150,000, which will go towards the lighting system plus runway and taxiway markings for the Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport Board.

It was mentioned the grant was separate from another $150,000 FAA grant that was approved at a special Fiscal Court meeting held Monday. That grant will go for a payment on the 10-unit T-Hangar building project, also at the Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport.

Among other actions taken, the court approved employees’ pay rates. It reflects the two-percent pay raise many county employees received when they were approved during the Fiscal Court’s meeting on Aug. 20.

Also given approval was an ordinance pertaining to Budget Amendment #2 for Fiscal Year 2013-14, as well as approving the County Sheriff’s unmined coal tax settlement. The 2013 Annual Report of the Whitley County Public Library was also accepted, and approval was given for an electrical inspector contract for Wayne Price. White pointed out that while Price is state-certified, he has to be approved by the court before he can start work.

Harold Moses was reappointed to a three-year term as a Cumberland Falls High Water District commissioner, with his new term beginning Nov. 1.

A petition for closing the Hanging Rock Church Loop Road was tabled due to not having time to advertise for a public hearing. And a petition to adopt the Hensley Cemetery Road into the county road system was approved.