By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Repairs to the slide occurring along Mountain Ash and Tackett Creek will soon be underway after a bid was awarded for the project Tuesday.
During the regular meeting of the Whitley County Fiscal Court, it was learned Hinkle Environmental Services of Corbin was the lowest bidder. The company is a division is Hinkle Contractors.
According to Judge/Executive Pat White Jr., Hazard Mitigation grant monies were received for this project. The grant title is the Tackett Creek/Mt. Ash Slide Project.
The plan is to drill 10 feet into the bedrock, then insert railroad steel to assist in stabilizing the ground.
Magistrate Jamie Fuson asked about the time frame for completing the project.
He was told that once the bid was awarded, the company would be able to start the project in approximately one week.
“(They should) have it done (in) about two weeks,” White said.
“They were the cheapest and most experienced,” said Jimmy Bates, director of infrastructure. “They’ve got the (equipment) to drill — it’s big — (but it’s) get in and get out. There’s not much excavation.”
Fuson motioned to award the bid to Hinkle Environmental Services, with a second from Magistrate David Myers. A roll-call vote showed the court to be unanimous with this decision.
Once work crews are on site, Tackett Creek Road will be closed for travel, although crews will attempt to try to open it up in the evening hours.
In other Fiscal Court business:
— The court unanimously accepted the annual report from the Whitley County Detention Center.
There are three “reports” to be reviewed — one is an inactive account from the previous jailer, which both began and ended the fiscal year with a balance of $1,907.86.
A second account concerns the inmate fund summary and reconciliation. The cash balance coupled with the account receipts for the fiscal year totals $788,902.90. Taking the expenses of $754,034.30 out, that left a cash balance of $34,868.60 at the end of June. With the reconciliation of the account, as of July 1, the account stands at $37,660.78.
The third is also an inmate account, which includes the jail’s commissary, phone card vending machine, bank interest and other sources. The cash balance from June 2012 coupled with the receipts from fiscal year 2013 totaled $356,634.31. The total expenses were $303,112.32 — leaving a cash balance of $53,521.99 as of July 1.
A discussion did come up concerning several unanticipated medical expenses from prisoners in the jail.
“There were large medical bills we were going to have to pay,” White said. He then told magistrates that Jailer Ken Mobley “gave us” $30,000 to cover those medical bills. “It was at the jailer’s discretion — he didn’t have to do that.”
Fuson motioned to accept the report, with a second from Magistrate Robbie Brown.
— Fiscal Court magistrates unanimously approved Whitley County enter a contract with Great Rivers Archaeology Services from Burlington.
This contract will cover archeological services pertaining to the Whitley County Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project.
According to the University of Kentucky’s College of Design website, HBEER “is a partnership between the UK College of Design, the Center for Applied Energy Research at UK, the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC) and the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC).”
The HBEER program is nearly four years old.
“The multi-year project was initiated in the fall of 2009 and directly responds to the impact the current economic downturn has had on the houseboat manufacturing industry in the Commonwealth,” the website states. “More than 50 students and faculty at the college’s School of Architecture were responsible for researching and developing initial models of energy-efficient, affordable housing that could be produced by the region’s houseboat manufacturers.”
During the meeting Tuesday, White told magistrates this was needed before work could begin. According to County Projects Director Amber Owens, the survey will be on Kentucky Highlands’ existing development in Emlyn. “There are several zero-energy homes already on the property,” she said. “They are taking houseboats and turning them into energy-efficient homes.”
Myers motioned to enter into the contract, with a second from Magistrate Roger Wells.
— There were several minor decisions made Tuesday concerning the Independence House Project.
The first order of business for this part of the meeting was for the Fiscal Court to approve a resolution establishing a procurement policy for the state’s CDBG program. White explained this policy was standard, but that it was required to be passed as a specific grant resolution. Myers motioned to approve the resolution, with a second from Wells.
Magistrates then had to approve what White termed as “more grant documentation designed to fund the salaries for the women’s shelter in Corbin.”
Brown motioned to approve, with a second from Fuson.
The last order of business involving the shelter concerned a legally binding agreement pertaining to the CDBG monies.
“It is just part of the CDBG grant,” Owens explained. “Because the Independence House isn’t a government agency they have to partner with the county to administer the grant.”
The agreement was reviewed by County Attorney Bob Hammons, who said everything was in order.
Brown motioned to approve entering the agreement, with a second from Myers.
A roll-call vote showed the court as unanimous in all three of these decisions.
— Magistrates unanimously approved setting the deductible for Kentucky Association of Counties insurance for the next fiscal year.
White explained their best option was to increase the deductible, which would ultimately lower premium rates.
The savings, according to White, total approximately $21,000-$22,000.
While the rates “weren’t locked in yet,” Treasurer Jeffrey Gray recommended with White’s agreement they approve the deductible rate as presented.
Some discussion concerning lawsuits came from Fuson, but little more was said on the subject. Brown motioned to approve raising the deductible to reduce the premium, with a second from Wells.
— Vicy Rose Cemetery Road was unanimously approved to become a part of the county’s road system. Fuson motioned for approval, with a second from Brown.
— Two members from the Whitley County Extension Board were replaced Tuesday. Carson Paynes and Gerald Hart have left the board, and replacing them are Regina Hicks and Letha Taylor. Court magistrates were unanimous with this change.