By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
Knox County Judge/Executive J.M. Hall is hoping Washington can come to the county’s aid.
That’s after heavy rains fell a week ago last Wednesday, which brought about flash flooding and damaged infrastructure to parts of the county.
Hall opened up Wednesday’s regular meeting of the Knox County Fiscal Court by briefly bringing up what happened and what’s being done to get federal help.
“We had some torrential rains last Wednesday that washed out eight to 10 bridges in the Stinking Creek and Hammons Fork areas. Much of the damage was done to infrastructure, such as bridges, roads and culverts. Jeff’s Creek Church got washed away on Stinking Creek, and rescuers had to go out in boats. While there was damage, fortunately no lives were lost. We declared a state of emergency Thursday morning so we can be eligible for FEMA and USDA Water Conservation funding,” Hall said at the session.
He added Knox County was being grouped together with three other southeastern Kentucky counties — including neighboring Clay County and nearby Harlan County — for a disaster relief package. Hall said the damage threshold for the four counties to qualify for federal funding was “around one million dollars.”
Knox County Emergency Management Director Mike Mitchell said the county has already sent their disaster estimates into Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) officials in Frankfort.
“They’re looking at four counties as a group for funding from the floods. Our threshold was around $109,000, and we exceeded that in Knox County. We’re done with our preliminary numbers and we’re waiting on the other counties, Clay, Harlan and Lee, to turn theirs in. Once that happens, we’ll wait to see what Washington does,” Mitchell said.
Hall’s update on last week’s flooding made up the bulk of the meeting held at the Knox County Courthouse in Barbourville. He admitted not much was on the agenda this month, but would change in May when the county’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year would be unveiled.
Among actions taken at Wednesday’s session, court members approved County Attorney Charley Greene Dixon’s delinquent tax report for March 2013, which turned in $20,252.13 in taxes. Also approved were the first quarter budget for Sheriff John Pickard, the quarterly report from County Court Clerk Mike Corey, and the report from Treasurer Jack Ketchum.
Among Fiscal Court committees, Jailer Mary Hammons noted she had three part-time employees who resigned during the past month. She pointed out to the court they were replaced by two new employees at the Knox County Jail.
After the regular session, court members went into executive session to discuss pending litigation involving Knox County Hospital. No action was taken.
By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
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