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March 27, 2014

Kayjay voting precinct may reopen

Hall offers to help out if residents clean up community center

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

The first steps to what could reopen the Kayjay voting precinct in Knox County were taken Wednesday, with some help from the county’s Judge-Executive.

Several residents of the area packed the regular meeting of the Knox County Fiscal Court, asking that the precinct — now located at the Artemus voting precinct, due to severe damage to the Community Center at Kayjay Park from the June 20, 2011 flash flooding — be restored in time for the May primary election.

Two of the residents, Tara Baker and Larry Hamilton, told County Judge-Executive J. M. Hall they had over 200 signatures signed on a petition that they presented to the court.

“We have estimates to restore electricity at the polling place. KU (Kentucky Utilities) said they would help us. …The place is also used as a park. It’s not only affected our polling area, it’s affected our community. It’s been three-and-a-half years and nothing’s been done. It’s a community center,” Baker pointed out.

“Before the flood, they had family reunions and everything. After the flood, nothing’s been done,” said a man in the audience.

When she asked who makes the decision to move the precinct, County Clerk Mike Corey told Baker, “The County Board of Elections makes the decisions to move the voting places.”

Two estimates to rewire the building — one for $1,800, the other for $1,500 — were quoted to the court.

When asked if the lower estimate of $1,500 from L & M Electric would get the building back up to size, one of the residents said it could be fixed in a week.

Hall told them, “Here’s what I’ll do. If you can get it done for $1,500, I’ll pay it out of my own pocket. I’ll write you a check personally for $1,500 out of my personal account. I’ll write a check to L & M Electric to reopen Kayjay Park, if you all will take it upon yourselves to get it cleaned up.”

The residents at the meeting agreed.

Hall said after the meeting he volunteered to do it with his own money, to save taxpayers’ dollars.

The final decision on reopening the Kayjay voting precinct will be made by the Knox County Board of Elections. The community center will have to be inspected, see if it’s cleaned up and made sure it has to be up to code.

It was also mentioned that if the Kayjay precinct doesn’t pass inspection by the election board, residents could still use the Artemus polling place.

Two resolutions involving the Knox County Hospital property were brought up and acted on during the session.

One dealt with the switching over of the hospital property legally from the Knox County Hospital Corporation to the Knox County Hospital District. Attorney Gil Johnson explained it’s required by the USDA (U. S. Department of Agriculture) for financial reasons. He said the action to sell and transfer the agreement from the corporation to the district was needed, so the hospital district can get the USDA loan.

The second resolution involved the article of incorporation of the hospital. Johnson noted Public Properties Corporation actually runs the hospital, and the resolution is an amended and restated articles of incorporation, which can be taken to the Secretary of State in Frankfort and the Knox County Court Clerk.

“Once that’s filed, it’s in the hospital district,” he added.

Both motions on the resolutions were approved unanimously.

The actions come on the heels of  U. S. Representative Hal Rogers’ visit to Barbourville on Friday.

The Congressman from Kentucky’s 5th District will be at Knox County Hospital for a major announcement concerning the hospital.

A news release from Rogers’ office said the Congressman would be at the hospital, beginning at 10 a.m.

He’ll be joined by Tony Hernandez, the USDA Administrator for Rural Housing Service, and Tom Fern, Kentucky’s USDA Rural Development Director.

Court members also approved a memorandum agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), the Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC), and the Knox County Jail.

Hall said the agreement would save the jail money, allowing the jail to take 5-10 inmates per crew to pick up trash on state roads, not county roads. The inmates would be used eight hours a day, five days a week for the work. The state would reimburse the county, with the county providing the inmates and work crew.

“County inmates would work on picking up trash on the state roads, and it lets inmates get some reduced time. I think it’s a good thing. It would save the county money,” said Hall.

Among other actions taken at the meeting, David Evans was reappointed to the Knox County Utility Commission. His term will expire March 31, 2018. Ricardo Santacruz was hired and moved from part-time to full-time Deputy Jailer, with the funding coming the state. County Attorney Gilbert Holland’s delinquent tax report was also approved, with Holland adding $3,790.12 collected. And Fiscal Court members proclaimed the month of March as “American Red Cross Month” in Knox County.

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