KNOX COUNTY -- During the Knox County Fiscal Court meeting Wednesday, Knox County Judge Executive Mike Mitchell announced the county's Park Committee had recently approved the reopening of Knox County's parks effective July 1.

This includes Bennet Park located on 1809, Paris Park in the Girdler community, and Kayjay Park located in the Kayjay community.

The fiscal court approved a motion that would authorize the court to file an application for relief funds through the CARES Act.

"The state allotted $300 million to counties, and broke it up [based] on population," explained Mitchell. "This allows us to apply for money that we've spent and used due to the coronavirus."

Similar actions have been taken in other surrounding counties as the effects of the coronavirus and lockdown have been a burden on local governments and entities.

The court also awarded bids for several items and services for the next fiscal year. For crush stone aggregate the court chose the bid from Hanson Aggregates. For hot mix asphalt the court decided to go with Hinkle Contracting. McVey Land Development was the only contractor to bid for the contract of providing the county drainage pipes for the next fiscal year. As a result, the bid was awarded to them. McVey was also awarded the bid for excavator work next year.

The board chose True Contracting for dump truck services and backhoe work. The court went with Burchell Blevins and Sons for bulldozer work. Triple Crown Concrete was the only contractor to bid to supply the county with concrete next year. The bid to haul limestone for the county was awarded to McKeehan Brothers. Hudson Materials was awarded the bid for emulsified asphalt.

The Knox County Fiscal Court also passed a motion approving a request by Alden Resources LLC of Corbin to temporarily close a section of Eaton Fork Road near the Knox and Whitley County line for mineral procurement and subsequent repairing of the road.

"Alden Resources will reconfigure and improve that section of roadway. It's approximately somewhere around .2 mile," Mitchell said.

Judge Mitchell announced that a public hearing was held at 1 p.m. Wednesday prior to the fiscal court's meeting and that no one attended to oppose the project.

"I've been down there a couple evenings, and talked with residents, interviewed them. I haven't found anybody yet that has a problem with it," noted Mitchell. "They will have to advertise and post all the road closings down there, but it will greatly improve that section and change the profile elevation of that road," he continued, later adding, "There's a cemetery right there to the right of where it starts, and they said of course if there are any activities or anything taking place, that they would cease work and not and not be a burden to anybody in the community."

The court also passed a motion approving an emergency budget amendment that comes as a result of a recent audit by Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon's office.

Per the audit, the fiscal court did not budget debt payments related to the Taxable General Obligation Bond Anticipation Refunding Notes, Series 2016.

Instead of budgeting and recording the debt in the hospital sinking fund, the payment of the debt by the Knox County Hospital Taxing District was recorded as a receipt and disbursement in the general fund.

The audit did offer some explanation saying, "The fiscal court was under the impression since the debt is paid directly by the Knox County Hospital Taxing District, they did not have to budget for the debt. The disbursements exceeded budgeted appropriations by $579,198 after the recording of the debt payment."

The aforementioned motion passed by the court rectifies this mistake.

The court also passed a motion allowing the Knox County Detention Center to hire Angelina Elliot as a full-time staff member effective June 1, Steve Jackson as a part-time staff member as of June 2, and John Johnson as a part-time staff member effective June 10.

Officials from the Knox County Detention Center informed the court that in the last week, the detention center has lost two male guards, and one female guard from its staff.

The court also approved the Knox County Detention Center's fee schedule for the next fiscal year, and acknowledged the detention center's report on its canteen account.

The court also approved a motion to hire Mike Taylor as the new 911 Director of the Knox County Dispatch as of June 23, 2020. Patrick Clouse has been acting as the interim 911 Director prior to Taylor's hire.

The court also passed a motion approving a interfund transfer of approximately $1,400 to its general fund. The money has been in an inactive account for the past two years.

"It was a healthcare fund account set up to assist in copays, to offset copay costs," explained Mitchell. "It's in an interest bearing account. We've got close it out before the first of the year, because it's not used anymore. We don't have no activity in it, there's no need to maintain it. So we're going to take that money and put it over into the general fund."

In other county business:

- The court passed a motion approving the second-reading of the budget for the fiscal year 2020/2021.

- A motion was approved to pay the election officers who worked Tuesday's primary elections.

- The court approved the second-reading of changes to the county's administration code. The first-reading occurred during last month's fiscal court meeting. Magistrate Stacey Roark abstained from voting on this issue.

- The court acknowledged the pay rate of Knox County Utility's Board Members rate of $200 per month.

- The court also approved a motion to adjust the rate of pay by an increase of .25 an hour for Lonnie Grubb of the county's road department. Grubb was hired last July and recently finished his probation period.

- The court approved the county attorney's delinquent tax report for May for the amount of $51,796.10

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