Several agenda items were discussed during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Fiscal Court (JCFC) on Sept. 9. These announcements and approvals included:

• An energy efficiency grant of $100,000 was awarded to the JCFC for upgrades to the fiscal court building. “Basically, it’s going to allow us to save money and cost and overall savings to county operations,” said Judge/Executive Mark McKenzie.

• During the SOAR conference held on Sept. 5 and 6, Johnson County was awarded a $4 million Abandoned Mine Lands grant for a sewer line extension project. McKenzie said, “That project is going to be used to construct sewer expansion that will help free up sewer capacity on the Paintsville waste water plant and divert waste to the Honey Branch waste water plant” and that “It’s going to help us with economic development opportunities along U.S. 23 south and it’s also going to help potentially address package plants along that sewer line route, so we’ve got economic benefits and environmental benefits as well.”

McKenzie also noted that the City of Paintsville and the JCFC worked together on obtaining this award.

• Hazard mitigation funds were awarded by Kentucky Emergency Management and FEMA to correct drainage problems at Homestead Estates (where the county garage is located) and the area of Church Drive/ Ceramic Drive (near Tom’s Creek Freewill Baptist Church).

There will be a public meeting open to homeowners in the county who have had repetitive issues with flooding on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in the fiscal courtroom to learn more about this voluntary acquisition program.

• It was announced that, to date, Johnson County Solid Waste Management has collected more than 2,100 bags of garbage across 106 miles of roadside.

• The bridge at Trimble Lane, just past the Paintsville Lake spillway, will be replaced by state funding. The JCFC advertised as required  for bids to construct a new bridge, but no bids had been received by the Sept. 9 deadline.

Furthermore, a temporary easement agreement between the county and Western Construction has been approved. Because the company owns property that is accessible by the bridge, they have been permitted to build a temporary bridge structure so long as they hold the county harmless for any liability that may occur there.

• The Natural Resource Conservation Service will give funding to assist with a slide that impacted the road and creek in the Middle Fork area of Greasy.

• Roadside mowing is now on the third and final round of the season. Tree and brush trimming will continue throughout the year.

• The 2019 Farm and Home Field Day will be held this Saturday, Sept. 14 at Gary and April Davis’ Pick and Play Pumpkin Farm on Rt. 201 at the Lawrence/Johnson County line beginning at 2 P.M.

• Governor Matt Bevin will visit the Country Music Highway Museum on Wednesday, Sept. 11 to announce funding for additional road projects throughout the county.

• There is a new job opportunity through GDIT for customer service representatives that receive government inbound calls and offer customer support for government clients. The 70 job positions offered are for Monday through Friday shifts, closed on the weekends and holidays, pay well above minimum wage, and offer benefit packages. The GDIT hub will be located on the Mayo campus of BSCTC. In order for the company to come to the area, 100 applicants are needed.

Judge/Executive Mark McKenzie said, “This is something already in place in Cumberland and Hazard with 50 employees and 63 employees respectively. This is a legitimate opportunity for employment, but we need folks who are interested to make sure they apply.”

• The JCFC accepted the 2018 tax settlement statements of the outgoing sheriff’s office.

• The JCFC appointed Seth Carter and Tom Salyer as trustees to the library board and reappointed Terry Preston to the Johnson County Housing Authority for another four-year term.

• The court approved a contract with East Kentucky Votes for election programming services for the November 2019 elections.

• Emergency Management Director Gary McClure announced that first responders had visited Flat Gap Elementary and completed fire, tornado, earthquake, and active shooter drills with students. These drills will continue throughout the year at other schools in the area.

• McClure also announced that the First Baptist Church in Paintsville will hold a recognition cookout for first responders on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy at 6 p.m. McClure said, “This is something that’s close to everybody’s hearts, especially first responders.”

• CEDIK, a part of the University of Kentucky, has been hired as a consultant to come up with a plan to improve the community along with a steering committee appointed by the City of Paintsville. Funding for the project comes from a grant for a Community Strategic Plan. Judge/ Executive McKenzie said the plan “can talk about anything from tourism to beautification, culture, arts, heritage ... All the things outside of traditional economic development. The plan will be completed over the next four months.

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