Several items were addressed during the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Fiscal Court on Monday, Oct. 14. Highlights of the meeting are listed as follows.
• Commenting on the ongoing roadside cleanup projects across the county, McKenzie insisted our community be held more accountable for roadside litter. “Route 40, the section from the main intersection to the hospital, they have picked up three times this year and each time no less than 20 bags. Each time. I think we are going to have to start emphasizing personal responsibility and we are going to have to start emphasizing enforcement, because we are never going to gain traction in this community until we start taking responsibility and enforcing the situation.” The fiscal court will be addressing this more in the future.
• Additional grant funding has been applied for the sewer line extension project that will run south on U.S. 23 from the Hager Hill area. In addition to the Abandoned Mine Lands grant already awarded for the project, the court has applied for a $750,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. McKenzie noted that the City of Paintsville would also be involved in the application process for the ARC funding.
• The JCFC reported they have also applied for a grant for $10,000 (with a 20 percent) match to take care of to address some of the steps and landing area in front of the Fiscal Courthouse. “It’s a safety grant,” said McKenzie, “We believe that there are some issues out there that can be addressed through this.”
• A grant application, filed earlier in the year in partnership by the JCFC and the City of Paintsville through the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security to enhance radio communications for the sheriff’s office and the city police, has been awarded. “We just found out yesterday that we were awarded that grant,” said Judge McKenzie. “It’s going to enhance their capabilities from first responders standpoint.” After the meeting had closed, Regina Hall offered some clarification on what the funding would provide. “In addition to the new repeater and the linkage between the new repeater and the existing repeater, the city police get ten vehicular repeaters and the Johnson County Sheriff’s gets ten vehicular repeaters.”
• The 2020 motor vehicle & watercraft tax rate was set at 12.9 cents per $100 value assessed. “I’ve been told it has been this same rate for several years,” said McKenzie. The court voted that rate to remain the same.
• The fire acreage tax rate of two cents per acre, regarding properties with hillside of 11 or more acres, will also remain the same as in prior years. The court approved to ratify that rate, which is set by the state. The two cents will go toward fire protection of that hillside acreage.
• The conservation tax rate, which is not set by the fiscal court, was acknowledged and ratified at 8 cents per $100 assessed value. It will also remain the same as the prior year.
• Blacktopping for road projects that will be funded by grants will begin this week.
• Gary McClure, director of Paintsville/ Johnson County Emergency Management, gave his monthly update. During his update he thanked the First Baptist Church on College Street in Paintsville for hosting a cookout in appreciation of first responders on the anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. “Everybody appreciated what the church done for us that evening.”
McClure also noted that emergency management have continued to work as a group effort to complete safety drills throughout schools in the county.
He also reported that no major incidents or concerns took place during the Kentucky Apple Festival.
McClure then commented on the free Narcan training recently provided at the Johnson County Health Department, which was open to the public and local law enforcement agencies. The training allowed participants, including first responders, to leave with two doses of the drug, which can reverse the effects of an opiod overdose. “The next evening, I think the city police had to put that training to use,” said McClure. “We appreciated the health department and them talking to us on that.”
• Lara Pack, president of the Paintsville/ Johnson County Garden Club, was also present during the meeting to propose a grant for funding related to county-entry signs (i.e. “Welcome to Johnson County” signs.) “It has to be submitted by midnight tonight, so I apologize for the late hour,” said Pack. “The max on the grant is $1,000. I have priced signs and had them estimated by Ward Signs and have been assured by the Garden Club of Kentucky that, if submitted, the grant would likely be approved. However, it will cost more than $1,000 to get this done,” Pack continued.
“We have proposed to have one where the Christ Stapleton sign is currently on the Johnson County line on 460, and then the other two on 23 — one entering from the north and one entering from the south.”
Judge McKenzie said, “It would just be another nice addition for the community to have those welcome signs when you roll in here. Right now we don’t have any.”
• The date and time of Halloween Trick-or-Treat was set for the citizens of Johnson County from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m Thursday, Oct. 31 .