During the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Fiscal Court on Monday, Feb. 10, Johnson Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie preceded the court’s agenda commenting on the progress the county made in 2019 and some of their plans for the future.

He first discussed the flash flooding and river flooding in February of 2019 that left the county with  $976,000 in damage at an estimated 122 sites.

“That’s really how we kind of began our year, for the most part,” said McKenzie. “Emergency management provided great coordination during those efforts. The volunteer fire department performed rescue and recovery. The road department obviously responded well, and, obviously, 911 helped communicate in a lot of ways that helped save people’s lives.”

He noted that the fiscal court would continue providing support to the county’s volunteer fire departments in the upcoming year.

“The fiscal court anticipates continuing to assist with funding. We also want to find ways to help them with the recruitment of volunteers and ways to sustain those departments for the future. They suffer from two areas that most organizations like there’s suffer from, which are participation and funding,” said McKenzie. “While they are their own entities and operate outside of the fiscal court, we obviously support them because they support our residents, they support us.”

He also stated that the road projects and FEMA projects related to last February’s disaster are nearly complete.

Next he boasted that the road department was awarded discretionary and flex funding from the state for $527,773 in road projects and $150,000 in emergency funding to replace a failed bridge on Ky 40 last year and he commended the road department employees for their mowing and tree-trimming efforts.

McKenzie also commended solid waste management efforts led by Monica Spriggs and Steve Rose and commented on several grants that were awarded to the county to apply towards these efforts.

Furthermore, he discussed the plan to establish mandatory garbage pickup countywide that will be completed this year, stating, “There’s been a direct relationship to under-enrollment and areas where we have illegal dumps, so it’s obvious that we need to address that issue.”

Thealka Park was also discussed during the meeting, with McKenzie stating that the county had been chosen for a Lowe’s Hero Project grant program to provide additional upgrades to the park.

“That’s a program that Lowe’s supports that we were able to find out about,” McKenzzie said. “We gave them a proposal and they accepted it. Hopefully that will happen in the spring, that they will do additional upgrades on behalf of the county out there. We want to remind everyone that Thealka Park and the county’s other park at Oil Springs both have shelter facilities that are available to rent all through the year, so please keep that in mind.”

Next McKenzie celebrated grant funding received by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department for new equipment and an SUV and the Johnson County Coroner for a new truck to better suit his needs.

McKenzie then commended court administrators for their efforts last year and discussed grant funding that allowed them to make several upgrades to the courthouse building.

Next he announced that a public meeting regarding the county’s flood wall project will be held in March and he also discussed economic development plans for the county regarding industrial development, a $6.6 million sewer project and the finalization of the community strategic plan being developed by the City of Paintsville and Johnson County. The final draft of that project will be revealed on Feb. 24 at the Country Music Highway Museum, McKenzie stated.

McKenzie pointed out that, overall, the county had received a combined total of $10.5 million in grant funding in 2019.

Finally, he announced that the fiscal court would be unveiling a new website in the coming weeks.

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