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Adair County Fiscal Court August 9, 2005 monthly meeting

  • Jail has record billings, huge rosanear harvest
  • Sheriff Cheatham getting cruisers, losing personnel; wants Merit Board
  • Sheriff says he'll be a candidate for re-election
  • Economic development consultant says city has "suspect" for manufacturing plant
  • Bills approved despite bill which bugs official
  • Road work, financial report unanimously approved; no court orders, no budget transfers
  • Approval given to resolution for surfacing roads
  • First reading given to speed limits for Miller Subdivision roads
  • Other business

By Ed Waggener
Adair County Fiscal Court, in its regular monthly meeting August 9, 2005, got good news from the jail operation, good news on economic development progress, and heard the news that the Sheriff's cruisers will be in this month. The court expanded areas with speed limits. Members of the Court learned of a disagreement with the City of Columbia over a recruiting raid on the sheriff's department. And, already, the busy court heard from Judge Vaughan that a special called meeting is needed to deal with the tax rate, a new transfer station contract, and the animal shelter.

County Judge Jerry Vaughan presided, with all magistrates and most county officials present on a night when the Courthose Square was filled with cars staying late for District Court and coming early to "The Dukes of Hazzard," at the Columbian Theatre.

And the Sheriff became one of the first county officials to officially state that he is a candidate for re-election.

Jail has record billings, huge rosanear harvest

Adair County Regional Jailer William "Bug" Knight reported a record total monthly budget of $73,241.69 for the month of July, 2005.

Adair County's portion was $18,686,00 for 926 inmate days, leaving a total billed of $47,395.83. With $2,052.83 in booking fees, $136.04 medical, and $5,165.09, there was a total of $61,908.91 to be billed.

Besides Adair County's 926 inmate days, the jail billed Russell County for 750 days, Cumberland County for 679; the jail also billed for 407 Class D inmate days, for 289 Controlled Intake inmate days, for 99 Class C Inmate days, and for 24 Parole Violator days.

Jailer Knight reported a harvest of 480 ears of sweet corn harvested from the jail's four acre garden in the Green River Industrial Park. The food is consumed at the jail, he said.

Mr. Knight reported that at least one inmate told the judge he didn't want to leave the jail because he, the inmate, had never had as good food as he's eating at the jail now.

"Watermelons will be in soon," he told the court. And, in answer to a question from Magistrate J.M. Shelley, Mr. Knight said that he does plan to have the garden again next year. "It's a big success," he said.

Jailer Knight reported that he expects the new Minimum Security Facility, which will be located in the old EMS building, to be operational in two-and-one-half months.

He said that the sprinkler system problem is being worked out.

Judge Vaughan said that he will be talking to the City about annexing the area around the new facility and furnishing sewers.

Sheriff Cheatham getting cruisers, losing personnel

The court okayed, 7-0, Sheriff Steve Cheatham's Sheriffs Report. Sheriff Cheatham reported that $5,545.65 in franchise taxes were collected in July and that the Sheriff's Department is completing the purchase of four new cruisers with the help Rural Development Loans. The cruisers are expected this month.

But the sheriff reported that the City Police Department had raided his department, taking two deputies from the overworked Sheriff's Department.

"I don't want you take it up this time, but I believe you need to reconsider the Sheriff's Merit Board I proposed earlier," Sheriff Cheatham told the court.

"The Sheriff's office continues to be a training facility for the City," he said.

With the last deputy to make the move, Sheriff said, a contract was broken. The contract stated, Sheriff Cheatham said, that the policeman would stay with the Sheriff's Department for three years after the County paid for the officer's training at the Police Academy in Richmond.

Sheriff Cheatham said that he had asked County Attorney Jennifer Hutchison-Corbin to request the city pay the county for the broken contract. "The statutes read that the hiring party will be responsible for the damages in case an officer breaks the contract."

The county attorney said that she had written to both Mayor Patrick R. Bell and City Police Chief Mark Harris requesting the reimbursement for the cost of the officer's training, but, she said, "We haven't gotten any response yet."

The four months of training is paid for by the state, but the city pays the officer's salary during the four month period, and must hire a replacement during the period or pay overtime to other officers. Sheriff Cheatham estimates that the cost to the city was about $7-8,000, pro-rated for the approximately two years (of the contract's three years) the officer did not fulfill.

"The reason the officers leave is that they get job security at the City. With the sheriff's department, they are subject to the political changes which can occur at every election," Sheriff Cheatham said. "I don't blame them for leaving."

"That's why I want a Sheriff's Department Merit Board, to give deputies job security. It's not a Democrat-Republican thing. It's a matter of job security for employees. Police can make a career at the City. They work from election to election in the Sheriff's Department, so when they get a chance to get a City job, they bail."

The sheriff said that, despite the problems over the deputy raid, he still wants to maintain good relations with the City of Columbia Police Department.

He noted that, in all, he's lost five trained employees to other governmental unit outside the county. And, he noted, he'd just lost an office person to the County Attorney's office.

Senior Magistrate Wid Harris (District 2), said, "I think we ought to revisit this idea," but no action was taken on a Sheriff's Department Merit Board at the meeting, nor was the matter scheduled for a future one.Sheriff says he'll be a candidate for re-election

Sheriff Cheatham said that despite the difficulties, he will be a candidate for re-election in 2006.

Economic development consultant says city has "suspect" for manufacturing plant

Chief Economic Development consultant for the Columbia-Adair County Industrial Development Authority, Martin Jones, Bowling Green, gave a report to the court.

Martin Jones, the chief consultant for the Adair County Industrial Development Authority, gave the court an overview of the group's activities.

"There are a lot of communities who don't have what we have to offer," he noted, citing the new road work in the county, the new industrial park, and the authority.

Mr. Jones said that now, thanks to Alltel, high speed internet is available at the Columbia-Adair County Green River Industrial Park.

"All-in-all," he said, "we've got a lot to offer. From what I've seen, I'm excited."

He said that the Economic Development Cabinet in Frankfort has been kept up to date on what is going on, but the Cabinet won't be depended on solely to secure new jobs.

"We'll be going after plants, call centers, and centers of distribution," he told the court, "through direct contact as well."

He said that the authority won't depend so much on site visitors as would once have been the case. "Today, we need to depend more on the internet and print packages to get the word out to prospects," he said, and promised that work will be done on the Development Authority's web site and printed material. "We hope to even have a magazine as part of the promotinal package," he said.

Mr. Jones said that the authority has at least one "suspect" who is interested in coming to town. This lead involves a manufacturing plant, he said.

He also said that the Authority would be advertising for an Administrative Assistant to replace Stacey Bailey, who resigned to take a job in another job.

Bills approved despite bill which bugs official

The magistrates voted unanimously to approve the payment of the county bills, as presented, but agreed to talk with Shoffner Pest Control about complaints by County Attorney Jennifer Hutchison-Corbin that the Old Courthouse has bugs.

"I'd ask you to postpone paying the bill," Mrs. Hutchison-Corbin had requested. "They may be spraying the halls," she said, "but they haven't been in my office or in the Child Support office.

Judge Vaughan agreed with a recommendation by Magistrate J.M. Shelley that Mr. Shoffner should be consulted about the matter before the county withheld any payments, and the Magistrates agreed, on a motion by Mr. Shelley, seconded by Magistrate Billy Dean Coffey, that the bill should be paid and the situation in the old courthouse should be taken up with Mr. Shoffner.

Road work, financial report unanimously approved; no court orders, no budget transfers

Two items, road work and the financial report, were approved unanimously, without discussion, and there were no court orders or budget transfers to consider.

Another agenda item, the C.O.L.T. lease for the Sheriff's cruisers, did not need another vote, Judge Vaughan said, and was not taken up at the meeting.

Approval given to resolution for surfacing roads

Judge Vaughan asked for a resolution to sign an agreement with the Transportation Cabinet for surfacing county roads, and this resolution received a 7-0 vote of approval.

Speed limit of 25 MPH for Miller Subdivision

The court approved and gave lst Reading to a 25 MPH speed limit for three roads in the Miller Subdivison in District 7, requested by Magistrate Terry Farris and recommended by County Disaster Coordinator Mary Allender.

The roads are Winter Park, Summer Hill, and Snow Crest. "They're speeding like crazy on these roads," Mr. Farris said. Autumn Loop, another street in the subdivision, was not included at this time because a speeding problem hasn't been noted there, the magistrate said.

Mrs. Allender also brought up the matter of Hickory Nut Lane, a private passage lane, for inclusion in the county road system, and it approved 7-0 on a motion by Magistrate Wid Harris, seconded by Magistrate Billy Dean Coffey.

A second reading was given for the Arnold Curry Road.

Other business

In other business, the county approved:
  • An extension of the transfer station contract by 60 days. "A new contract will have to be negotiated," Judge Vaughan said in requesting the extension, which was unanimously approved.

  • A resolution to accept the national Incident Management System standardization. The vote was 7-0.
Judge Vaughan also advised the court that a new sign machine will need to be bought. The cost, he said, will likely be around $6,500.

He also told the magistrates to expect a special called meeting, tentatively set for August 18, 2005, at 8:00 a.m., to discuss three items: 1) The transfer station contract, 2) The Animal Shelter, and 3) The tax rate.
Fiscal court meets each 2nd Tuesday of each month, at 7:00 p.m. in the Adair County Courthouse Annex

Adair County Magistrates:
  • District 1: Roger Stephens
  • District 2: Wid Harris
  • District 3: Tony Loy
  • District 4: J.M. Shelley
  • District 5: Billy Dean Coffey
  • District 6: Joe Rogers
  • District 7: Terry Farris

Adair County Judge Jerry Vaughan
Adair County Deputy Judge Gail Cowan
Adair County Attorney Jennifer Hutchison-Corbin
Adair County Coroner Rick Wilson
Adair County Court Clerk Ann Melton
Adair County Circuit Court Clerk Dennis Loy
Adair County Disaster Coordinator Mary Allender
Adair County Jailer William "Bug" Knight
Adair County PVA Wm. Feese, Jr.
Adair County Sheriff Steve Cheatham
Adair County Surveyor Mike McKinney

This story was posted on 2005-08-09 23:07:08
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