In June 19-25 By Greg Wells Times Journal Managing Editor
JAMESTOWN - No decisions, no recommendations, no movement at all came from the Russell County Fiscal Court in regard to the question of whether to build a jail or not.
The members of the court received the report they'd asked for from the consulting company hired to study the options for building a new jail.
Jim Woodrum told the magistrates Monday night that to not build a jail it would cost the county about $1.3 million a year to house its prisoner's in other counties after the state closes this county's present jail.
Jailer Darrell McQueary has said repeatedly that it is only a matter of time before the state closes the Russell County Jail.
Woodrum said that to cover the cost of building a new jail and operating it, they would have to build a 215-bed facility, and occupy it with at least 185 state-paid inmates.
He indicated that such occupancy rates were not an unreasonable expectation.
In the present fiscal year the county is budgeted to spend $500,000 to house county inmates. However, Woodrum said in the previous presentation that County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner has confided to him that the actual expenditure will be between $600,000 and $700,000 this year.
Tim Bradshaw, a deputy jailer with 26-years of law enforcement experience, addressed the court after Woodrum's presentation.
"If this county closes its jail," he told the magistrates. "You are going to be at somebody else's mercy."
He said that without a jail here other counties could and would charge this county a premium to house Russell County prisoners.
Bradshaw suggested that the court form a committee to examine what the county needed and make recommendations on what kind of jail the county needs.
Magistrate Ronald Johnson asked several questions of Woodrum and suggested that building a large new jail would be, in his opinion, "a winning proposition."
No action was taken.
There was action, but no discussion as the county magistrates passed the budget for the coming year.
That budget was read at neither the first nor second "reading" and as of Tuesday was not on display "prominently" anywhere in the courthouse.
The Administrative Code of the Russell County Fiscal Court states that the court members are to review the budget "in detail" in meetings that are to be held before June 1 and that afterwards it is to be posted "in a conspicuous place" for 10 days before it is voted on.
That same legal document, passed by the court in previous sessions, also requires public hearings to be conducted on how the county will spend county road aid funds and that notice of those hearings will be given 30-days and 10-days before the hearings.
That notice is to be printed in the newspaper and by the definition in the code that paper would have been the Times Journal.
No such notice has been published here, in our other paper the Russell County News, nor has it even appeared in the county's smallest publication.
In other business before the court--
New appointments were made to the tourism and library boards by the court. James Gray, manager of the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery and Joey Hoover, law enforcement officer and local radio station manager were appointed to the Russell County Tourism Commission.
Gray replaced Jacky Burton who recently resigned. Hoover, who is Director of the Kentucky State Park Rangers, replaced his mother, Mae Hoover.
Re-appointed to the Russell County Library Board were Sue Navare and Jerry Jones Johnson.
The vote on the Library Board appointments was 4 to 2, with Magistrates Gary Robertson and Steve Bledsoe voting against the recommendations, though they did not say why.
That last re-appointment raised the ire of one of the audience members. Sherie Daniels confronted Garner and the magistrates after the meeting.
Daniels stressed that it was her understanding that all the members of county boards were going to change.
She had been replaced on the Russell County Ambulance Board last year and had said then that the judge had told her the compositions of all the boards in the county would be changed.
The court also approved the budget change to pay for the recently purchased and installed emergency sirens as well as okaying the payments for those warning devices. Court members were told that it cost the county over $13,000 to lease a tri-axle dump truck for the year.
Garner said the lease company would have to add to the money the truck brought at auction, in order to fulfill their agreement.
In that agreement the county leases a new truck for a year and at the end of the year sells it at auction, with a guaranteed minimum from the lease company. The county then pays the difference between the truck's cost and what was raised at the auction.
"I thought the lease was a good idea," Magistrate Steve Bledsoe said. "But it wasn't."
He said he felt the county would be better off purchasing a used dump truck since the payments would be less than what the lease was costing the county and at the end there would be a truck on the county's lot, rather than the auction block.
The concept was generally agreed to by others on the court, but no official action was taken on the matter.
Garner praised the county's recycling program, saying that it was bringing in $5,000 a month more than it cost the county to operate.
Earlier in the meeting H.M. Bottom told the court that a state grant was paying most of the cost of two new mobile recycling trailers.
They are to be located where the public can drop off recyclables for the county to deal with.
Garner brought up the program again saying the county needs several more dumpsters to be located at businesses that send the county recyclables.
He suggested and the court agreed that they be built in-house at a cost of less than $1,000 each rather than purchasing them at a cost of between $1,800 and $2,500 each.
The court also approved $1,725 for two new computers and printers. The computers are slated for the staff in the judge's office and the printers along with the old computers are needed to operate the finger-print time clocks the court purchased recently, Garner told the court.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629