In Feb. 11 Issue
While not on the agenda, the February meeting of the Russell County Fiscal Court ended with County Judge Executive Mickey Garner making a motion to designate The Russell Register as the paper in the county with the largest circulation despite having no legal opinion from the county attorney.
Magistrate Steve Bledsoe seconded the motion, which resulted in a 5-1 vote by the court, with Magistrate Greg Popplewell being the only opposition.
Kentucky law requires advertising legal notices be placed in the largest paper in the county, based on the average paid, in-county circulation for the year.
Garner said that earlier Monday he had received a prepared statement with affidavits from Russell Register’s Teresa Kraner and Jamestown Postmaster Richard Shivel which indicated that the Register's paid circulation from October 2009 to the present averaged 3,910 and this newspaper's paid circulation averaged 3,302.
When Popplewell asked the opinion of County Attorney Mark McGaha on the matter, McGaha said it was the first he had seen of the issue and would have to review the documentation before making a determination.
Popplewell then made a motion that the matter be tabled until the next meeting in order for McGaha to delve into the matter further but that was rejected by the ultimate vote of the court.
Speaking on behalf of The Russell Register, local attorney Derrick Helm said the court must decide which newspaper should receive these advertisements based on the in county circulation numbers.
This newspaper's managing editor, Greg Wells, questioned the figures being presented to the court and the wisdom of rushing to a decision at the meeting adding that the Kentucky Press Association still considers the Times Journal to be the largest newspaper in the county.
In other happenings at the meeting:
• The Fiscal Court unanimously approved a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for county road department, county judge's office, recycling center and jail employees.
The raises will take affect when the new fiscal year begins on July 1 and totals approximately $18,000. Sheriff's department and county clerk's office employees had their raises previously factored into their budgets.
• The court approved its yearly donations to the county's four volunteer fire departments, the county rescue squad and the Faubush Fire Department near Jabez.
The Jamestown, Russell Springs, Eli and South Russell Volunteer Fire Departments will receive $7,500 each. The Russell County Rescue Squad is set to receive $5,000 and Faubush will get $3,000.
Garner said this is the same number of dollars given to these entities last year.
• County leaders voted to apply for three "Paint The Town" grants worth around $2,000 each.
If the county is awarded the funds they will be used toward a beautification project outside of the county courthouse. Landscaping, repairs and paint to rails and other improvements will be made with the funding.
The horticulture class at Russell County High School will also be involved in the project by doing general upkeep if the county is awarded the proposed grants.
The county's can donate on top of the grant's monies through in-kind contributions and other donations.
• Rita Johnson and Denzil McGinnis were reappointed to the airport board by the fiscal court. New member John Stivers was also unanimously approved to serve on the board. Stivers will replace former board member Rick Mann who resigned recently due to other obligatory matters.
• The court unanimously voted to transfer $100,000 from the county's general fund to the jail's operational fund. In the jail report the county's average daily population of prisoners was quoted as 55.
• In reconciliation of the County Clerk's accounts Lisha Popplewell presented the court with a check for $105,000.
• Reconciliation of the county's general and road funds resulted in the transfer of, according to the discussion, $300,000 and $400,000 respectively from those accounts previous year's carryover to the present year's budget lines.