Excess fees to go toward new fire tanker

Published 10:07 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Clark County Fiscal Court narrowly voted to set aside $100,000 for a down payment on a new tanker for the county fire department Wednesday.

After Clark County Attorney Brian Thomas turned over $150,000 in excess fees from his office to the fiscal court, Magistrate Sheila McCord made a motion to use $100,000 of that as a down payment on the truck. Doing so would save the county about $40,000 over the course of the expected lease, she said.

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said the fiscal court budgeted $250,000 for a new tanker but had planned to finance the entire amount. Clark County Fire Chief Ernie Barnes said the specifications for the tanker are being developed, and it will have to go through the bid process.

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“I think it’s a good way to spend that money and save the future court about $40,000,” McCord said.

Some magistrates wanted to wait until the truck was ready before spending the money.

“Why not let the next court decide?” Magistrate Joe Graham said.

“Why not do it now?” McCord countered.

“No matter how you dress it, you’re still spending $100,000 of the county’s money,” Magistrate Greg Elkins said.

The court had voted earlier Wednesday to use $50,000 from Thomas’ excess fees to affirm its commitment to the Sphar building project.

“Why not do $150,000 rather than a project we know nothing about?” Graham said.

Branham said McCord’s motion was appropriate because the $150,000 was unanticipated revenue and was not in the county budget.

“I think we’re looking at financial responsibility to the residents,” Branham said. “I think it’s a very responsible thing to do.”

Ultimately, the court voted 4-3, with Elkins, Graham and Daniel Konstantopoulos voting no, to save the funds for the tanker’s down payment.

Earlier in the meeting, the court unanimously approved the purchase of a new Ram crew cab pickup truck as a staff vehicle for the Clark County Fire Department. At the end of the meeting, the court voted 4-3 to give the Clark County Fire Department’s Explorer post $3,000 from the Fiscal Court foundation to fund its trip to Gatlinburg in February to compete. Branham and magistrates Robert Blanton and Pam Blackburn voted no, because it ignored the foundation’s application process for funds.

In other action, the court:

— noted the indigent burials of Ronald McCarty and Lucy Williams.

— approved a request from Main Street Winchester Executive Director Rachel Alexander to invest the county’s $10,000 contribution into the downtown development investment fund.

— voted to accept bypassed sections of Van Meter and Kiddville roads from the Kentucky Department of Transportation.

— approved the annual budgets for the sheriff’s office and county clerk’s office for 2019, along with the maximum salaries for county clerk’s staff.

— declared two Clark County Detention Center vehicles as surplus to be sold by sealed bid.

— approved the first reading of an ordinance to rezone property at 514 E. Broadway St. from agriculture to planned development.

— approved the second reading of a budget amendment ordinance for the fiscal year 2019 budget.

— voted 4-3 to appoint Leanna Comer to the Clark County Extension District Board for a three-year term. Magistrates Graham, Konstantopoulos and Elkins voted no.

— voted 4-3 to reappoint Martha Gaither to the Clark County Extension District Board for a three-year term. Magistrates Graham, Elkins and Konstantopoulos voted no.

— voted 5-2 to reappoint Stefan Fink to the Winchester-Clark County Planning and Zoning Commission for a four-year term. Magistrates Elkins and Graham voted no.

— approved the low bid of $4,300 to remove several downed trees from Stoney Brook Park.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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