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County keeps farm animal removal program

Clark County is keeping its dead farm animal removal program, but the cost to the county is going up significantly.

Wednesday, the Clark County Fiscal Court approved a contract with Conboy Enterprises for a rate of $90 per animal.

Clark County Judge-Executive Chris Pace said the previous provider went out of business and sold to Conboy. The previous contract was a flat $46,000 per year.

Magistrate Greg Elkins said based on an average of 1,200 animals collected per year, the cost to the county would more than double to $108,000.

Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos estimated a “bad winter” could lead to upwards of 2,000 animal deaths.

Pace said the county received a second bid with a lower per-animal rate, but required the county to pay for the dump fee.

“If worse comes to worst, we could dip into out rainy day fund,” Pace said. “We have a community potentially in crisis.”

The contract did not have a set length or term, and the magistrates decided to continue looking at other options.

“This is a good Band-Aid to get us through the end of the (fiscal) year,” Elkins said.

The court also approved the second reading of an ordinance to amend the county’s administrative code. The code includes a number of changes, including increasing the starting salary for new county firefighters and limiting the amount of comp time employees can accumulate.

Magistrate Travis Thompson voted against the measure, saying he was concerned about retaining current firefighters because the pay increase was not unilateral, among other things.

“I think the fire department part is the most iffy,” Magistrate Robert Blanton said. “My fear is it will end up costing us more in the long run.”

Elkins said the county had increased salaries in the fire department in the last five years.

“It is what we needed to do,” Elkins said. “I don’t feel this is unfair to anybody.”

Pace said the new code is in line with state laws about accumulated compensation, which limited compensatory time to 240 hours for regular employees and 480 hours for hazardous duty employees.

Magistrate Chris Davis said there were instances where employees built up thousands of hours of comp time, which the county then paid out when the employee left.

The measure passed 6-1.

The court also approved mandatory 2.3 percent raises for the judge-executive, coroner and jailer, as included in state law. The original motion included the county attorney in the increase, but Clark County Attorney William Elkins asked that he be excluded, as his office is not mentioned in the statute. The magistrates also voted 4-3 not to take the increase.

Pace said state statute offered the option to make a donation to the county equal to the increase, since they are not allowed to reject the increase. Pace said he intended to make a donation to the county.

In other action the court:

— approved a request for a road closure for the Rally4Recovery in September.

— heard a presentation about marking the sites of Clark County’s schools.

— appointed Jerry Cecil ad Dodd Dixon to the Winchester-Clark County Heritage Commission.

— appointed Don McCarty to the administrative hearing board.

— appointed John Wilson to the tax appeals board.

— appointed Ernest Pasley to the East Clark County Water District board.

— re-appointed Debbie Fatkin to the Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation board.

— approved a resolution for the county road aid cooperative program.

— approved a street closure request for the Alexis Thompson Memorial 5K in June.

— approved a quote from Intelligent IT to install cable in the courthouse.

— appointed Magistrate Joe Graham to the jail committee in place of Greg Elkins.

About Fred Petke

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

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