Clark County Fiscal Court Tackles Broadband Expansion, Pay Raises

Clark County Fiscal Court made many decisions during a quick meeting that lasted about a half hour Wednesday morning.

Among the highlights, the court approved plans to request quotations from broadband carriers to expand access to roughly 300 households at various ends of the county that have limited to non-existent internet. After the quotations are submitted, the court will know more about how much any broadband expansion plans are going to cost — a figure that may be partially defrayed by American Rescue Plan funds held in county coffers.

In other news, magistrates approved maximum allowable salary authorizations — cost of living adjustments — as defined by state Department of Local Government for 2022 for County Judge/Executive ($112,291.50); County Jailer ($112,291.50); County Sheriff ($112,291.50) and County Clerk ($112,291.50).

And magistrates did the same with the county attorney and coroner, who got a 7 percent raise. When it came to doing the same for magistrates, they opted to wait until such a salary increase is officially codified by state administrative code.

“Since this was implemented where we started to having to vote on it, I don’t think it is appropriate for us to vote on that,” Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos said. “I think it needs to be done in administrative code at some point for a future court.”

During magistrates’ comments, Magistrate Robert Blanton suggested that ARPA funds assist with ongoing efforts by the City of Winchester to develop a splash pad at the site of the former Eugene Gay pool. Blanton’s put forth a motion that sought ARPA funds of $250,000 toward the venture.

However, due to discussions regarding county finances (lost revenue from 2021 because of the pandemic as it relates to allowed ARPA expenditures) Blanton withdrew his motion.

“I do want you to be aware that this is a project that is very needed and we need to address it at some point,” he said.

During Magistrate Chris Davis’ comments, he noted that there is a Sanitary Sewer Board meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 17 within the court’s chambers. Davis said Kentucky American Water is prepared to make a presentation. He noted the main focus of the board has been Rockwell Road, in particular Yorktown which has a very aging sewage treatment plant owned and operated by the homeowners association since the 1970s.

“We’re trying to get that plant decommissioned — taken off service as quickly as possible, but we have to have a way to treat their sewage,” Davis said. “That’s been the focus of the Sewer Board during the last several months; last year or so. We’ll be talking more about that and hearing what Kentucky American has to say.”

In other business, the court increased the county’s contribution for indigent burials from $800 to $900. A coffin costs around $800 with the remaining $100 to be paid for burial.

“There’s probably a loss at the end of the day but not near what they have been taking,” Magistrate Travis Thompson said.

Davis added, “I know for the past couple of years they have been doing this at a loss. We can’t expect a local business to do anything for us at a loss.

On a related note, the county approved funds for the burial of Heinke Hackbarth, who died Jan. 4, 2022.

Lastly, the court approved hiring a new animal control office; pay at $17 per hour.