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Fiscal Court Discusses Severe Weather Damage, Approves Justice Center Bid

 

fiscalcourt5 300HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (3/7/12)—During Hopkins County’s Fiscal Court meeting yesterday, March 5th, members of the court and the county’s EMA Director, Frank Wright, discussed last week’s severe weather and its effect on our region, approved a Justice Center bid, and voted to pass several funding-based resolutions.

Though area residents reported funnel cloud sightings in and around the county last Friday, March 2nd, Wright explained to the court that evidence suggested the damages resulted from “straight-line winds” and “micro-bursts” rather than tornados.

“Saturday morning [March 3rd], I went up in a helicopter and we spent about two-and-a-half hours up there, and we found no signs of any tornadic activity—no path, no twisted disturbance, or any other signs that a tornado would leave behind,” said Wright. “I think we just had straight-line winds, micro-bursts, and hail damage here in Hopkins County. We faired very, very well in comparison to other counties throughout state.”

Wright went on to mention that Hopkins County remains listed as being in a “state of emergency,” yet explained our community has not required surplus services via that outlet at this time.

While the county seems to have been relatively well-prepared for this incident, the court reminds the public to sign up for the county-wide emergency notification system, Code RED, if not already enrolled. Those registered in the system receive warning of severe weather or other dangerous situations via phone calls or text messages before it happens courtesy of the county. To register with the Code RED system, please visit the county’s official site by clicking here. The Hopkins County government center and the Hopkins County EMA may be contacted at the following numbers for assistance as well: Govt. Center, (270) 821-8294; HC EMA, (270) 821-5717.

Though local damage was comparatively minor when looking at other communities in and out of the state, the court went on to mention information that was received from the Kentucky Department of Insurance regarding additional assistance for area property owners who saw losses as a result of the storm system. Alongside preparation tips, the organization also offers insight on what to do after natural disasters occur. To learn more about these matters, how to file a claim, how to locate an insurance agent, and beyond, simply visit this link: http://insurance.ky.gov/. You may also contact the Kentucky Department of Insurance’s Consumer Protection Division at the following telephone numbers: 1-800-595-6053 (in KY); 1-502-564-3630 (out of state); or 1-800-648-6056 (for deaf/hard-of-hearing).

In other new business, the court accepted bids from LINC Government Services out of Hopkinsville, KY. The bids cover contracted maintenance, repair services, and custodial duties at the new Hopkins County Justice Center near downtown Madisonville. The county accepted a bid of $133,223, plus an additional reimbursable amount of $18,000 (materials and services) for an overall total of $153,223 in maintenance and repair services. A custodial bid was also accepted via LINC totaling in at $102,912, which was listed as fully reimbursable.

Beyond the bad weather and Justice Center bids, though, the court also approved and passed several funding-based resolutions for civic and service-based groups via current and available coal severance monies. A list and brief description of each is as follows:

Resolution 2012-05: A total of $60,000 in severance funds will be allocated to the Hopkins County Fair and Ballard Convention Center Board of Directors to complete new renovations at the site, which members explained will allow for more rentable space.

Resolution 2012-06: A total of $12,400 in severance funds will be allocated to Madisonville’s Downtown Turnaround Partnership for the costs of materials in future downtown Madisonville renovation and clean-up projects. The Downtown Turnaround Partnership is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization.

Resolution 2012-07: A total of $45,000 in severance funds will be allocated to the Dawson Springs Museum and Art Center Project. As stated by officials of the court, this funding will be used for repairs/renovations to the structure’s exterior walls and roof, as both currently display damages.

Resolution 2012-08: A total of $9,215 in severance funds will be allocated to the Mortons Gap Fire Department as a 10% match to the awarded Homeland Security “Regional Foam Grant.” This grant and the subsequent matching funds will help supply all regional fire departments in our area, including those that are volunteer-based, with foam used in tandem with water for more efficient fire suppression.

Resolution 2012-09: A total of $75,290 in severance funds will be allocated to the Earlington Volunteer Fire Department as a 10% match to the awarded Homeland Security “Assistance to Firefighters Grant.” As officials stated, the grant and matching funds will go toward establishing a digital, narrow band radio frequency, while also providing the required radios to all regional units.

Resolution 2012-10: A total of $535,000 in severance funds will be allocated for a bid regarding the county’s Public Works building. The accepted bid will cover the completion of the aforementioned building’s construction.

In other news, the court also approved a bid with Crown Contracting & Paving for the widening of rural Wolfe Hollow Rd. in Nebo, KY. The bid totals $246,514, which Judge-Executive Donnie Carroll explained is $153,000 less than what the state allocated in funding for the project. However, the remaining “surplus” will not be attained by the county; it will be retained by the state.

For senior citizens, the court approved a first reading of a new ordinance relating to volunteer fire department “subscriber fees.” If ultimately passed, the ordinance would state that “any property owner over the age of 65 or on Homestead or Disability Exemption be exempt from opting out every year.” As explained, the ordinance will keep seniors from having to return each year to opt out of volunteer fire department subscriber fees. Under the amendment, a single, one-time visit will suffice.

As the Earlington Volunteer Fire Department’s Board of Directors was short a member, Magistrate Bill Groves urged the court to appoint a new member—Roger Osburn. The motion was approved without further discussion.

Luke Short
SurfKY News

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