Chad McCann, vice president at Rivercrest Engineering, updated the Marshall County Fiscal Court on Tuesday on the varying water projects throughout the county. The sewer project will break ground on Sept. 7. This will include an extension of underground piping along U.S. Highway 641, spanning from the industrial park to the pad-ready site there. McCann notes that this will open that area for future development.
Two Hardin water projects are awaiting approval for an outstanding easement from a property owner and for permission from the division of water, which will take an estimated three weeks.They will be ready to put out a bid for materials soon.
The Oak Level water projects have received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community there, but did not receive grant funding.
In contrast, the Calvert City water project was awarded full grant funding through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA). Over $1 million dollars were approved, and this will help to free up money for the North Marshall water project, replacing piping in the Cambridge Shores area.
Tammy Blackwell brought an update on the work of the Marshall County Public Library, since reopening post-covid.
They totally moved into their new Benton facility at 1150 Birch Street and have since sold their old building at 1003 Poplar Street. They are using the money on capital improvement projects throughout their branches, including creating a better drainage system and sidewalk replacement at Hardin, improvements to the meeting room at Calvert City, and adding an outdoor meeting space in Benton, at the cross of 11th Street and Birch Street.
They have worked tirelessly applying for grant monies and have received $3,709 in the past fiscal year, using those funds for the implementation of hotspots, providing employee education, and creating a biking program.
The MCPL is all about making their services accessible to the whole community, and they have implemented several programs that do just that, including:
- A hotspot lending program, providing quick and reliable internet service. This has been a huge hit within the community, initially beginning with 50 hotspots and working to add an additional 100, through grant funding.
- After-hours pickup became available at all branches.
- Handicap accessible benches were added to all branches.
- The books-by-mail program began, providing those with difficulty traveling a way to receive literary materials.
- Creating temporary resident and digital access cards to those without a permanent home address.
- In-person programs have also fully resumed. The library has had 16,717 attend their programming since March. The average is 47 people per program, whereas pre-Covid the programs averaged 25 attendees per program.
- Increasing lending times on DVDs.
- Eliminating late fees. Blackwell notes that late fees actually disproportionately affect children in poverty, and since implementing this standard the library has actually saved money and eliminated a barrier for those who are unable to pay a late fee.
- The library recently offered a real ID pop-up and hopes to do that again in the future.
- Aided in offering 6,300 free meals to the community during their summer programming, with help from the Marshall County School District.
- Their online library, where ebooks and audiobooks are accessible for free, garnered a lot of attention. They recorded 23, 680 digital audiobooks were downloaded in the last year and 32,020 ebooks were also downloaded.
Laura Matula, with ER Assist, discussed grant funding and debris removal with the court, updating them on what still needs to be done.
The final submission for FEMA reimbursement is September 7, and Matula has the application in order to send and receive payment.
Marshall County will be asking Natural Resources Conservation Services for an eight-month extension on stream debris removal. The date was originally October 2, but since the scope of work was not received until last week they will not have time to complete that project within the original time frame. This will be paid for through SAFE grant funding, which will be given to the North Marshall Water District to replace water lines in the Cambridge Shores area before laying new asphalt. Judge Executive Kevin Neal will be presenting a plan at the Sept. 20 meeting to account for funding of the plan related to the remainder of the North Marshall Water District.
Matula asked for approval to allow for the procurement of resources related to debris removal through the NRCS grant to remove stream debris, the court carried the motion and they will be looking for contractors to remove debris.
The court held a public hearing for the road review. They passed the motion to take a portion of Walton Lane out of the county maintenance program, and require further deliberation to instate the paved portion of Crooked Oak Loop into the county maintenance program, as per the request of the eight residents in that area.
Neal wanted to transfer $20,000 from the budget of the deputy judge executive to the legal aid fund, but was opposed by District Three Commissioner Monti Collins and District Two Commissioner Kevin Spraggs. Neal says there is a conflict of interest in the two federal court cases the county is fielding, and it would be in the county’s best interest to allocate funds for additional legal counsel. Collins strongly opposed this until further discussion was had, as did Spraggs, while District One Commissioner Justin Lamb opted, instead, not to micromanage Neal’s office. The vote was 50-50, Neal and Lamb voting for the motion, and Spraggs and Collins voting against. The motion was not carried.
In other news, the court also approved:
- August personnel changes.
- The minutes for August 16 meeting, August 16 public hearing, August 25 special called meeting.
- The Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau will be working with the county attorney to re-draft ordinances 2013-08 and 2019-07 related to transient tax.
- Bryan Cutsinger, Emergency Management Services, will begin the application process for the KOHS Grant 20-173 FY2020.
- Advertising for bids in preparation of the 2022 audit.
- Onsolve and Code Red.
- Bid opening for engineering of the tornado shelter.
- Tax rates- the court will accept the compensating rate of 8.9% on real estate, tangible, and personal properties.
- Keeping the property at 1713 Golf Course Road.
- Bills and claims.
- KYEM FEMA grant.
- Insurance contract with Peel and Holland, and will also be moving to Employee Navigator. The dental program will move from Delta Dental to Paramount dental for county employees.
- Re-publish the bid for the community shelter safe rooms.
- Denial of BFW Engineering’s proposal for a community shelter safe room.
- Reapplication for a SAFE grant to clear waterway debris in theCambridge Shores area. They will now be asking for $400,000, rather than the aforementioned $200,000.