Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tobacco-ban to affect Webster County courthouse

J-E News Editor
Judge Executive Jim Townsend announced at Monday’s Fiscal Court meeting that a state mandated tobacco-ban that goes into effect on November 20 will ban the use of all tobacco products at both the new and old courthouse buildings.
Governor Steve Beshear on September 4, 2014 that he had issued an executive order that will expand the existing smoking ban currently enforced by the state, which prohibits smoking only inside state buildings and vehicles. The new order will ban the use of any tobacco product or e-cigarette and will be enforced in all state vehicles, inside or outside of any state building or in the parking lot of those buildings.

This order will affect not only those people who work in those buildings, but anyone coming to either to do business.
In other business, the court received two sealed bids for the proposed resurfacing of the Webster County Airport runway. Prior to advertising for bids, the county had received to estimates on the project, one for $45,000 and another for $55,000. The actual bids on the project were considerably higher.
Green River Paving from Sacramento, the company that had estimated the project at $55,000, bid the job at $106,000. The company that had estimated $45,000 did not submit a bid.
The other bid came from Crolwey’s Asphalt Sealing in Henderson. They bid the job at $120,000.
“I recommend that we don’t take either of those,” said Judge Townsend. “We received quotes earlier that were half of that price.”
The court agreed to decline both bids, and the judge said he would contact Green River Paving to see what had changed.
When the court was going over bills, they noticed a request from Webster County Clerk Valerie Newell for an additional $25.00 for recent poll workers who had attended an official state training session.
According to Newell, she has a trainer come in from the State every year to provide poll workers training they need to do their job, but every year a large number of people ‘forget’ to come to that meeting. In order for those poll workers to be eligible to work on election day, she has to hold her own training sessions, which takes time away from her job as county clerk.
“I put in for a $25 raise for everyone who comes to the official state training, but I did not know that it wasn’t improved with the budget,” said Newell.
The County Clerk employees 56 poll workers and between four and six alternates each year for elections.
In this situation, the concern was whether or not the county could pay $25 extra to have poll workers attend that particular meeting. By law the County is not allowed to pay bonuses. Through discussion it was determined that this would not constitute a bonus since the state training was considerably longer and more in-depth.
“We’re all in favor of paying our poll workers more, we just want to make sure that we do it the right way,” said Magistrate Chad Townsend.
The court voted to approve the raises, pending the opinion of County Attorney Clint Prowe.
Sebree resident Lisa Liggett was on the agenda to address the court on Monday about an apartment complex planned to be built just outside of Sebree. 
Webster County’s Economic Development Council (EDC) and the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) recently voted to sell approximately 17 acres of land near the solid waste center to Sebree businessman Mark Moser for the purpose of building the structure. Moser originally planned to build the structure in the city itself, but called the project off after protests from residents.
Judge Townsend and the magistrates are non-voting members of the EDC and IDA.
“In a television ad last week, Judge Townsend said that people drive from Dawson Springs, Henderson and Hopkinsville to work ‘out there’,” said Liggett. “Exactly what did you mean by ‘out there’.”
“I was talking about Tyson, as well as the machine shop and the Pheonix tower plant,” said Townsend.
“You also stated that there had been some misrepresentation in Sebree,” said Liggett.
“One young lady called and said that she had been hearing all kinds of rumors,” Townsend explained. “She was saying that I had said there would be refugees in those apartments. I did not say that. What I said was that those apartments are not low income housing and are not sponsored by anyone. They are supposed to be available to anyone who applies.”
Townsend confirmed that there had been a meeting in March or April to discuss the sale of the property. The matter was, however, never discussed at the fiscal court. In October, however, when the sale was approved, Magistrates Chad Townsend and Jerry Poogie Brown were present at the meeting.
“Was the feelings of Sebree not taken into consideration at this meeting?” Liggett pressed.
“I cannot answer that,” Judge Townsend responded.
During the meeting the court set their schedule for the upcoming holiday season. The annual county employees’ breakfast will be held at the Dixon Community Center on Friday, December 12, 2014 starting at 7:00 a.m.
The county holiday schedule will be:
•Closed Nov. 27 and 18 for Thanksgiving.
•Closed December 25 and 26 for Christmas.
•Closed January 1 and 2 for New Years.
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