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Court postpones taking actions on subdivision regulations

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By Calen McKinney

Taylor County residents who own property outside the City limits won't have to abide by subdivision regulations just yet.

Magistrates considered having first reading of an ordinance placing regulations on dividing land at the special Fiscal Court meeting last week. But they ultimately decided to send the issue back to a Committee for further discussion.

The discussion stemmed from several months of debate on the cost and maintenance of gravel roads in Taylor County.

Magistrates voted 4-2 at their November meeting to no longer accept gravel roads into the County road system.

County Attorney Craig Cox told the Court in November that several surrounding counties have adopted regulations that require all subdivisions be approved before they are built. He said this would ensure that all subdivisions are up to par before any property is divided and sold.

Cox said this provision is similar to what the City of Campbellsville requires for those building new subdivisions within the City limits.

At that November meeting, Magistrate James Jones said he would like the Transportation Committee to research subdivision regulations. The Committee - made up of Magistrates Ed Gorin and Milford Lowe and County Road Foreman Brian Smothers - met a few days later to do just that.

At that meeting, the Committee assigned Cox the task of drafting a subdivision ordinance for magistrates to consider at the next Court meeting, though the Committee stopped short of making a recommendation.

At the Court's meeting last week, Cox presented a "representative" subdivision regulation ordinance that includes typical regulations included in ordinances approved by surrounding counties.

Cox told magistrates that the ordinance is not a final document and they need to make some decisions before it can be finalized.

Rogers said he encouraged magistrates to agree to have first reading of the ordinance to move along the process of adopting subdivision regulations. However, Jones said he would like to study the ordinance further before making such a decision.

Rogers said approving first reading of the ordinance does not mean the County will actually adopt that ordinance. Changes could be made to the ordinance, he said, if magistrates approve its second reading.

Having first reading of the ordinance, Rogers added, would simply imply that the Court is going to move forward with adopting subdivision regulations.

Magistrate Richard Phillips said he has a few questions about the effect the ordinance would have on farmers.

If subdivision regulations are adopted, Cox said, farmers who divide and sell their land will have to go before a board and receive approval to do so.

Phillips said he believes farmers should have the right to sell their land however they choose and he will not vote for the regulations if farmers have to follow the regulations. He said he is concerned with protecting both the buyers and sellers of property.

Jones said he has a problem with having first reading of an ordinance when several questions about it remain unanswered. He said he didn't see why the Court couldn't postpone voting on the ordinance until magistrates have had time to consider it.

Earlier in the meeting, Gorin had made a motion to have first reading of the ordinance. However, after the discussion, he withdrew his motion in favor of further research by the Committee.

Jones then made a motion to postpone voting on the issue until the Committee could meet and agree on a recommendation to bring to the Court.

Gorin seconded Jones' motion and all magistrates agreed.

Also at the meeting:

- Magistrates had second reading of state mandated changes to the county's occupational tax ordinance.

At the Court's November meeting, Cox told magistrates that the state has eliminated the ability of Kentucky's counties to exempt certain deferred compensation funds from occupational taxes.

Currently, occupational taxes are not paid from an employee's total wages, and certain funds, including retirement plans and some pre-tax medical insurances, are exempt from the occupational tax.

In addition to the state mandated changes, magistrates agreed to delete provisions from the ordinance that exempt money earned from renting or leasing one or two apartments and for those who work in an agriculture business that employs less than five people.

In October, County Treasurer Melissa Williams said the County could pick up as much as $200,000 to $300,000 more in occupational tax funds because of the changes, which would be divided with the City.

The changes take effect in January.

- Team Taylor County Executive Director Ron McMahan told magistrates that work on the industrial park has slowed because of winter weather. He said utility work, however, has been completed.

McMahan said about five local companies are considering expanding, and representatives from a potential new company have visited Campbellsville twice.

- Magistrates agreed to contribute about $1,900 to pay for Taylor County Emergency Management Coordinator George Wilson's insurance. Rogers said Wilson is currently paid $5,604 for the part-time position. Rogers said the state will also pay a portion of Wilson's insurance and that will lower the County's portion.

- Rogers said he has received several questions about the duties performed by Taylor County Building Official Kenny Phillips.

Rogers said Phillips' position is state mandated and the Court only appointed him to the position. He said renovations to single-family homes do not require inspections, but inspections are required for renovations to multiple family housing units or industrial locations.

Rogers said Phillips was the only person in the county who was qualified for the one-year appointment. He said those who would like to be considered when Phillips' term is up are welcome to apply.

- Magistrates adopted a resolution accepting an approach to KY 210 and KY 55 into the County road system.

- The 2008 Taylor County Sheriff's Department budget totaling $925,400 was approved.

- Rogers told magistrates that the Court needs to begin looking for someone to contract with to provide maintenance at the Taylor County Detention Center.

He said Taylor County resident Ernie Breeding has overseen the entire process of building the jail and knows the various aspects of it. Rogers said he recommends contracting with Breeding.

Gorin said he believes Breeding is a good choice but also thinks advertising for the position would prevent the public from complaining that no one other than Breeding was considered for the position.

Gorin made a motion for the Law Enforcement and Detention Center Committee to look into contracting with someone for maintenance services and report back to the Court.

- Rogers told the Court that the Kentucky Housing Corp. will take a count of the homeless people living in Taylor County on Thursday, Jan. 24 from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

According to information provided to magistrates, 123 homeless people were identified in Taylor County on Jan. 25, 2007. Rogers said this count helps determine the amount of financial assistance Taylor County will receive.

- Magistrates approved spending $5,239 to repair an air conditioning unit in the Taylor County Clerk's records room in the basement of the Taylor County Courthouse.

- Cox opened a sealed bid the County received for a new dump truck. Magistrates awarded the $98,925 bid to Worldwide Equipment.

- Rogers re-appointed Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris and Taylor County Accounts Payable/Debt Secretary Debbie McNear as Taylor County's solid waste co-coordinators.

- Magistrates voted to declare a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria as surplus property and advertise for bids.

- Magistrates approved the acceptance of a $665 donation to the Taylor County Animal Shelter in memory of Robert Jeffrey Forbes. Rogers said a 2001 GMC truck was also donated. Magistrates approved to pay for the transfer and taxes associated with transferring the vehicle.

- Magistrates approved an amendment to Taylor County Clerk Mark Carney's budget. According to Rogers, the office actually has $220,954 in excess fees rather than the estimated $141,914.

- Magistrates approved requests for road work in each magisterial district. Five of the six requests included replacing road signs in their requests.

- On behalf of the Project Development Board, the group overseeing the construction of the Taylor County Judicial Center, Jones told the Court that work on the judicial center is going well and steel and masonry work will begin soon.

- On behalf of the Law Enforcement and Detention Center Committee, Jones told magistrates that workers have lost a few days worth of work on the detention center but have not fallen behind schedule.

Jones said the jail is still estimated as being completed May 28, though it may not be ready to be opened on that day.

- Magistrates approved payments to CMW Inc. in the amount of $6,306.26 and $538,762.54 to Codell Construction Co. for work completed on the Taylor County Detention Center. Magistrates also approved paying Codell $84,034.34 for work on the Taylor County Judicial Center.

- Magistrates approved budget transfers from several line items in the general, road and jail funds, totaling $14,100, $12,831.56 and $800, respectively.

- About $1.2 million in occupational taxes has been collected this fiscal year. About $16,000 has been collected since the Court's November meeting.

- Staff Writer Calen McKinney can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 235 or by e-mail at reporter@cknj.com.