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Paul aide addresses fiscal court about vultures

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By Brandon Mattingly

The Washington County Fiscal Court held a regularly scheduled meeting on Friday, but had a special guest in Jennifer Decker, a representative of Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Decker, who is one of nine representatives covering counties for Paul, requested that Washington Countians inform the senator of any concerns.

“If there are constituents who have issues with federal government, we’d like to know about it, and the senator would like to help,” Decker said.

There was a focal point of her visit, however, and that was the problem farmers across the state have been having with a certain bird.

“We’ve learned that farmers in Kentucky are having a real problem with black-headed vultures,” she said. “We would like people in the county to let us know about any issues so we can work with the extension office.”

The bird, which is protected under the 1913 Migratory Bird Act, has been tormenting farmers and other residents recently, and Decker said it is Paul’s objective to have that legislation changed.

“It’s not a migratory bird, nor is it an endangered species,” Decker said. “In fact, it has no predator. I’m a farmer, and we’ve lost about six livestock to it in the past couple of years.”

Decker was pleased to find out from Magistrates Benjamin Settles and Morris Sweazy that a petition against the birds addressed to Paul is already making its rounds in Washington County.

Decker was also asked the question of Paul’s stance on the hemp crop being reintroduced to Kentucky, and she said Paul, along with Sen. Mitch McConnell, is in Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer’s corner when it comes to the crop.

“One thing I’ve heard them talk about in Kentucky is that they’d like to be a seed producer for the crop,” Decker explained. “Somebody’s got to produce the seed, and we’re trying to be first in Kentucky. I’ve heard Congressman (Thomas) Massie say, ‘You don’t know who came after eBay, and you don’t know who came after Apple, but you know who comes first,’ and we’re trying to be the first to produce this crop.”

Fiscal court news
A request for a road closure has been made off of US-150 near Bethlehem Baptist Church in Springfield.

“We have a request to close a road that we’ve never maintained. However, when US-150 was opened up, this section was turned over to the county,” said County Judge-Executive John Settles.

More than 500 feet of road has been requested to be closed, and a hearing date has been set for the fiscal court meeting scheduled on June 10. The residents making the request have been informed that they’re responsible for posting signage indicating the potential change and the county named viewers for the road closing decision last week.

Warren Purdom and Jeff Russell, who both reside in the area in question, were named as viewers and will accompany Dale Mann to examine the possibility of a road closure and return to Fiscal Court with a recommendation.

The Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS) is now in operation for Washington County, and residents can now sign up for the feature.

“The emergency notification system is up and operational. We’ll be working on ways to advertise to get people to sign up for it,” said Kevin Devine, director of emergency management. “We automatically imported all house numbers, but we need to get everybody signed up for their cell phones to get texts and all that stuff.”

Four contracts were bid on and accepted by the county last week as well. Cedar Creek Quarry in Bardstown was awarded the gravel contract for the year with the county, with Nally & Haydon Surfacing, LLC. being awarded the asphalt contract. Both motions were made with the county reserving the right to buy the products elsewhere as needed.

Allan’s of Central Kentucky placed the winning pest control bid of $2,088. After an annual discount of $104.40, the final cost of the contract is $1,983.60.

Cargill Deicing Technology got the road salt contract with the county at prices of $72 per ton or $74.71 with delivery.

There was some question of how much salt the county needed following a relatively snow-free winter, but Settles recalled the bad winter of 2011.

“Two years ago, when we had a bad winter and salt was in short supply, I know some judges who said they paid $125 a ton on the open market,” he said. “Because we had a contract, we stayed steady the whole season.”

Mann announced that the bridge leading to Maker’s Mark (before the Marion County border) is open to traffic with minor work to be completed when drier weather allows. He also said work on Spalding Lane is finished and made a request to the court with summer approaching. Mann requested the right for the county to take bids for new mowing equipment. Mann said the current bat-wing-style piece of equipment is 10 years old and needs a lot of work or to be replaced.  The request to hear bids for the 10-foot piece of equipment was accepted.

All magistrates were in attendance. The next court meeting is May 13 at 9 a.m.