At the first meeting of the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court this year, the first order of business was bids for voting machines. One bid has been taken, in the amount of $164,838.90.
Judge/Executive Harold Stilts said, “We will have to do these with Barry Gilley to be sure that everything is in order before we can approve it.”
The budget for the Metcalfe County clerk’s office was approved, as was the annual order setting the maximum salary amounts for the Sheriff’s Office deputies and assistants. The court also approved the state advancement for the Sheriff’s Office.
The emergency management affiliation agreements were also approved, as well as the second reading of the amended solid waste hauler ordinance.
Rondal Shirley was present to discuss an issue on Hubbard Cemetery Road.
“It’s washed out terrible and what I want to do is put a gate up to keep out unwanted traffic. The only traffic we get is unwanted traffic,” he said.
He further stated that the only two swaps of land affected by the gate would be his own and the property of Mrs. Crenshaw who was in favor of the gate.
County attorney Barry Gilley advised that the best thing to do would be to create an ordinance so that no one would complain.
Magistrate Kenny Scott asked if signage had been placed, and road supervisor Chris Compton advised that a “no outlet” sign had been purchased.
Magistrate Ronnie Miller asked if the road connected to Jack Sparks, and Compton stated, “No that road don’t go plum through.”
The court agreed to move forward with the closing of approximately 300 feet of the road and the erection of a gate.
Emergency Management Director Emory Kidd was present with several updates.
The first item discussed concerned issues still being corrected from the 2017 and 2018 audits. The hope is to sort out the issues involving “double-dipping” so that FEMA will continue giving the county money.
“We know there were files here and we still can’t locate them, but we know that they were here,” he said.
Kidd said he anticipated that once these issues were resolved, FEMA had approximately $2 million dollars of funding available for the county laying in wait.
“We hope to get this taken care of, we could really use the money,” said Kidd.
The next issue he addressed was the backlash from the storm in early December.
“As you know technology fails and we had responders on the road during the storm to fix those issues involving technology as soon as we could,” he said. During the storm on December 11, the door of the tornado shelter at Sulphur Well didn’t remotely unlock. Kidd said he worked to resolve these issues.
Again, Kidd addressed issues involving the warning sirens. Stilts and the magistrates agreed that there was a tremendous amount of misunderstanding involving the function of the sirens.
“These are outdoor warning sirens. They are meant to be heard outside. On a good day, they have a half-mile to a quarter-mile range. On December 11, winds were so loud the range was less,” Kidd said.
Magistrate Kenny Scott said, “They were never meant to be heard inside of the house. Most of the time when a person is in the house they have a TV, radio, the washer, the dryer, the dishwasher… All the sounds, these were never designed to be hard from inside of a home.”
“How do we educate people?” Kidd asked.
We also talked about the safe rooms throughout the county, which are being abused. When the safe rooms are left open, they have been found with everything from human feces and drug paraphernalia, to trash inside. The court is taking measures to make an arrangement that suits everyone, designating how these rooms should be handled, who should have keys or controls, and so forth.
The budget, claims, and inter-fund were approved.