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Advocating for the children

Leah Thomson of the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center Photo by PJ Martin

By PJ Martin

Editor

The Herald-News

 

The Metcalfe County fiscal court met in regular session last Thursday. All were present except for Magistrate Ronnie Miller, who arrived late.

The Metcalfe Sheriff’s office manager, Lynn Lunz presented the 2022 local oil tax settlements to the court and it was approved.

Metcalfe County Clerk Shannon Fields presented a request to raise the precinct workers’ pay explaining their day begins at 5 a.m. and doesn’t end until around 6:30 or 7 p.m. Currently, they receive $150 a day and Fields asked to raise it to $175. “It would help to keep workers….it’s a lot of responsibility.”

The magistrates agreed and approved the raise in pay for precinct workers.

Next on the agenda was Leah Thompson from the Barren River Area Child Advocacy Center (BRACAC) in Bowling Green. She explained that the funds from the federal Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) have declined along with other grant sources. Because of these cuts in funding, she is speaking to fiscal courts in the counties they serve Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, and WarrenCounties.

BRACAC has received less funding, but increased its caseload between 2020 and 2021. Unfortunately, the COVID shutdown and stay-at-home order left children at home with their tormentors.

Thompson explained, “I’m here today just to show you a little bit more about how we serve Metcalfe County kids in particular.”

Thompson also provided a summary of expenditures for Metcalfe County in 2023 as $60,978. Last year BRACAC helped 38 children from Metcalfe County who were victimized in some way.

BRACAC advocates for children in a 10-county area who range from ages 3 – 12 who have been sexually abused or exploited by providing the combined support of law enforcement, child protective services, forensic interviewers, prosecutors, physicians, therapists, and professional advocates. These professionals along with the non-offender parents or caregivers provide the children the help they need.

“I don’t expect for our local government to make up this shortfall. I was just trying to give you a perspective of just how short we are. …I do want to take the time to visit all of our counties and just ask for a contribution for the kids that we serve.”

Miller asked what other counties were contributing. Thompson replied, “Logan County gave $1,500 last year and they’re voting on between 10 and $15,000…It really ranges between $1,500 up to “15,000.

County Attorney Sharon Howard weighed in saying, “This center has a big impact on prosecution.”

It was expressed that the need lies in the next fiscal year and it was suggested that it be added as a line of funding specifically to the FY 24-25 budget which takes effect on July 1, 2024.

 

Other business

Miller asked if Attorney Howard had done any work on the ABC Ordinance and she replied she had not lately and asked what he needed her to do.

Miller stated, “Well we need to amend it, if we’re going to have a bar.”

Howard advised that would have to start with the state. “Could you get that started? See what we need to do,” asked Miller while interrupting Howard he added, “What needs to be changed, get it out here, vote on it, and see what happens?”

Howard tried to explain that there are limits per the state, but she would work on it.

David Bartley came to the podium and disagreeing with Howard saying that was not what the lady told him. He explained that he spoke by email with Kelly Levan the head of licensing department at Frankfort.

Bartley said, “She said that the county officials, the fiscal court had to vote on it to change the amendment.”

David Bartley providing County Attorney Sharon Howard with contact information for Kelly Levan at the State Licensing Department. Photo by PJ Martin

The reason for asking for the change to the ABC Ordinance is that Bartley and his partner want to open a sports bar in Summer Shade in the former Mexican food truck location. No food would be served inside of the building, but the partner’s food truck would offer food through a take-out window. Bartley stated it would be two separate businesses, the food truck outside and the sports bar inside.

Howard is going to speak with Kelly Levan in Frankfort and work on the ordinance changes.

Solid Waste Coordinator Scotty Mosby announced that this year’s Tire Amnesty Days will be May 16, 17, and 18 at the Metcalfe County Fairgrounds.

The next regular meeting will be held on Thursday, March 14th at 9 a.m. at the fiscal court room of the Metcalfe County Government Center.

This session of the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court can be viewed on their Facebook page at Metcalfe https://www.facebook.com/metcalfecountyfiscalcourt.

 

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