Your county government at work
Posted in the Russell Springs Forum
#1 Mar 11, 2010
Don't this just make you feel warm and fuzzy all over?
This time the end result was as the county attorney had said it should be. The court took his advice and reversed its decision to name an official publication for legal notices, but it didn't seem it would go that way.
Repeatedly, County Attorney Mark McGaha told the members of the fiscal court that the local paper with the largest circulation is the Times Journal.
Again and again he told them at Monday night's meeting that the options were clear. He said that to remove the county from serious liability and to end a lawsuit the members of the court needed to refute the decision made at last month's meeting when they named another publication as the county's paper of largest circulation.
First, County Judge Mickey Garner tried to block discussion of the matter, saying it would have to be decided in court. The fiscal court members however indicated they wished to hear the county attorney's input.
After about a half-hour in executive session they came out and elected to hear from Times Journal Publisher David Davenport and legal counsel Kin Judd.
The two men explained that law and precedent both fell to the counting of average circulation figures, not single issue figures, in deciding which is the largest paper.
When it was suggested by the other paper's counsel that it was in-county circulation only that should be counted they did the math and again proved that the Times Journal had the larger average circulation when counting only local subscriptions.
Magistrate Greg Popplewell tried repeatedly to enter the conversation, but was interrupted repeatedly by County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner or another member of the court.
Finally he said loudly, "I can get us out of this mess if you'll let me."
He made the motion that the court reverse its previous decision and not name a paper, as recommended by McGaha.
Magistrate Ronald Johnston seconded the motion and the only member of the court to vote in opposition was Garner.
County Attorney Mark McGaha had also advised the court last fall that the "moist" petitions were not proper and that the county was making an expensive error by conducting that election. His advice was vindicated by a judge's decision last week, which voided the portion of the election he had argued against.
Though there are rumors of an appeal in that case nothing has been filed, according to the clerk of the court.
#2 Mar 11, 2010
Board sets sights on $20 million, refuses Garner
In Feb. 25 Issue
The Russell County Hospital's board of directors approved applying for $20 million in USDA loans to proceed with renovations and expansion at the hospital.
The move came after a previous meeting when the board was told that the $20 million mark was the upper limit of what income and profit figures were showing would be well received by the federal agency.
The board began its meeting with a presentation by Steven and Joshua Branscum, as well as Jonathan Smith of Branscum Construction.
After the company's presentation regarding their capacity to save money on projects as well as experience on medical projects, Mickey Garner asked the board to approve hiring the company, before the board had even taken up the issue of applying for funds.
The board rejected the county judge-executive's input, indicating such a move would be premature.
In the financial report to the board hospital CFO Ken Kimsal said the facility continues to operate in the black. He said that though they did not exceed budget as in the previous months they finished the month by adding $114,437 to the bottom line of just over $1 million for the year.
He said the hospital maintains 110 days of operating cash in the bank, and though the interim cost report showed over $60,000 in reimbursement are owed to the federal health-insurance program, but he added that the same program was issuing a $100,000 check to the hospital for previous underpayments.
Kimsal also reported that though one part would need to be replaced the new washer-sterilizer for instruments was up and running.
Interim CEO George Walz told the board that the new backup generator was still in the process of being installed. He said they had added another computer system to the circuit and they expected it to be up and running in March.
Kimsal also said the next meeting would likely include information on ways the hospital would likely proceed with the federally mandated electronic medical records. He said there are grants that will help the hospital begin to comply with the requirements.
He said the issues are complicated and confusing with some problems centering around the lack of a system standard, which he compared to the old Betamax-VHS system argument. Choosing the wrong system could be expensive he pointed out.
#3 Mar 11, 2010
County coffers get influx of funds
In Feb. 11 Issue
While not on the agenda, the February meeting of the Russell County Fiscal Court ended with County Judge Executive Mickey Garner making a motion to designate The Russell Register as the paper in the county with the largest circulation despite having no legal opinion from the county attorney.
Magistrate Steve Bledsoe seconded the motion, which resulted in a 5-1 vote by the court, with Magistrate Greg Popplewell being the only opposition.
Kentucky law requires advertising legal notices be placed in the largest paper in the county, based on the average paid, in-county circulation for the year.
Garner said that earlier Monday he had received a prepared statement with affidavits from Russell Registerís Teresa Kraner and Jamestown Postmaster Richard Shivel which indicated that the Register's paid circulation from October 2009 to the present averaged 3,910 and this newspaper's paid circulation averaged 3,302.
When Popplewell asked the opinion of County Attorney Mark McGaha on the matter, McGaha said it was the first he had seen of the issue and would have to review the documentation before making a determination.
Popplewell then made a motion that the matter be tabled until the next meeting in order for McGaha to delve into the matter further but that was rejected by the ultimate vote of the court.
Speaking on behalf of The Russell Register, local attorney Derrick Helm said the court must decide which newspaper should receive these advertisements based on the in county circulation numbers.
This newspaper's managing editor, Greg Wells, questioned the figures being presented to the court and the wisdom of rushing to a decision at the meeting adding that the Kentucky Press Association still considers the Times Journal to be the largest newspaper in the county.
#4 Mar 11, 2010
Press association director gives opinion
In Feb. 11 Issue
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Press Association, David Thompson responded Tuesday to the action taken by members of the Russell County Fiscal Court.
Quoting state law he said ďNo official newspaper shall be designated by any governmental unit for the publication of advertisements for such unit.Ē
He added that the Kentucky Ratified Statutes,(KRS) specifies that if there are two or more newspapers in the publication area (county, in this case) the newspaper with the largest paid circulation is the newspaper in which public notices shall be published.
He added that the law specifies "...paid circulation as shown by the average number of paid copies of each issue..." which is Line C, left-hand column of the Statement of Ownership.
That was the line the Times Journalís Managing Editor Greg Wells directed the courtís attention to at the meeting, but they chose to use other figures.
Thompson explained that,ďThe language relating to Line C, left-hand column was put in the law several years ago (1992 I believe) because we found several newspapers sampling the county the week prior to the Statement of Ownership being published, skewing its true circulation. We changed it to a 12-month average (left-hand column) so that the circulation was far beyond a one-week basis. There is no question it's the average of the previous 12 months paid circulation.
He went on to point out that in 1993, the Supreme Court ruled that if there are two newspapers in the publication area, then the notices go in the newspaper with the largest in-county circulation (mailed and single copy sales, continuing the 12-month, left-hand column).
The publishers of the Times Journal have said they fully intend to address the matter in the court of law.
A letter has been circulated in the courthouse by Mickey Garner indicating to officials that they should use only the Russell Register for legal advertisements.
In Line C, left hand column of the statement of ownership the Times Journalís circulation is shown as 4,110 and in the report printed in the Russell Register it showed them as having a circulation of 2,722.
In the reports printed by both papers the in-county circulation totals 3,840 for the Times Journal and 2,506 for the Register.
#5 Mar 11, 2010
In Jan. 14 Issue
Construction of a new jail for Russell County was approved at the Monday night meeting of the Russell County Fiscal Court.
All but Magistrate Greg Popplewell voted in favor of the new $3.7 building to be constructed behind the Russell County Senior Citizens' Center in Russell Springs.
This was the second round of bids for the building. In the first round construction costs were bid at more than $2 million more, but changes were made to the plans and the recent bids were in line with the original predictions of construction costs.
County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner said the bond payments on the new jail would be almost exactly the same as the cost the county is presently paying to house prisoners in other counties.
The total budgeted cost of the project was set at $4.544 million.
Another project was approved for the same property.
County Coroner Larry Skaggs had received bids for construction of a multi-purpose building to house a morgue, his office space and parking for the coroner's vehicle. That building was approved by acclaim at the meeting with magistrates saying they'd already approved it, pending the decision to build a jail at a previous meeting.
The court also gave its continued support to a grant powered program to purchas the Shilo Motel building in Russell Springs and convert it to emergency and temporary shelter space.
The federal grant money would go toward that and the purchase of derelict properties that would be torn down to allow Habitat for Humanity to construct new homes.
Garner also told the magistrates that the county used over $20,000 worth of salt on the roads during the recent snows and that more salt has been ordered and delivered.
The transfer of $100,000 from the general fund to the jail fund was approved, as were transfers from the previous year's carry over funds to various county funds that were showing a negative balance.
The court also approved advertising for bids to build a restroom facility and septic system at the site of what had been Alligator 1 Boat Dock. The county is moving toward taking over the lease of that property since the marina relocated to Jabez.
#6 Mar 11, 2010
Why dont they just run it in both papers at a set price based on each sale/subscription?
#7 Mar 12, 2010
Hey Goat Man you forgot the latest fiscal court fiasco building an $18,000 county pisser in the middle of nowhere for vandals to tear up down at the old Alligator 1 empty dock location !
#8 Mar 12, 2010
I think The GOATROPER should run for County Judge Executive. He acts like he knows his sh**! Dam I bet he is at every court meeting or is it that he just wants to get on here and bash Mickey. I think he's a suck buddy for peewee. Everyone can tell it's the same ol mister know it all! The way he gets on here and slurs the Fiscal Court Members except for PeeWee he always throws his name out to the side "they should have done what PeeWee said " Who knows maybe someone is watching him!
#9 Mar 12, 2010
A L L u real dip shts or u just acting!?!
#10 Mar 12, 2010
Well I guess ol Micky might need to take a big piss down at the docks.
#11 Mar 12, 2010
what docks they hauled them away hey hey ?
#12 Mar 13, 2010
Hey Mr Opinion, why don't you tell me where I said ANYTHING....pro or con....about ANY member of the fiscal court in this thread???
What did I say that "slurred" any member of the court, or said they should have done what Peewee said? I think YOU are the one who did that....not me.
I posted five news articles about fiscal court happenings and doings in the last couple of months. If their own actions make them look like a bunch of idiots, then I can't help that. But I DO believe the people (voters & taxpayers) have a right to know how their elected officials are conducting the peoples buisness. Don't you??? Or do you think the voters shouldn't be told what the fiscal court is doing or how they're spending our tax money?
On a side note, Peewee is the only member of the current fiscal court who has shown any restraint on blowing our tax money by the millions in my opinion. My property taxes went up significantly last fall, and it isn't the PVA's fault. She doesn't set the tax rates nor spend the money. And we haven't even begun to start paying the bills on all the new construction the fiscal court has started under Mickey's "leadership" (and I use that word very loosely here). So where do you suppose the money to pay for all this new construction will come from, the tooth fairy??? And why are we building an $18,000 $hitter at Alligator 1 when there is no longer even a dock there, and the county has yet to even aquire a lease on the property from the Corp of Engineers? Who will maintain it? Who will be there to keep it from being vandalized? Who will keep tolit paper in the stalls? Within 90 days of it being built it will be so filty NO ONE will want to even go inside, much less take a dump in it. And what happens during the winter? Do we heat it to keep the pipes from busting, or shut the water off and winterize it and lock it up for 6 months of the year?
It's a waste of tax money any way you slice it, and I don't care if half the money does come from a grant. The taxpayers are STILL paying the full cost of building and maintaing/repairing it. So why not use that money for something that will actually benefit the people who will be paying for it instead of wasting it on something that will NOT benefit anyone except the local vandals? Why not sink that money into Habitat for Humanity or the animal shelter or playground equipment for the city parks or improving our Little League fields etc?
#13 Mar 13, 2010
Goat roper this whole restroom thing has ominous implications for taxpayers any way you figure it. Garner obviously has a plan to give somebody special a fat maintenance/kickback scheme to maintain this toilet on the county taxpayers dime. Just like he came up with the do-little county 911 mapping job for the former road foreman to make room for his buddy Jackie Mann to honcho the road dept. crew.
#14 Mar 13, 2010
Why do people ask for unbias news and then all happy that a newspaper picks out somebody and trys to destroy them every week? That does not sound fair and balanced.
#15 Mar 13, 2010
I don't think that a newspaper just "picks out somebody" to try to destroy every week. I think people make their own beds, and if they are doing great things for the people in their official capicity, then they'll get great newspaper articles written about them. But if they aren't doing a good job, then they won't get good press. And that's the way it's supposed to work. That's why freedom of the press is a constitutional freedom. So the press can report to the people what their government is doing regardless whether it's good or bad. If Garner has recieved some undeserved bad press, then please feel free to take this opportunity and format to tell us what he did good that resulted in bad press. What has the paper written about his administration that was inaccurate? Have they lied about him in a news article? If so, tell us what they said that was a lie.
If the information they printed was accurate....but just not spun in a light that you consider favorable to him, then sorry but that don't count. As long as they are publishing accurate information, then it's up to the reader to interpret it and spin it as they see fit. If it's inaccurate or a flat out lie, then tell us specifically what was a lie or inaccurate about it. Don't generalize, be specific.
#16 Mar 13, 2010
Freedom of the press is one of the checks and balances of power in a free society. If we allow the governemnt or governmental leaders to control the press we will become a dictatorship.
#17 Mar 13, 2010
Goat Roper, do you know who the former owner of the Shiloh Motel is? I've asked around, but nobody seems to know. Somebody got a windfall, unloading that dilapidated turd off on the taxpayers for 3X it's market value.
It would be interesting to follow that money trail.
#18 Mar 13, 2010
Check with Gradith Stephens he ought to know since he owned it once
#19 Mar 13, 2010
Sir or madam, you have made some extremely valid points in this conversation. I, too, have been asking where they plan to get the money to repay the bonds for all this construction. They may say "oh it's stimulus money", but there will be a pay back coming for that--again in the form of higher taxes. Maybe not on the local level, but certainly on the federal level. On a side note to the fiscal court--there is NO free lunch. Those of us who do work can only shoulder the burden for so much, so long. Like others, we have seen our property taxes take a significant jump--not only on our home, but our vehicles as well. We received our tax notice on our truck this week, and oddly enough the taxes went up even though the value of the truck (like any other vehicle) decreased. I would love for someone to explain how they can justify that one. Now I hear on the news that someone has come up with the idea of constructing an expensive outhouse in the middle of nowhere?? They have got to be kidding. We drove through that area last summer on a beautiful, hot Sunday afternoon and instead of boats being lined up to launch or load (as in years past), the place was nearly deserted. It was almost an eyesore. Maybe one of the folks on the court is expecting to have the job of taking care of it when they are voted out? Makes you wonder...
#20 Mar 13, 2010
CAN YOU EXPECT MUCH BETTER OUT OF A BUNCH OF 8TH GRADE RETARDS .ALL THAT BUNCH OF HICKS KNOWS HOW TO DO IS SCREW EACH OTHERS GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES ITS A RUSSELL COUNTY TRADITION.
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