Shortly before the Lincoln County Fiscal Court concluded its business Tuesday, Magistrate Dexter Todd broached a subject sure to catch the interest of the county’s cattlemen. Todd floated the idea that the county consider adding a fee or a tax on each head of cattle sold at the Bluegrass Stockyard to pay for the dead farm animal pickup program. Todd said he knew he’d take some heat for it, but suggested that a fifty cent or one dollar a head tax be assessed for every head of cattle sold at the yard to fund the program.
The Fiscal Court didn’t take any action on the suggestion; County Attorney Daryl Day said that he didn’t know if the county even had the legal authority to assess such a tax or fee, and County Road Supervisor Bo Gander reminded the Fiscal Court that area farmers were told that the program was going to be funded out of the Occupational Tax when the county originated it.
Gander told the court that he would gather all of the costs associated with the program and present it to the court at a later date, but also reminded the magistrates that the county is getting external funding to support the program. So far the county has received $5,000 this year and Gander said that he expects more.
Live animals were also a topic of discussion at the meeting as well; magistrates heard a first reading of an ordinance to control livestock roaming at large. “We had a situation where we had horses running at large and the sheriff and the judge kept getting phone calls about it. Sometimes there would be 20 or 30 horses out on Spice Ridge running down the road.”
Kentucky already has a law that compels cattle farmers to control their livestock, but the law doesn’t apply to any other farm animals. Day said he took the existing KRS and wrote the county ordinance exactly the way the state law was written. Farmers whose animals enter the roadway could be fined $10, $25 or $100 a head depending on how many times they have been cited. Farmers could also be charged with the cost of capturing the animals and any feed or veterinary care they require, and animals could be auctioned off if the fees are unpaid. The law would not apply to cats and dogs.
The Fiscal Court also heard a first reading of an ordinance that would regulate septic systems and create a sanitation district in the county. Judge Executive Jim Adams said, “This is something that needs to be done to make us eligible to apply for grants to extend sewer lines from Airport Road to McCormick’s Church Road.” Adams said that a public meeting will be held to take input from residents before the court votes to create the ordinance in May. The date of the public meeting to discuss the measure will be announced at a later date, but Adams said that it will be in the evening so more people could attend.
The court also discussed allowing coroner’s vehicles to have blue emergency lights on them. Blue lights had been removed from coroner’s vehicles when the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO) said that coroners weren’t sworn law enforcement officers and that they would not be covered by KACO’s insurance in the event of an accident. Kentucky recently passed House Bill 34 which authorizes coroner’s to run blue lights if they get approval from their local government.
Magistrate Joe Stanley asked the obvious question, “If they are calling for the coroner, what’s the rush?” Daryl Day told the magistrates that blue lights would allow coroners to navigate roads blocked by traffic backed up due to accidents, and that bodies could not be removed from the scene of an accident until a coroner makes his pronouncement. The topic was tabled until Day can confirm whether KACO will extend its insurance coverage to coroners.
In other matters, magistrates voted to appoint Wayne Berry to the Library Board to replace Buckwheat Gilbert who has resigned. They also appointed Vance Mitchell to be the Nuisance Board Enforcement Officer.