DOT discusses road projects during Fiscal Court meeting

Published 5:36 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

BY JORDAN BROOKS

jordan.brooks@middlesboronews.com

Robbie Perkins from the Department of Transportation and Justin Greene from Hinkle Contracting addressed the Fiscal Court on April 11, to talk about current and upcoming paving projects.

This year, according to Perkins there was an initial distribution of funds of $1,212,375, and an over expenditure from last year of $230,407. Leaving the total available funds in Bell County at $981,968, of that amount 485,000 has been set aside for the proposed allotment used by the maintenance crew in Bell County, such as the Highway department. Flex funds left available in  for the County’s use is roughly $242,000, and total funds remaining that can be used for research is $250,618.

“Typically when we set these routes up, we are lucky to get about a mile of pavement. It usually runs about $100,000 to $25,000 per mile, so you can imagine that it doesn’t go a long way,” said Perkins.

“This year we were able to get one route that was selected, it was ky-2402. This is 25th street in Middlesboro. We are currently working on some sidewalks with another contractor. It’s 1.392 miles long and it will go from Ky-74, Cumberland Avenue, to what I like to refer to as the four-way stop there at the BP near 441E.”

The project is expected to cost somewhere around $233,000.

Perkins presented the court with other road projects that are currently under contract, such as Ky-987 from mile maker 13.371 to 16.216 starting at the KY 217 bridge and extends 2.845 miles, as well as KY 1344 near Hansens Creek, starting with mile marker 1 and extending to mile marker 3.742.

“Currently we are working on US-25E. The work is progressing, and we expect to complete (the work) in maybe another two or three weeks,” said Perkins. “We have another project on KY-92 from mile marker 8 to 11.16. 11.16, which is actually 25E, so it should be completed later this year.”

According to Perkins, regarding the project on 25E, paving at night is technically possible, but the Bell County Department of Transportation attempts to stray away from nighttime paving because it can cause many more quality issues than so in the daylight.

“I understand that it creates a lot more traffic conditions when paving during the day,” said Perkins. “But that’s not something we prefer. It gets done a lot of times, typically in this area, its not something we do. It’s difficult for our inspection staff to pick up on anything that may be observed as a quality issue.”

Magistrate Junior Maiden, who was filling in for Judge Executive Albey Brock as he was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, approved the construction projects.

Bell County Volunteer Fire Department spokesman Tim Mills discusses the fire department and why April is an Important month for the fire department.

Mills discussed the voting process for the elected offices in the fire department, such as attend a certain number of meetings and trainings. Mills announced their election results as of last Thursday, April 6. Mills announced that Tim Howard was reelected as the chief, as well as CJ Sutherland was elected as assistant chief. Mills acknowledged Adrian Wilson for his 40 year commitment to the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department. Mills announced their two battalion chiefs, Viola Howard and Ben Napier. Mills announced that he himself will serve as public relations chaplain, Kenneth Miracle as safety officer, and Jacob Etel as training officer.

Mills represents the Arjay company, Kayla Smith the east Pineville station #2, Gary Brooks in Four Mile represents station #3, Cory Smallwood represents Clear Creek, Viola Howard represents Right Fork, Kenneth Miracle represents station No. 6.

“I myself as president couldn’t be more delighted with those officers, I think they’ll all serve honorably as our department continues to grow,” said Mills. “We’re answering nearly 400 calls a year.”

“I’d like to say how proud I am of you guys. I worked as a paid firefighter for 20 years, and I got more respect for you guys,” said Magistrate Glenn Webb. “You use your own gas money, your own time, you’re not paid. So, kudos to you guys.”

According to Mills, in comparison to what they once received and what they receive presently in terms of funding, there is a drastic difference. Mills also expressed that pumper one, one of the oldest fire trucks the department has in the fleet in Arjay, is currently not operable because a pump is broken. The department has also lost a tank on a truck that cost the department $20,000 to repair. Mills expressed that they currently have three fire trucks, and getting new ones will cost them in money and space the department does not have.

Mills says the fire department will more than likely reach out to the court soon for the additional funds, and attributed the delay for reaching out to the fire department’s new administration.

In other business, the court also:

• Paid bills and made necessary transfers.

• Accepted  treasurer’s financial statement for last month.

• Accepted sheriff’s claim sheet for fee account for last month.

• Approved a resolution authorizing the Judge Executive to make application for and, upon approval, to enter into an agreement with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS), to execute any documents which are deemed necessary and administer the project and to act as the authorized correspondent for this project.

• Approved a resolution adopting and approving the execution of a County Road Aid Coop Program Contract between the Fiscal Court and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Transportation Cabinet, Department of Rural and Municipal Aid, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023, as provided in the Kentucky Revised Statutes, and accepting all roads and streets referred to therein as being a part of the County Road System.

• Approved payment to DelMae, LLC for the amount of $177,604.23 for Construction Pay Request No. 3 for FlashSteel Works.

Approved payment to Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers for the amount of $11,000.00 for Construction Services Invoice #5 for FlashSteel Works.

• Gave Judge permission to advertise for bids for concrete, stone, tires, culverts, diesel, and asphalt.

• Hired Jonathan Whitehead as full-time employee at the Bell County Road Department at $12.00 per hour effective 04/13/2023.

• Hired Kenneth Dees as part-time Deputy Jailer at $9.00 per hour effective 04/13/2023.

• Changed Ashley Ables, Jerry Barlow, Candy Moe, and Tariq Ibn Abdul Aziz from part-time Deputy Jailers to full-time Deputy Jailers effective 04/13/2023.

• Changed rate of pay for Sheriff’s Deputy Samson Churchwell to $15.00 per hour retroactive to 03/30/23.

• Changed Chase Nantz from part-time EMT to full-time Paramedic at $17.00 per hour effective 04/13/2023.

• Accepted checks in the amount of $108,837.72 from Mitch Williams, Bell County Sheriff.

• Accepted checks in the amount of $35,866.50 from Debbie Gambrel, Bell County Clerk.