Fiscal court to examine redistricting

Published 9:20 am Friday, July 14, 2023


At the July 10 Bell County Fiscal Court meeting, Judge-Executive Albey Brock appointed reapportionment commissioners Kayla Carnes from the Bell County Clerk’s Office, Jared Smith from the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and Rob Lincks from the Bell County Fiscal Court.

Email newsletter signup

“Every 10 years, as we all know, we do a census. Once that census is over there are certain requirements that counties and the states have to do to make sure that citizens are equally represented,” Brock said.

The magistrates of Bell County, and all magistrates across the state, are supposed to equally represent the same number of people. Every 10 years Bell County, as well as all the other counties in Kentucky, form a committee of commissioners whose job is to analyze the census data that is provided by the Cumberland Valley Area Development District. This group will travel to the Cumberland Valley Area Development District for training, looking at the data and determining if district lines should change

“This is all based on the number of people living in, not voting, the respective districts,” said Brock.

The committee takes the census data and collectively rearranges magisterial district lines if deemed necessary.

The court approved that the reapportionment commissioners receive compensation of $100 per meeting.

Also at the meeting, Jes’Anne Givens with the historical society addressed the court about America 250, upcoming projects, and financial aid for the historical society.

According to Givens, congress allocated every state, county, city and school to be involved in America 250, or the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Roughly this allocates a 3 year planning period.

“I’d equate this to being prepared for 11 mountain laurel festivals,” said Givens. “Kentucky wants to jump in this a little early because Harrisburg is turning 250 years old next year, and they want to do a lot with that.”

By July of next year, Bell County will need to have a budget ready to apply for funding. The next America 250 meeting will be held in August, where organizations will begin presenting ideas.

Robert Kincaid, author of “The Wilderness Road” and former president of Lincoln Memorial University, is considered an authority on Bell County and Cumberland Gap history. Kincaid’s great-grandson has recently found a new manuscript written Kincaid. The newly discovered manuscript has complete chapters 1 and 2, but the book’s chapter 3 is missing. The manuscript has a complete bibliography as well as footnotes for each chapter. Givens wants to publish the book for an America 250 project. Givens said any proceeds from the sale of the book will go to support the Bell County Historical Society.

Givens also brought to the attention of the fiscal court that the historical society is in need of financial support. Givens stated that although the historical society holds a considerable amount of information in its archives pertaining to Bell County, it offers significant value to the entire tri-state region.

In other matters, 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.

• Accepted remaining 2022 Excess Fees in the amount of $11,361.03 from Debbie Gambrel, Bell County clerk.

• Approved 1st Reading of an Ordinance with amendments relating to mandatory participation in the Solid Waste Collection System.

• Gave Judge permission to advertise for bids for professional consultant services.

• Gave Judge permission to execute necessary financial documents pertaining to the Flash SteelWorks project.

• Hired Ryan Sams as full-time road deputy at $13 per hour effective July 13.

• Hired Teresa Foley as full-time court security officer at $9 per hour effective July 13.

• Hired Haley Walters as part-time worker at the Bell County Animal Shelter at $9 per hour effective July 13.

• Hired Bradley Stephens as part-time paramedic at $17 per hour effective July 13.

• Changed rate of pay for Chris Parks from $11 per hour to $12.25 per hour effective July 20.

• Changed William Gregory from part-time worker to full-time worker at the Bell County Road Department at $13.25 per hour effective July 20.

• Changed Holly Bolton, Justin Freeman, and Joseph Thomas from part-time Deputy Jailers to full-time Deputy Jailers effective July 13.

• Changed Franklin Emert from part-time EMT to full-time EMT effective July 13.

• Approved payment to Vaughn & Melton Consulting Engineers for the amount of $13,253.80 for environmental services invoice No. 8 for Flash Steel Works.

• Approved payment to Green Construction Co. for the amount of $88,523.22 for Payment Application #1, $101,992.25 for Payment Application #2, and $1,162,488.46 for Payment Application #3 for Flash SteelWorks.

• Approved 2022 Bell County property tax settlement and 2022 Bell County Franchise Tax Settlement from Bell County Sheriff Mitch Williams.

• Accepted checks in the amount of $20,065.53 from Mitch Williams, Bell County Sheriff.

• Accepted checks in the amount of $34,707.58 from Debbie Gambrel, Bell County Clerk.