Fish Fest and Flash Steel discussed at Fiscal Court meeting

Published 11:30 am Thursday, April 11, 2024

During Tuesday’s Bell County Fiscal Court meeting, County Attorney Chris Douglas invited everyone out to the 16th annual Fish Fest along the canal at the Middlesboro City Parking lot this Saturday.

“Kids 15 and under will be given a pole to fish all day for free. There’s no need for a license or anything like that,” he said. “I’d like to give a big shoutout to (Magistrate) Junior Maiden for all he does for this as well as the Fiscal Court and the Judge, Middlesboro Fire Department, Mayor Boone Bowling, they really help out to make this a good event every year. Tim Hoskins from Berkley will be there with reels to pass out to the kids. I hope everybody can come.”

Judge-Executive Albey Brock said it was a great event for kids.

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“If you’ve never been or you’ve got kids or grandkids that are remotely interested in fishing, you ought to take them,” he said. “How often can you go fishing and be guaranteed to catch something? It turns them on to fishing in a big way. It’s a really, really good thing.”

Magistrate Eddie Saylor asked Brock if there were any updates on Boone’s Ridge and Flash Steelworks.

Brock said he saw where Boone’s Ridge had received $2.8 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission but hadn’t talked to anyone about the wildlife center recently.

He added that things were progressing at Flash Steel.

“We’re going to open bids later today on the electrical substation,” he said. “That’s going to slow us down, there’s no doubt. But the building and all the rest of that is ahead of schedule. Hopefully we can get that bid awarded and get the clock ticking on that. We’ve set a deadline of August 31, but from what I can gather from the engineer the bids may be quantified because that date is too firm. That was me just trying to put as much pressure on them as I could.”

Brock added that owner Gary Cola Jr. was “super happy” with how the project is progressing and understands that there could be some delays with the substation.

A public hearing regarding the removal of Petra Lane from the county road system was postponed. Brock said that since that was requested the affected property has changed hands and that could negate the need for a hearing.

“We’re in a holding pattern until we confirm that the sale has closed,” he said.

The court was also presented the proposed 2024-2025 Bell County Detention Center budget.

Treasurer Irma Brooks explained that the working budget was based on last year’s budget and had to be presented to the court before being sent on to Frankfort for approval. No court action was needed.

In other business, the court:

  • Approved payment to JMT in the amount of $8,386.66 for Invoice #12, DelMae, LLC in the amount of $90,636.29 for Invoice #7, CSI in the amount of $3,465.00 for Invoice #20408, and Green Construction Company in the amount of $326,738.36 for Pay Application #13 for work done on the Flash Steelworks project (to be paid when funds are available).
  • Approved Emergency Budget Amendment #5 to reflect the receipt of New Market Tax Credits for Flash Steelworks.
  • Approved payment to Friends of the Bell County Animal Shelter in the amount of $2,424.00 for grant funding received.
  • Approved payment to Surplus Sales — Kentucky State Treasurer in the amount of $500.00 for an equipment scanner for the Road Department.
  • Gave Judge Brock permission to advertise for bids for concrete, stone, tires, culverts, diesel, and asphalt.
  • Hired Chloe Boatright as part-time worker at the Bell County Animal Shelter at $9.00 per hour, Benjamin Napier as full-time worker at the Bell County Road Department at $13.00 per hour, Michael Caldwell as part-time EMT at $11.50 per hour and Olivia Coe, Kevin Collins, Ethan Rowe and Robert Young as part-time Deputy Jailers at $9.00 per hour effective April 11.
  • Changed David Sumpter from full-time Advanced EMT to part-time Advanced EMT.
  • Accepted checks in the amount of $119,722.45 from Sheriff Mitch Williams and in the amount of $28,279.34 from County Clerk Debbie Gambrel.