A large crowd of local farmers attended the regular monthly of Meade County Fiscal Court Tuesday (12/10) evening.
During the public session, six residents voiced various concerns related to the Nucor Steel project and the pending closure of the Riverport grain elevator operated by Consolidated Grain and Barge. Larry Edelen and Nicholas Hardesty spoke about the inconvenience and additional financial burdens that local growers will face once the grain terminal is closed. Edelen said the University of Kentucky is working to do a market impact analysis to determine impact of the closure. Hardesty estimated about $30 million would be the additional annual costs to local farming industry.
Micheal Kelly, Josh Rodeheaver, and Annie Tonak, each spoke about environmental concerns of the Nucor plant and it’s close proximity to local schools and healthcare facilities. Tonak sited several possible respiratory complications from chemicals used in steel manufacturing. She also questioned the permitting status of the project and accused Judge Executive Gerry Lynn and local leaders involved for not caring about the future generations of the community. Ben Sheeran asked Fiscal Court if presented with a plan forward where the grain elevator and Nucor could co-exist at the current Riverport and benefit all of the constituents, would they support it. Judge Executive Gerry Lynn said leader would support anything that would allow that to happen.
In other business, Fiscal Court approved the Sheriff’s Department proposed 2020 budget of $1,493,540 which is reduced by $18,000. Magistrates heard comments from Chuck Foushee and his attorney Darrin Sipes regarding a disputed payment of wages due related to the outgoing Sheriff tax settlement. Foushee performed bookkeeping for former Sheriff William “Butch” Kerrick. Foushee worked on the tax settlement during the changing of administration and was supposed to have the work finalized by March, but due to the scheduling of the state auditor’s office, the settlement reports were not finalized until October 10. Foushee submitted a statement for payment of services from January until October 2019, which he claimed to have performed his services. Fiscal Court had previously discussed the issue during the past two regular meetings and determined the position was to be paid based upon previous transitions. The court reviewed and considered Foushee’s and Sipe’s comments as part of a forty minute executive session which included litigation and personnel matters. The court decided to take no further action on the payment issue.
Magistrates voted their approval of several agreements related to the Nucor project including a twenty year lease agreement to retain use and right of way of approximately 100 acres for the current Buttermilk Falls walking and bike trails. They also approved quit claim deeds to the Industrial Authority in order for the process to move ahead on the lease agreement. The court also approved a quit claim deed for the Meade County Board of Education to clear issues related to bonding for the now established Board of Education Financial Cooperation.
County leaders approved a safety repair of a driveway approach along Kentucky 228 and they opened bids to sell a 2001 Sterling Truck from the Solid Waste and Recycling Center. The winning bidder was Bim Wardrip. Magistrate Steve Wardrip abstained from the vote.
You can watch the entire regular meeting of Meade County Fiscal Court in our “On Demand” section.