November 25, 2013

‘A Good Problem to Have’:

County approves loan for new industrial park

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Laurel County could soon boast of another industrial park and even more businesses in the area.

In the regular monthly meeting of the Laurel County Fiscal Court on Thursday morning, magistrates approved loaning money to the London-Laurel County Industrial Development Authority to purchase property for another industrial park.

This property is located in the Fariston area and will be paid for through a loan from the fiscal court from the Community Development Block Grant fund. Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield said the county will set up a “very low” interest rate on the loan so the property can be purchased.

“We have to get some more land,” Westerfield said. “We’re out of room in our industrial parks — which is a good problem to have — but we need to buy some more property for another one.”

The CDBG grant is held in a special fund by the fiscal court, but its purpose is to provide money for industrial development projects. Westerfield said the property available in the Fariston area totals 98 acres, although the industrial authority will only purchase 45 acres “at this time.” The amount for the new park will range between $275,000 to $300,000. Deputy Judge Executive Rick Brewer said there was “not much more than that” in the CDBG fund.

Magistrates also approved Westerfield to submit a sealed bid on another property, although no details of that were released during the meeting. Westerfield said the bids had to be sealed but if the county won the bid, the details of the location and price would be announced when the bid was awarded.

Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson requested reimbursement for valet parking at a recent County Clerk’s convention in Louisville, which was approved by the fiscal court. Johnson said he was told his vehicle was too large for the available parking facility at the convention site and his only other option was a graveled and unguarded lot in the downtown area near the convention site.

“I didn’t want to leave my truck in a graveled parking lot in an unwatched area of downtown Louisville,” Johnson explained.

Westerfield agreed with Johnson, stating he had the same experience when he attended a mandatory meeting for county judges.

“I think we should allow that for all county employees,” he said, with the six magistrates unanimously agreeing.

Johnson also asked for reimbursement for his mileage to Frankfort to testify before the Ethics Board last week. Johnson filed a complaint before the state Ethics Commission earlier this year after he and other clerks across the state received an email from Alison Lundergan Grimes, current state secretary who is challenging U.S. Congressman Mitch McConnell for his Senate seat. The email asked for monetary support from state officials and was went through the state’s email system. Johnson said he filed the complaint after he received several contacts questioning Grimes’ method. The trip to Frankfort to testify in that case was to verify the information listed in the complaint, Johnson said.

In other actions, the magistrates:

• Approved training hours for two county employees

• Approved hiring Luke Moore to clean the sheriff’s office for $10 per hour, and working less than 99 hours per month. The previous custodian recently resigned from that position.

• Approved the memorandum of agreement between the Department for Local Government and Laurel County for a project in the London-Laurel County Wellness Park. Westerfield said a technicality in the paperwork was incorrect and needed approval to resubmit the paperwork.

• Approved accepting Logan Lane in District 1, Double Trails Road in District 4, Corvette Drive in District 5 and Avawam Estates in District 3 into the county road system

• Approved H.C. Drive and Collett Road in District 4 into the county road system

• Approved two school bus turnarounds, one in District 2 and one in District 5

• Established a two-member committee to review D. Sizemore Road in District 6. Westerfield said the road should be closed since the county had never taken it into the road system and had never maintained it.

• Approved Westerfield to purchase two used pickup trucks from the state surplus sale for $13,000

• Approved the 2014 meeting schedule for the fiscal court and approved the 2014 holiday schedule for county employees.