October 14, 2013

County gets more road money

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer


More of the county’s roads will get an upgrade, thanks to state money allocated to those projects.

The Laurel County Fiscal Court approved a resolution and agreement to get more funding from state appropriations during a special-called meeting on Wednesday.

The roads benefiting from the extra funds include Freeman Branch Road from Ky. 30 to the end of the state maintenance, B W Ridge Road from Twin Branch Road to the end of state maintenance, and Hazel Patch Road from J. B. Lewis Road to Winding Blade Road. All of these roads are in the northern section of the county in the East Bernstadt area, and all are set to be resurfaced.

Two other roads - Rudy Bear Road and Parris Karr Road - are also on the list for improvements. Rudy Bear Road will see new pavement from Lewiston Road North to Jerry’s Road, while Parris Karr Road will be re-paved from Paris Karr Spur Road South to West City Dam Road.

Laurel County Judge Executive David Westerfield said these funds differed from those already approved by the fiscal court.

“This is state money that is coming from the discretionary funds,” Westerfield said. “We already approved other resurfacing projects and improvements on other roads that come from an agreement with the state road funds.”

Magistrates also approved a memorandum of agreement between Saint Joseph London hospital and Laurel County regarding indigent care. Westerfield explained that many residents in the county are either uninsured or underinsured and the agreement would continue Saint Joseph’s current indigent care program. This program allocates money toward providing full and/or partial payments for medicines and other medical needs.

Magistrates also agreed to move the November meeting from the fourth Thursday - which always falls on Thanksgiving Day - to the third Thursday. That regular monthly meeting will be held on Nov. 21, one week earlier, at 9:30 a.m. The earlier meeting will also allow for the monthly bills to be paid before the last few days of the month.

The fiscal court also approved a resolution for coal severance funds for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Westerfield said this is an annual resolution that gives coal severance funds from the state to all area fire departments.

However, the decrease in coal production resulted in a decrease of funds over the past year. The decrease will be $4,600 less for the city and each county fire department, down from $14,000 last year to $9,384.

“That’s a big drop for the fire departments, but with the situation with the coal industry, it is to be expected,” Westerfield said. “We wish they would get more than in past years, but with the coal receipts being down, it probably will never be that much again.”