Court hears from Ken-Way; passes landfill regulation ordinance on 5-0 vote
In a two-and-a-half hour on Monday night the Butler County Fiscal Court met in regular session. Of most interest on the agenda was the Court’s second-reading--and expected adoption--of a countywide citing ordinance aimed at quelling the number of less-than-one-acre construction/demolition debris (CDD) landfills. Several visitors were in attendance as the meeting was called to order.
The first order of business was a presentation to the Court from Justin Young, with the Kentucky Department of Transportation. Young presented a breakdown of Rural Secondary Road Fund projects for Butler County. The projects include the resurfacing of 6.823 miles of Oak Ridge/Neafus Road at a cost of $543,827.00, and resurfacing of 2.241 miles of Provo Road at a cost of $202,154.00. The total Rural Secondary Fund monies for Butler County for the 2013/14 fiscal year totals $1,585,049.00 and includes $142,892.00 in County Flex Funds. Flex Funds can only be used for paving/patching operations.
Sheriff Scottie Ward presented the court with a check for $24,823.79 for excess fees collected in the last calendar year. Ward had given his report on the receipts at last month’s meeting.
Discussion turned next to the countywide citing ordinance. The ordinance gives the Fiscal Court the permitting power over landfills within Butler County, specifically addressing the less-than-one-acre CDD sites. Much concern has been expressed by citizens in the last several weeks concerning a proposed CDD landfill on Dunbar Coal Road. The site, owned and operated by Ken-Way Contracting of Bowling Green, has drawn vocal opposition from local residents, led by Teresa Johnson and Mike Sykes.
On Monday night Kenneth Allen, owner of Ken-Way Contracting, asked to address the court during discussions of the proposed ordinance. Allen stated that his company already operated five CDD facilities in Butler County with no problems, and in compliance to state codes and the 1980 Butler County ordinances governing dumping. He told the court that he was surprised at the opposition to the Dunbar Coal Road site, as he had only received two calls concerning the matter. He said he didn’t understand the full extent of opposition until he was notified by the state that there would be a public hearing on the Dunbar Coal Road site on April 4th, at Butler County High School.
Allen also said that nobody had called him wanting to walk or visit the site. He refuted claims that the site would be an eyesore. Allen assured the court that the site would be shielded from view by trees, and said that rumors that he would put 20 less-than-one-acre sites on his 20-acre parcel of land. According to Allen regulations require that each less-than-one-acre must be 2,250 feet from other sites.
Speaking for almost 20 minutes Allen addressed concerns about possible groundwater contamination, the dangers of operating his trucks on the narrow road, and what was required to close a site once it was full. According to Allen when his sites are closed all that remains is a landscaped parcel, ready to sow with hay or other grasses, and that he often leaves land better than when he found it. Allen also explained that the materials in the CDD sites have to go somewhere and, “We’re here almost as a service to the community.”
Allen stated that he had not had a chance to review the new ordinance, but presented copies of paperwork to the court showing he had followed the rules of the 1980 ordinance and had made his intentions known in writing to the County Solid Waste Officer. Deye explained to Allen that the new county ordinance gave the Fiscal Court input and control of the permitting process. Allen closed his remarks stating, “We’re here to be good neighbors, not to cause trouble.”
2nd District Magistrate Johnny Tuck, in whose district some of the current CDD sites are located, hotly contested Allen’s view of the sites being a ‘service.’ “The first thing you see when you come into the county from Warren County is a landfill.” Tuck was referencing the Ken-Way landfill on Hwy 232 near the Warren County line. The magistrate also voiced his concerns on damage to roads, traffic and health hazards, and having an eyesore in the county.
Allen again explained that his site in Dunbar would be regulated by existing codes, requiring setback distances to the road, considerations for groundwater drainage, etc. Allen said his company had been in business for 45 years and had never been cited for operations at one of their CDD sites. Judge Fields agreed that Ken-Way is “a solid company,” but said the reason for the opposition comes from people not wanting a landfill next to their homes.
The Judge then opened the discussion to other visitors in the room. Teresa Johnson stood and directed her questions and comments to Ken Allen. In a sometimes emotional exchange with Allen, Johnson charged that Allen just “says what people want to hear,” and had done nothing but try to talk people out of opposing the site, citing phone calls made by Allen to some Dunbar residents. Johnson asked Allen why his site on Hwy 231 gives off foul odors and is often circled by fifty or more vultures. Allen stated that he had never witnessed buzzards over the site.
Before he could continue Johnson resumed her comments, stating, “We don’t want to be anyone’s dumping site. We take pride in where we live.” Johnson also asked Allen what he would do if one of his trucks hit and killed her child on the narrow road or caused other accidents. Allen assured Johnson that his drivers knew how to handle the narrow road conditions. Again Johnson charged Allen with saying what people want to hear, “You just say what people want to hear, but you don’t care about us.” Johnson was joined in commenting by Mike Sykes, who echoed what she had stated, “He doesn’t care about us.”
Judge Fields gaveled the meeting back to order and stated his desire to close the discussion. Resident Sam Hankins asked to address the court and was allowed. Hankins said simply, “If Mr. Allen really wants to be a good neighbor he can dump in Warren County and not ours.”
A roll call vote was taken and the ordinance was adopted by a 5-0 vote.
The magistrates next held the second reading on the new county personnel policy. The ordinance was adopted by a 5-0 vote.
Magistrate Chad Tyree next addressed the court about a cooperative clean up day with the City of Morgantown. Tyree said he was approached by Councilman Russell Givens about combining Earth Day clean-up efforts with the county this year. The City is asking simply to use the county barn as a staging area for dumpsters and drop-offs. Tyree said this would help stop over dumping and abuse of the free dumpsters. By a vote of 5-0 the Court agreed to partner with the City of Morgantown for clean-up day efforts in April.
Magistrate David Whittinghill asked County Attorney Dick Deye about progress on a proposed county nuisance ordinance. Deye said that he is still working out some wording on the ordinance and is having difficulty defining what a nuisance actually is. Chad Tyree suggested a work session to define nuisance. It was agreed that a session would be scheduled, but no action was taken.
The Court approved matching up to half of a TVA grant with the City of Morgantown. The grant would pay for topographical maps and other items pertaining to land purchased in conjunction with the City of Morgantown on Hwy 70. The county’s portion of the $15,789.00 to match the grant will be prorated based on the amount of property owned by each entity.
Judge Fields asked the court to pass a motion approving a payment of $5,556.00 to cover county insurance premiums through the end of the fiscal year. Fields explained that insurance is changing again and that the payment was necessary to avoid reapplying for coverage, and would avoid passing on the expense to county workers. The court approved the payment 5-0.
Chad Tyree next told the court that he had been asked by the Provo Rural Development to invite court to hold a meeting in Provo. Specifically the RD offered the date of May 13th. The court voted 5-0 to move the meeting on the 13th to the Provo RD.
Next, Robert Cron asked to speak to the magistrates. Cron presented the magistrates with an informational packet, then asked to read a short letter. In the letter Cron proposed to put some past issues with the court to bed. Cron asked the court to withdraw a motion made by Stevie Givens at the March 8th, 2010 meeting of the Fiscal Court. That motion authorized County Attorney Dick Deye to ask the Kentucky Attorney General to investigate charges that then-sheriff Joe Gaddie had used county vehicles to campaign during the primary election.
Cron’s letter charged that the allegations against Gaddie were made in an effort to influence the 2010 sheriff’s election. Cron’s packet included letters from the attorneys for the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association and a letter from the attorney general to the county attorney outlining findings in the matter. No action was taken on the matter.
The Court then entered closed session to discuss the purchase of a parcel of land for a proposed Senior Citizens Center, and to discuss possible litigation involving the County Attorney.
When the meeting resumed a motion was made by Stevie Givens and seconded by Keith Daugherty to purchase the land from Dudley Wayne and Mary Lillian Hatcher, and Ann and Victor Martinez for the price of $34,200.00. A roll call vote indicated Stevie Givens, Johnny Tuck, and Keith Daugherty in favor of the motion, with Chad Tyree and David Whittinghill voting no. The measure passed 3-2.
The meeting was then adjourned.
The next regular meeting of the Fiscal Court will be Monday 8th at 6 p.m. All Fiscal Court meetings are open to the public.