The Trimble County Fiscal Court discussed road maintenance, waste disposal issues and purchasing county vehicles during its regular meeting on Feb. 21.

Judge-Executive John Ogburn asked magistrates to compile and submit a list of roadwork they want to see done in their districts.

“For some reason, we haven’t turned any roadwork in for the last two years,” Ogburn said. “We need to get caught up on that.”

Ogburn said roadwork is planned for multiple roads throughout the county, including sections of Coopers Bottom Road, the retaining wall on Hardy Creek Road and bridges on Louden Lane, Carmon Creek Road and Old Bedford Road.

Solid Waste Coordinator Michaela Dziedzic reported on illegal dumping on Town Branch Road that has produced a rat infestation. According to Ogburn, the infestation has driven two residents from their home.

“As a court, we’ve really got to dig in, and I’d like to have it approved by the second quarter of this regular year, is getting our nuisance orders tightened up,” said Ogburn. “Planning and zoning doesn’t protect us from these problems … it takes too long through the court system to get these places cleaned up. We can change our ordinance.”

Ogburn said the purpose of changing the ordinance was not to police every property in the county, but to ensure residents can be held responsible for the clean-up of any dumping around the county. “We don’t need rat infestations in Trimble County,” said Ogburn.

The fiscal court approved a motion to purchase two Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs for the sheriff’s department. The new vehicles would replace two Ford Explorers currently in use by the department. According to Sheriff Charlie Kelton, the department is “spending more on maintenance than what they’re worth” to keep the current vehicles operational.

Kelton noted the Carroll County Sheriff’s office recently ordered six Tahoes, but would likely use only four, making it possible for Trimble County to purchase the other two vehicles. The court voted unanimously to purchase the Tahoes for the sheriff’s department.

The fiscal court discussed a letter issued to the Trimble County Fair Board by former Judge-executive Todd Pollock. The letter gave the fair board permission to use the Trimble County Park for the next 20 years, but was not approved by the fiscal court in any meeting minutes.

“I don’t agree with it because the court didn’t approve the letter,” Ogburn said. “We’ve got an issue with the fair board right now, and I just want to make sure, on record, that this letter that was granted, it doesn’t have any backbone to it or any standing to it at all.”

County Attorney Crystal Heinz said the letter could also qualify as a misrepresentation in a grant application by the fair board.

“They needed something as part of the grant to show that they had an extended period of time, longer than just one year, before they had grant approval,” said Heinz. Heinz said she has not seen minutes for any meeting indicating that fiscal court authorized the fair board to use the park property for the next 20 years. “It’s misrepresentation, and something that was never approved,” she noted.

The court voted unanimously to apply for a grant that would reimburse the cost of the county's newly purchased e-poll books for elections. The grant, brought to the court by County Clerk Tina Browning, is for $34,000 and would completely cover the cost of the 20 e-poll books purchased by the county. The county would still be responsible for annual fees, including $600 per year to activate the internal internet in the devices.

Browning also requested the court transfer ownership of steel cages she purchased to Trimble County Little League. She said the cages were larger than she expected and there is no room for them to be stored in her office.

“I wanted to come to you since [the cages] are county property and ask if we could move ownership of those from me to the Trimble County Little League,” Browning said. “I have no place for them. We keep rolling them from one end of the hall to the other.”

Magistrate J.D. Jones suggested the ownership be transferred from Browning to the Trimble County Park. Since the Little League uses the park space, they would still be free to use the cages.

“I do like the idea that they’re at the park and we’re getting everybody’s use out of them,” Jones said. The motion to move ownership of the cages to the Trimble County Park passed unanimously.

Ogburn said the first round of funding for broadband internet service in the county is wrapping up, with 746 homes and businesses targeted in the first round of installation. A second round of installation will be completed in the next two years and is expected to bring high-speed internet to another 1,550 homes and businesses.

In an update via email, EMS Director Will McCoy told the fiscal court that his department has received grants to purchase two more Automated External Defibrillators.

County Emergency Management Director Andrew Stark said that he has received the two new generators for the Bedford and Milton fire departments and installation would start this week and should be completed by March.

Jones updated the court on the status of the Henry/Trimble Animal Shelter. He said he and Melissa Gibson-Cornish met with the Henry County members of the animal shelter board and changed the hours of operation for the facility, though the shelter will be open by appointment at any time for individuals looking to adopt. Jones asked the court to adopt updated standard operating procedures for the shelter.

The fiscal court approved a motion to allow the road department to purchase a compactor vibrating plate after a request from County Road Supervisor Barry Sherrell. The cost is not to exceed $3,000.

Ogburn said he spoke to Karen Long and Melissa Burkhardt about servicing the official Trimble County website to keep the platform up-to-date.

Ogburn nominated Matt Gossom for Trimble County Planning and Zoning Administrator. The magistrates unanimously approved the appointment.

Stacy Rockaway, a representative for Fourth District US Rep. Thomas Massie addressed the court. She encouraged fiscal court members to contact Massie’s office if they or anyone they represent have trouble with any federal agency.

Rockaway said the most common calls received by Massie’s office are due to issues with Social Security, Medicare, disability, veterans benefits and the IRS. If a problem is encountered, Rockaway said the congressman’s office could open a case looking into the issue for no cost.

Rockaway also said Massie would be willing to write a letter of support for any grants the fiscal court applies for. “The congressman is happy to write a letter of support, because that’s our tax money that goes to Washington D.C. to pay for the grants,” Rockaway said. “So he’s happy to try to bring the tax money back here via grants."