The event was co-moderated by Alan Watts of WKDZ and Justin McGill of The Cadiz Record, and the Trigg County Democrat and Republican women’s clubs assisted in gathering questions from the audience. Melissa Noel of WKDZ and Becky Boggess of The Cadiz Record served as timekeepers.
The following is a recap of each portion of the forum.
Cadiz City Council
Frankie Phillips, Todd King, Susan Bryant, Regenia Wilkerson Jasper, Manuel Brown and Bob Noel are all running for re-election to the Cadiz City Council. Jim Lancaster and Cindy Sholar are also running for positions on the board. The six that get the most votes will be elected.
Question 1: What will you do on the City Council if elected, and if re-elected what would you do differently?
Many of the candidates, such as Brown, Noel and King, talked about a need to work with the Cadiz/Trigg County Economic Development Commission (EDC). Brown and King also specified that they would also work with the Cadiz-Trigg County Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve lost several jobs when we lost Johnson Controls,” Brown said. “I think we can do more to get new businesses in Cadiz.”
Noel said he would like to see more beautification efforts in the east of Cadiz, as that is where the Interstate meets Cadiz, and “you only get one chance to make a first impression.”
Jasper and Bryant echoed the sentiments of their fellow city councilors.
Lancaster said he would encourage the employees of Cadiz to “give their best” and added that he would work to make sure the departments of the City of Cadiz are adequately funded so they can do their job more efficiently.
“I think it’s time to concentrate on some of the residential areas of the city, which also pay taxes,” Lancaster said.
Sholar noted that as the manager of Renaissance on Main Street for eight years, they had many accomplishments and worked with the EDC and the Tourism Commission.
“The city of Cadiz needs jobs,” Phillips said, simply.
King also noted that people should call him if they feel there is a problem.
Question 2: What do you see as the biggest problems facing the city, and what kind of solutions would you offer?
The candidates generally talked about the need for more jobs in the city.
“The loss of jobs at Johnson Controls is a major concern,” Sholar said. “It’s not up to government … to create the jobs, it’s government’s job to foster an environment which helps businesses remain viable and economically feasible.”
Bryant said the city needs to have something in place that will make a factory or other industry want to move to the area, like a school system, which she thinks is great, and a good community, such as Cadiz.
Jasper said that educating people will help them to get jobs, and that more programs are needed so that people have the proper training for those jobs. She added that infrastructure is also very important.
“We do have a good community, we have good people here,” Jasper said. “I think we can help each other if we are unified.”
Lancaster echoed the need for more jobs, and also stated that more infrastructure will be necessary to attract new industries and to keep current ones.
“Unemployment is going to run out sooner or later,” King said. “As someone on the EDC board, we’re out searching (for jobs) everyday … That will be my No. 1 focus.”
The city needs to continue to work with the businesses that are already here so that they will stay here, said Noel.
Brown and Phillips, like the other candidates, talked about the need to bring more jobs into the area. Phillips talked about upgrading Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
“We need to treat our businesses fair, new and old,” Phillips said.
Question 3: What kind of additional tax revenues do you think could help the city?
The candidates were unanimous in not wanting to raise taxes on the citizens of Cadiz. Instead, many, especially Sholar, talked about raising tax revenues by bringing in new people and businesses.
Another common theme was the importance of having a budget that doesn’t require a tax increase.
“I know a lot of us, we see things we want, but we don’t have to have,” King said.
“Let’s see where we can cut some expenses before we consider raising taxes,” Lancaster said.
Jasper said she doesn’t want to raise taxes. “But … sometimes, it happens,” she added.
“Nobody wants taxes raised,” Bryant said. “We’ve done quite well.”
Question 4: What are your thoughts on attending training sessions offered by the Kentucky League of Cities?
The candidates all said they would have no problem with attending those training sessions, although some, such as Lancaster were reluctant to do so on the city’s dime, even if they like the general idea of training. Others, like King, Bryant and Jasper, talked about not having had time to attend some of those sessions.
Sholar said that as Main Streeet Manager, she had three required training sessions per year, and added that she has no problem with training.
“The training (sessions) are good, you get information mailed to you that you can read, that you can study,” Bryant said.
Lancaster noted that he has not attending any of the training necessary to be on the city council.
Phillips said that while he had no problem with the training courses, they would be mor convenient if they were closer.
Question 5: If there was a vote two years from now to re-enact prohibition, how would you vote?
Many of the candidates, such as Phillips, Brown, Noel said they voted against repealing prohibition last year, and would vote against the sale of alcohol again.
“I was against before and I would be against this time, too,” said Phillips.
Brown agreed with Phillips on both counts, but also noted that he voted for the tax on alcohol sales in the city. “If they’re going to sell it here, we deserve to have a tax on it,” he added.
“I did vote against it, but … the people that was for it, they’re not bad people,” said King. “But I would have to think about it in the next term.”
Jasper mostly concurred with what King said.
Lancaster said that while he voted against the sale of alcohol last year, he doesn’t know if he wants to put the county through that again, so the sale probably should continue.
Bryant said she didn’t vote against the sale of alcohol last year, as she thought about how the money from an alcohol tax could be used. Both she and Sholar noted that Cadiz Police Chief Hollis Alexander has said there hasn’t been a noticeable change in DUIs since alcohol has been sold.
Bryant added that while she’s generally against new taxes, she’s in favor of luxury taxes, such as those on alcohol and tobacco.
“I can’t really tell any difference,” said Sholar.
Current Cadiz Mayor Lyn Bailey is running for another term, and James “Bobby” Britt is running against him.
Question 1: How would you support local businesses of any size?
Bailey said they are working on supporting local businesses via the EDC, which he said works with businesses of all sizes.
Britt said all local businesses, no matter the size, need to be supported, “not just certain ones, friends of friends, who knows who.” However, some larger businesses should also be brought into the area, added Britt.
Question 2: What are some of the biggest problems facing the city, and what kind of solutions would you offer?
Britt said he agreed with the city council candidates when they said that the job issue is the biggest problem facing Cadiz. “We need to create a tax-friendly environment to try to bring new businesses in here,” he said.
Bailey said the big problem is indeed trying to find new jobs and industries, and he added that much work has gone into to solving that problem.
“We have the environment to for people to come here,” Bailey said. “We have recreation, a super school system, we have a hospital … I think we’re on the right track.”
Question 3: What would you do to ensure that the county and city governments work more closely together?
Bailey said the city and county governments already work closely, adding that he and Trigg County Judge Executive Stan Humphries “have a very nice relationship … and the city council and fiscal court work good together.” He added that people probably don’t hear about some of the joint ventures that the city and county work together on.
Britt said the city and county need to agree on the definition of a working relationship, and that while it has been good, it could be improved via improved communication.
Question 4: What are your thoughts on putting all of the utility lines in downtown Cadiz underground for beautification purposes?
Britt said he would be willing to put those utility lines underground only if it doesn’t cost the city too much money, especially under current economic conditions. “It’s important … but there’s other things that are more important,” he stated.
Bailey said he and the city have already looked into the idea, and they did it with Renaissance on Main money. “We have looked at doing that, and the expense of it is just unbelievable,” he added. “And unless we can get some funds somewhere to help us, it will be almost impossible … for the city to do that.”
Question 5: What can the City of Cadiz do for the youth to keep them at home and to give them something to do?
Recruiting some new industries, Bailey said, is something that could keep the youth in the area. “We’re very fortunate to have the college system we have in Hopkinsville to train a lot of our youth here,” said Bailey, who added that a lot of youth are indeed staying in Trigg County. He also name-dropped Murray State University and Austin Peay State University.
“I think we need a youth center here,” Britt said. “We have a senior citizens center here, a new one, and it’s very nice and it’s very well needed. But the youth in this town haven’t got a lot of attention.”
The city could pay for a youth center, which would be used for outdoor activities, after-school tutoring, counseling and anything else they need, by applying for a state grant would help, said Britt. The tutoring would help them to become better students.
Question 6: What would you do to preserve the historical buildings in downtown Cadiz?
Britt said that historic buildings in downtown Cadiz should be preserved, and that some of those that have been torn down maybe shouldn’t have been.
“The old courthouse, in my opinion, could have been possibly left where it’s at … as a tourist spot,” Britt said, adding that the Justice Center possibly could have been moved to an area closer to the post office.
Bailey said a preservation ordinance is already in place and will protect some of those historic buildings. “We don’t have many left … but I think what we’ve got there now is safe for the future. I think we have a lot of people looking into them now to do things to them.”
Trigg County Fiscal Court
Steve Darnall (R) and Mike Wright (D) are running for District 1 Magistrate, Incumbent Barry Littlejohn (R) and Hugh Dunn (D) are running for District 2 Magistrate, Mike Hyde (R) and Jeff Broadbent (D) are running for District 4 Magistrate and Rick Nelson (R) and Tom Ledford (D) are running for District 5 Magistrate.
Incumbent Jon Goodwin (R) is running unopposed for District 3 Magistrate, Incumbent Larry Lawrence (D) is running unopposed for District 6 Magistrate and Incumbent Donnie Tyler (D) is running unopposed for District 7 Magistrate. The three unopposed candidates were not part of the debate.
Question 1: What are the duties of a magistrate?
The primary duty of a magistrate, Ledford said, “is to serve the fiscal needs of the county, to keep them within the budget.”
Nelson said the two most important duties of a magistrate are to manage the county budget and to maintain roads. “I’ve reached about 90 percent of the homes in my district, and I’ve seen that many of the roads are in disrepair.” He added that a magistrate is “a face for the county” and “needs to be an advocate for the county.”
Broadbent said the job of a magistrate is to represent the people of that particular district and of the county as a whole. He continued by saying a magistrate should provide leadership to “move the county in a positive direction.”
Hyde said he would take any concerns and issues brought to him by his constituents to the fiscal court. He also proposed a district-wide quarterly meeting, wherein District 4 voters could meet to talk about what they think needs to be done. “819 people (the number of voters in District 4) can come up with some ideas that could go to fiscal court and make this county a success.”
The purpose of a magistrate is to listen to his constituents and to “get out and check the roads, and to work with the fiscal court to try to promote more factories,” Dunn said. “That means more jobs for people that are out of work.”
Littlejohn, the only incumbent in the debate, said a magistrate is supposed to represent his constituents, and to “lighten the load” of the judge executive by going to meetings in Frankfort or Lexington or wherever.
Darnall said a magistrate is supposed to help control the county’s money and to take care of the roads, and he added that he will “serve the will of the people.” He also wants to be an “ambassador” for the county.
“You’re right off of I-24, you can go see four national league football teams within for hour,” Darnall said. “You can go see Major League Baseball, and yet you’re not in the big city. You live in a small, country, rural setting, where people are nice, people are good.”
Wright said his job would be to attend fiscal court meetings and serve on boards, and to be a magistrate means being willing to travel. A magistrate also has to promote Trigg County.
Question 2: How would you better support Trigg County Hospital?
The first action would be to appoint a board with qualified members that will effectively oversee the hospital and manage its finances, said Wright, who also said the hospital is important to the county for many reasons, including the health care of the citizens and because it could be an asset for industries that might think of moving here.
Trigg County Hospital “is never going to be a huge, profit-making organization,” Wright said. “That’s always been a struggle.”
Darnall said there are some good people on hospital’s board of directors, and that he is “proud” that the county has a hospital, more many of the reasons that Wright stated. “The court has to do what the court has to do … we can seek money from federal sources or whatever sources we can find … to keep our hospital,” he added.
Littlejohn said it’s very important that the county keep the hospital operating. “It is not a major world-wide trauma center, we all know that, but it is very important to our community,” he said.
Every magistrate should attend hospital board meetings, in order to know what is going on with the hospital, Littlejohn said.
Dunn echoed the sentiments of his fellow candidates by stating the importance of good hospital board members and by saying that the county needs the hospital to bring in more industries and jobs. “We need to support the hospital more than we do today,” he added.
Hyde, who worked as an EMT at the hospital for 14 years, disputed the idea that the hospital is “no more than a band-aid station.” He also praised the current hospital board.
The hospital will never be an entirely profitable enterprise, said Broadbent, who agreed with some of Wright’s points on the matter. “The best thing we can do is attract quality personnel.”
Broadbent also suggested that a lower rate could possibly be offered to local citizens to give them more of a reason to go to TCH over an out-of-county hospital.
Nelson, like others, talked about the hospital’s importance in attracting new businesses and people, and he also said he hoped that Wright and Broadbent were incorrect about the hospital’s capacity for profitability.
“I think it’s time we look at ways to make it profitable, let’s look at what’s out there,” Nelson said. “Let’s see what works and what doesn’t.”
Ledford joined other candidates in praising the current hospital board, adding that as the terms of those board members expire, the fiscal court can continue to appoint qualified people.
Question 3: Would you consider a land use or zoning ordinance for the county?
The candidates were almost united in their opposition to a county-wide zoning ordinance, but many think the time is coming when the county will need to have a debate about county land-use ordinances.
“I think we need to take a good neighbor policy,” Ledford said. “But there will come a time where we’re going to have to address zoning. Am I for it? No. Are we going to have to have it? Most likely.”
Nelson said that in the past land use planning and zoning has been a “non-starter,” as there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, but the county, and especially the fiscal court, needs to have this discussion.
“I believe the government should respect property rights of individuals, but this has been an issue because of abuse and neglect,” Nelson said, adding that when abandoned trailers become health hazards or when someone has an illegal dump, then everyone is affected.
Broadbent said he would be “very cautious” about passing any ordinance that would tell individuals how to use their property, but like Nelson talked about abandoned properties becoming health hazards. The first action, however, should be to talk to the people who are responsible for said neglect or abuse, he said.
The issue needs to be discussed, Hyde said, and the constituents need to be involved in that discussion. “We’re going to have to face it sooner or later. Until then, all we can do is just respect our neighbors.”
Dunn said he work with other magistrates to enact an ordinance that would eliminate the open dumpsites throughout the county.
Littlejohn said there are nuisance laws on the books to alleviate some of the concerns people have, but they don’t completely solve the problems. He also said that while he won’t support a countywide zoning law, some additional guidelines will be necessary.
“I don’t like the word ‘zoning’, but I also have to take into consideration the citizens,” said Darnall, who talked about the importance of people respecting their neighbors as well as the importance of coming to a consensus on the issue.
Wright said nobody has any clear-cut answers to the land use problem. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but we can’t let one man’s trash be a deterrent to people wanting to settle in our city, to industry that’s looking to locate here,” he said.
Property Valuation Administrator
Michael T. Bryan (D) is running for re-election to the office of Property Valuation Administrator (PVA), and Glenda Williamson (R) is running against him.
Question 1: What are your specific qualifications for PVA?
Williamson that to even be considered for the position of PVA, one has to pass a math test in Frankfort, a test she has passed. She also said you have to have an “extensive background” in real estate.
Bryan said that like Williamson, he has passed the exam, and also said he’s been a real estate broker for years. The computer system they use was installed about 14 years ago, added Bryan.
Williamson rebutted, stating that a PVA candidate has an obligation not to have any kind of conflict of interest. “If I were still in real estate, and doing this job, that would be a definite conflict of interest.”
Bryan rebutted, and said, “If I was doing that, it would be a conflict of interest.” He said that in 2005, the ethics commission ruled that it’s a conflict of interest if a PVA supervises real estate sale representatives, sales associates in the county in which they are a PVA.
Question 2: What specific changes do you plan to implement as PVA?
Bryan said he and his office have been working hard on improving their computer system, that they have been using aerial photography of the properties, and that they are working to make their records “100 percent accurate.”
Williamson think the computer system should be put online so that consumers can use it, adding that every county that has put their PVA computer system online has saved “a great deal of money.”
Question 3: Does the state have any guidelines with regard to the PVA having a job as a real estate agent? Is it a conflict of interest?
“It is a conflict of interest any time that you’re selling real estate, whether it’s by auction or individually, and you’re also assessing real property and personal property,” Williamson said.
Bryan reiterated what the ethics commission ruled on in 2005. “Auctions are done to the public. They are not listed by sales associates, they’re not listed by the PVA … That’s what the ethics commission said,” he said. “Ethics commissions don’t make the laws, and there is no law … that a PVA cannot have a real estate broker’s license.”
Williamson rebutted and said, “I disagree, and I’ve done some research.”
Question 4: Given the downward trend in national housing market, do you plan on re-evaluating Trigg County homes to match the national level, and do you see a lower property tax rate for Trigg County?
Bryan said the PVA has nothing to do with tax rates, which are set by state and local governments.
“Most of the property that’s selling is either waterfront or farms,” Bryan said. “We’re more than willing to look at anyone’s property anytime if they think it’s not being assessed fairly.”
Williamson said she will “go into these areas where there are a lot of foreclosures, vacancies … and the surrounding properties should be re-evaluated physically and brought down to the proper tax level.”
Trigg County Attorney
Current Trigg County Attorney H.B. Quinn is running for re-election as a write-in candidate, and Randall Braboy (D) is running against him.
Question 1: What kind of experience did you have before being elected to Trigg County Attorney?
Quinn said he tried his first criminal case before graduating from law school, and also said he has been a public defender in Princeton and Paducah, and worked for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office when he came to Cadiz, where he learned how to write search warrants, criminal complaints, and other things.
“I’ve been an attorney for 15 years, practicing here in Cadiz for 12 years,” said Braboy. “I have practiced criminal law, I’ve practiced civil law … I have worked with Mr. Quinn. The county attorney’s position is largely a position of negotiating settlements between the accused and the victims of the crime. A very small number of cases go to trial.”
Quinn rebutted, saying that a county attorney can’t negotiate everything, as trials are sometimes necessary. “And in 15 years, Braboy has never tried a … federal case,” he added.”
In a rebuttal, Braboy said that wasn’t entirely accurate, as he has tried “criminal cases in the form of court trials, and I’ve done that with you.”
Question 2: How many cases have you tried? What type of recommendations could you make to improve the procedures you see taking place right now in our District Court system?
Both candidates said they couldn’t put an exact number on the number of cases they’ve tried.
“Over the past 12 years, I have worked as the public defender on a contract basis,” Braboy said. “None of those cases ever went to trial. Part of that is, the system just doesn’t necessitate a lot of defendants going to trial.”
Quinn reiterated a previous point and said trials are sometimes necessary. “I’ve tried them against Bill Deatherage, who’s probably, I won’t say one of the most ruthless defense attorneys, but I’ve tried cases against all those people.”
Quinn admitted that most cases are negotiated, and said that while he would like more trial dates, the judges preside over four counties.
In a rebuttal, Braboy said that in the last term Quinn has had 1,776 misdemeanor cases filed in Trigg District Court, and that of all those cases, three went to a jury trial.
“I think I can manage that my first year,” said Braboy.
Question 3: What are the county attorney’s duties concerning the Trigg County Fiscal Court’s budget?
With regard to the fiscal court budget, the only thing the county attorney does is make sure that everything the court does is legal, i.e. everything is advertised, is read correctly in fiscal court and is published in the paper, Quinn said.
Braboy said he couldn’t answer that question very well as he has never advised the fiscal court and has no experience in that area. However, he also said he’s familiar with budgets, has a business degree and has served on a few local boards.
Question 4: What is the county attorney’s role in dealing with the fiscal court?
Braboy said he has been to several fiscal court meetings this year, and in that time he has seen Quinn read ordinances and open envelopes to announce bids on projects, so he thinks that the attorney’s duties with regard to the fiscal court must go beyond the meetings.
Quinn said a county attorney has to know the law and has to know “what’s going on,” adding that legal issues have come up numerous times that had to be resolved at that meeting, issues he had answers to.
“But as far as going and watching fiscal court, to me it’s sort of like sitting at home and watching NASCAR races for about three years and feeling like that gives you the authority to be a driver,” Quinn said.
Question 5: Are you for or against Grow Trigg?
“I’m not for or against them, I think that they legitimately have tried to do what they think is best of Trigg County, and I respect that,” Quinn said. He also said they have asked him about issues other than alcohol, including the problem of abandoned buildings in the Rockcastle area.
“As far as I’m concerned … if there are people that are interested in the best interests of Trigg County, then I’m for those people,” added Quinn, who also mentioned groups like Genesis Express and the Ham Festival Committee.
Braboy said he didn’t want to make the county attorney’s race “a referendum on the vote that went on last year,” referring to the alcohol referendum. “I do not support the Grow Trigg organization in their efforts, but I will also tell you I was not out there with the no voters.”
Trigg County Sheriff
Current Trigg County Sheriff Randy Clark (D) is running for re-election, and Ray Burnam (R) is running against him.
Question 1: What would you do to work with the Cadiz Police Department, Kentucky State Police and the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force?
Burnam said he wouldn’t lower his standards in order to get along with other law enforcement agencies, adding that he’s turned in other officers when they’ve done things he thought they shouldn’t be doing.
“I will work with them on a professional level, but I’m not going to lower my standards to get along with anyone,” he said. “You deserve better than that … I’m not going to wait on them to get here on something that needs to be handled now.”
Clark said he doesn’t think he needs to lower his standards as far as other agencies go, and praised officers in the KSP, CPD and PNTF. He added that if they can turn a drug dealer, they can get who that drug dealer is working for, which can take months of hard work.
“We make sure we do the right thing at the right time,” Clark said. “We’re not going to rush into anything … I’m not waiting on anybody, but I’m coordinating with them and cooperating with them.”
Clark also said that 41 percent of the cases Burnam has worked on have been dismissed.
In a rebuttal, Burnam talked about the county attorney’s unwillingness to prosecute some cases. “A lot of those cases depend on your last name, and those are the ones that are dismissed,” he said.
Clark rebutted and said, “I’ve worked hard to have the best integrity, the best respect … because if you don’t have the respect and you don’t have the integrity, you might as well go home.”
He also said his department has arrested “a lot of people that are related.”
Question 2: Given the increase in drug activity, would you be in favor of adding a K-9 dog or other things that might help? What is your position on Trigg County drug crime investigations concerning local or outside agencies?
Clark said the sheriff’s department has to work with other agencies, and that while the TCSD doesn’t always wait on those agencies, sometimes it has to or it might risk an investigation, especially one involving an undercover agent. “Everybody has to be on the same page,” he also said.
Clark said the department has had the most forfeitures and seizures, and some of the biggest drug cases, in the history of the county since he has been sheriff.
Burnam said the KSP Post 1 is responsible for 11 counties while the PNTF is responsible for 16 counties, and local officers are needed to investigate local drug crimes. He also referred to Operation Wildcat, a “roundup,” which he said he is against.
In a rebuttal, Clark said a roundup “is a very good tool,” as informants should be used so that the big dealers can be caught. “If you run out here the first night and arrest that dealer, you put it in the media … you can’t use him anymore.”
As a rebuttal, Burnam said, “When you arrest that subject on the first night, he doesn’t have a chance to sell more drugs to your kids.”
Question 3: What would you do to make Trigg County safer, especially from repeat offenders?
Burnam said the first thing he would do is try harder to solve the four unsolved murder cases in the county. He said he will also have town meetings, where he will talk with citizens about issues related to crime. He also wants to start a Citizens on Patrol group, more neighborhood watch programs and more self defense classes.
“I don’t believe in triple-digit pursuits in city limits,” Burnam said. “You put everybody at risk.”
Clark said they’ll keep arresting those that break the law, as they can’t sentence them or change the law. “That’s all I can do as sheriff. I can talk to the judges, I can work with our legislators to change laws that I don’t approve of. I’ve done that since 1985, and we’ve had some success.”
Federal and state law, added Clark, have put a stop to triple-digit pursuits in city limits, and sheriff’s department policies reflect that.
In a rebuttal, Burnam said he wants the public to know what happens to offenders after they’re arrested.
Clark rebutted by reiterating that he’ll continue to work with prosecutors and judges “to make sure we get the most punishment we can for the crimes that these people have done,” and that he’ll make sure the case is tight enough that it doesn’t have to be dismissed, and tight enough that a plea bargain isn’t necessary.
Question 4: Is a 24-hour patrol needed in the county?
The county “absolutely” needs 24-hour patrols, said Clark, who also said they while they have “24-hour coverage,” they don’t have 24-hour patrols, which he said is his biggest goal in the next four years.
On the other hand, the sheriff’s department doesn’t need deputies that work 19-hour days, as fatigued officers don’t need to be out on the street.
Burnam said that if he has the same number of deputies that Clark has, he can schedule one to work from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m., albeit not every night.
In a rebuttal, Clark said that would work if “you don’t have officers that get sick, don’t have vacation time, you don’t have training time you have to go to, you don’t have to pull them in because you have a major event you need everybody for.”
Burnam rebutted, saying that such a shift wouldn’t exist everyday, but would be a viable option for weekends and holidays.
Question 5: What will you do to make sure all reports are seen through to completion and don’t stall?
Burnam said he’s going to “keep a close eye” on all cases that go through the sheriff’s department. If the officer doesn’t send a report to Frankfort, “then statistically, that crime did not happen,” he said. “The sheriff’s department did not report a lot of crimes.”
Reporting every crime will make the county more competitive in the area of law enforcement grants, added Burnam.
Clark said they’ve changed to an electronic recording system, wherein reports are filled out electronically and are sent to the KSP information repository automatically, and he also said that system helps him to review those cases, because there are checks and balances.
Burnam said the system isn’t automatic in that an officer has to show up at the scene of a crime and input the data, and he said there are still a lot of crimes that aren’t reported by the sheriff’s department.
Clark, in another rebuttal, said that they respond to every call “with everything we can,” although many times there is only one officer on duty, and they have to go where they can. “We get to it as soon as we can,” he said.
Trigg County Judge Executive
Current Trigg County Judge Executive Stan Humphries (R) is running for re-election, and Linda Humbert (D) is running against him.
Question 1: What are three things you will do if elected/re-elected?
Both Humphries and Humbert said that bringing in new jobs was the most important goal.
Infrastructure, in particular gas lines to Lake Barkley State Resort Park is important, as are the youth of Trigg County, said Humphries, who said there will be something in place for the youth akin to the senior center if he is elected. He also took a shot at Johnson Controls, Inc.
“JCI did not return phone calls for over a year,” Humphries said. “We knew something was going on. Do you think a company of that size cares what the county judge executive thinks?”
Humbert said she’s working on two business incubation projects in the area, which she hope will bring more than 200 jobs to the county. She also said she’s working with some people to implement a youth program, and is working the Janice Mason Art Museum on an expansion project.
“I have a lot of vision going for this county, I have a lot of ideas about funding things we can do here,” Humbert said, who added that she wants to bring more tourists from the lake to the city.
In a rebuttal, Humphries said he has never come out against the business incubation projects, only that he wants more information on the progress of those two projects beyond what has been said in press releases.
Humbert, in her rebuttal, said applications had been filed on Sept. 13, applications that are currently in Lexington. More documentation, she added, will be asked for, including a feasibility study and three years of projected financial information.
Question 2: Given that the city council and fiscal court operate independently and don’t coordinate with one another, would you be willing to attend Cadiz City Council meetings to see what is happening?
Humbert said she already attends fiscal court meetings and has for the past two years and attends most city council meetings. “I find it to be very interesting to see how the two governments run … their meetings and how they conduct their businesses,” she said.
Humbert said she’ll do what she can to combine city and county efforts to help both.
Humphries said he and Mayor Bailey speak at least once a week, and sometimes more than that, about what’s happening in the community. And like Bailey, he said there have been many coordinated efforts between the city and county.
“I do think there’s always room for improvement,” said Humphries, who thinks he and the magistrates should make it a point to attend city council meetings.
In a rebuttal, Humbert said she has never seen Bailey at a fiscal court meeting, and she has rarely seen Humphries at a city council meeting. “I think we need more than just private phone conversations every once in a while,” she said.
Question 3: What do you think are additional sources of tax revenue for the county?
The county, Humphries said, is limited in how it can bring in revenue. Property taxes, and insurance premium taxes are ways to bring in county revenue, said Humphries, who added that although some communities use payroll taxes, revenues from such taxes would drastically decrease as people lose their jobs.
Communities that rely on payroll taxes would see their budgets “go into a tailspin” during an economic downturn,” said the judge executive.
Humphries also said the county has increased insurance premium taxes by 3 percent, not 5 percent as Humbert had said in an ad. It had been set at 3 percent in 1990 and needed to be adjusted.
Humbert said building the population, especially in some of the more sparsely populated areas, will bring in more tax revenue, and that more can be done to support the local realty association to attract more residents.
“We don’t like being in a congested area, but I also know that there are many areas of this county … where we have very low density of population and we could easily add another couple of thousand,” Humbert said.
She also talked about the transient room tax and the definition of a campground versus a motor court. She said she wants to talk to legislators about that to see if the transient room tax can apply to campgrounds and motor courts.
In a rebuttal, Humphries said only the city can impose an increase in the transient room tax.
The transient tax affects both the city and county, Humbert said in her rebuttal.
Question 4: Do you consider it a conflict of interest to be a judge executive and have a business entity in the area that might bring more jobs into the community?
Humbert said that her marketing company has nothing to do with Trigg County, and that although she works with a national horse magazine, she has no customers in the county, so building tourism in Trigg County would have no impact on that magazine, which she didn’t name.
Humphries said they raise beef cattle on their farm, which they sold most of, and now they have a family farm, and he doesn’t see a conflict of interest between his family farm and his role as judge executive.
He also said the question might be referencing Business Incubation Projects of West Kentucky, which Humbert is a part of.
Business Incubation Projects, Humbert said, is a non-profit and although she is the president of that organization, it’s basically operated by the board of directors.
Question 5: What recommendations can you suggest to cause the court to operate more efficiently and to bring more money to the county?
“I preside over seven magistrates, which is oftentimes not easy,” Humphries said. “I rarely vote unless it breaks a tie. These gentlemen need to know what’s going on in the county.”
The training hours that are asked of the magistrates are a help, and if the training sessions were closer to Trigg County, that would be even better, Humphries said, adding that their roles on advisory boards can make them more effective.
Humbert said most people in the county own computers would like to see the total budget document published online for everyone to see, and also said she would like to see where the money is coming from and what it is being spent on.
“Many of our citizens would prefer to get
e-mails … concerning their taxes and other things that come in from the county. I think it would save the county a lot of money in paperwork and postage,” Humbert said.
Question 6: What is the county’s financial responsibility to Trigg County Hospital?
Humbert said the hospital is in “poor financial condition” at the moment, and that it is a critical access center, meaning that anyone who shows up at the emergency room has to be treated regardless of their ability to pay.
As so many are unemployed, the number that can’t pay is increasing, so bringing more jobs into the area will increase the number that are insured, which will help the hospital’s financial situation said Humbert.
Before Humphries was judge executive, the fiscal court, signed a guarantee on the line of credit for the hospital, said Humbert, although she admitted she hasn’t seen the document and has only been told that that is what it says.
“But if so, that’s a very dangerous condition for the county to be in,” she said.
On the tax bill 8 cents per $100 of assessed property goes to the hospital, ambulance and health department, and 1.8 cents of that goes to the health department, said Humphries.
“We have a responsibility to keep the ambulance service in this community,” Humphries, who didn’t doubt Humbert’s description of what the line of credit document says.
“It is a 501(c)3 non-profit, everything up there belongs to Trigg County … We do need a hospital, so what cost is too much to keep the hospital … in Trigg County,” Humphries said.
Question 7: What types of businesses would you like to try to bring into Trigg County?
Humphries said the county has to be “very careful” with the kind of business it wants to bring in, and some of the jobs that are out there aren’t necessarily the types of jobs the county would want.
Sustaining and growing the businesses that are already here is just as important, Humphries, who also said the EDC does more to promote the county and bring jobs that a lot of people give them credit for.
Humbert said that when first looking at starting business incubation projects, it was found that tourism has the greatest potential because of the natural resources here, and the green industry is probably the second most viable.
“We believe that going after small businesses and startup businesses is going to be the key to success,” Humbert said. “We think the reason we sort of floundered the last two years to bring more industry into this county is because we set our sights on the larger companies.”
Many of those larger companies won’t move right now due to the recession, she added.
Question 8: How would you promote more advertising of the county?
Marketing is the strongest asset that any new or existing company has, and one of the problems Trigg County has is that not enough people are using marketing, said Humbert, causing some businesses to close.
“Marketing is absolutely key to everything, from growing this county to individual businesses,” said Humbert. “Tourism, in my opinion, is marketing. What we need to do is market Trigg County, and tell people … they need to come here and bring more visitors here … and bring more money into this community.”
Bringing the Chamber of Commerce, EDC and Tourism Commission into one facility has and will play a role in improving the county’s economic situation, said Humphries.
“I think our chamber of commerce may be able to do a better job” at the location at I-24, although they already have been doing a good job promoting the county, Humphries said.
In a rebuttal, Humbert brought up the transient tax again, noting that since tourism has been down, the transient tax revenues have been down as well, as has the tourism budget.
“Our tourism commission has asked repeatedly for a little more contribution from the city and the state,” Humbert said. “Thus far, the city has agreed to do that, the county is holding on the whole situation.”
Question 9: How would you bring more activities to the county, especially to the Recreation Complex?
Humphries said the recreation complex has “gone through a facelift in the last four years.”
People are booking the facility, which is more popular now than it has been, and many improvements have been made, especially recently, Humphries said, adding that it’s being marketed more aggressively as well.
Humbert agreed that the complex is being used more often since the improvements have started, but more improvements are needed, especially in the lighting department and with regard to the grooming of the fields.
Bringing in tournaments of any kind, especially regional tournaments, is going to be a way of bringing more money to the county as a whole, she said. “People come in for the weekend, they spend money on lodging, they spend money on food, they do a little shopping,” she continued to say. “I think we need to expand it.”
Question 10: There have been rumors of a possible chicken factory or chicken farm, such as Tyson’s, coming to western Kentucky. Would you be opposed to it being in Trigg County?
“Well, I know I don’t want to live next to it,” replied Humbert. “Every business that comes into Trigg County should be evaluated in terms of the impact it have in the surrounding neighbors … the impact it would have on the community.”
The county should perhaps look at ordinances regarding the kind of businesses that can come into the county against things like adult bookstores, tattoo parlors and pawn shops, Humbert said.
Humphries said it’s hard to answer without knowing who the factory or farm would employ. He also said that tourism probably wouldn’t be affected, depending on the location of the factory/farm.
“If it’s going to employ a hundred migrant laborers, I don’t know that we’d be interested. If it’s gonna have jobs we can use to sustain a family, we’ve got to look at it,” Humphries said.
There is currently an ordinance in place in the county against adult bookstores, added Humphries.
Question 11: There are no zoning or land-use restrictions in the county. Should there be?
Humphries said that although he is against a county-wide zoning ordinance, land use management is something the fiscal court should discuss. “I understand the farmers and others (who are against) having any type of government telling them what to do on every little detail.”
However, some type of nuisance law needs to be discussed, said Humphries, who added that the southern part of the county has become a dumping ground, a situation that needs to be address.
“We are not a dumping ground for Clarksville and Montgomery County,” he said.
Humbert also said that the issue is one that needs to be addressed, and said that close to 20 percent of the properties in the Rockcastle area have been abandoned, which poses a health risk to the community.
She added that the state provides funds for cleaning up illegal dumping grounds, which the county isn’t eligible for because dumping isn’t illegal in Trigg County.
In a rebuttal, Humphries said that trailers “don’t fall under the same practice” as illegal dumping. He also said there are laws in the county against dumping.