The budget for the sheriff’s department had been tabled at the previous meeting to give magistrates more time to look at it. However, the budget was so much larger than the current one that magistrates voted to table any action.
Trigg County Sheriff Ray Burnam told the fiscal court about his budget, set at about $545,000 – 20 percent larger than the budget for the current fiscal year, set at about $495,000. He said that a lot of that extra money would be coming from the state through the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund (KLEFPF), some of which would be used to pay the salaries of the court designated security officers.
Burnam also said that the biggest difference will be in salaries, and added that as soon as a new deputy gets back from the academy, the sheriff’s department will have a full-time deputy.
“With that … we’re going to be gaining four jobs, two full time, two part time,” Burnam said. “For every dollar that I’m asking from the fiscal court, we’re getting a return of $3.42.”
The sheriff said he’s made cuts in other areas to make it possible to hire new deputies. When asked by Magistrate Rick Nelson about 24/7 patrols, Burnam said they have 24-hour patrols some days, and will be able to have 24-hour patrol more days per week with the new budget.
Magistrate Jon Goodwin made the motion, which Lawrence seconded, to approve the budget as it was presented.
In related business, the fiscal court unanimously approved a salary cap for the sheriff’s department. The cap is set at $325,000, and includes full-time, part-time and overtime wages, vacation and sick leave and KLEFPF money.
By a vote of 5 – 1, the fiscal court also unanimously approved of the biomass project for Trigg County Hospital after hospital representatives talked about it. Nelson provided the sole no vote based primarily on concerns about the project’s costs versus its energy savings.
“Lyon County and Trigg County obviously were probably selected because of their proximity to Land Between the Lakes, and all the damage and destruction that was done there, and the biomass that was created during the ice storm,” said Trigg County Judge Executive Stan Humphries.
Alisa Coleman, Chief Executive Officer of Trigg County Hospital, explained what the biomass project entails. She said that this will primarily be a demonstration project, a green project, that will use wood chips to help heat the water to create steam for the hospital’s boiler system.
The total cost of the project will be about $1 million in grant money – a number that includes a contingency, although Coleman expects not to have to use it, as the actual project came under budget.
“Initially, we had thought that the project would be something that we might be able to use for heating and electricity,” Coleman said. “But we found out early on that the amount of money we were awarded would not come close to” making that possible.
The hospital will save about $11,000 per year over five years in energy costs, said Coleman, who added that it won’t save that much money in the long run. She also said that they are in partnership with Land Between the Lakes, who will provide the hospital with fuel for the project at no additional cost for the first five years.
“After the end of that demonstration period, then we will have to come out with cash for that fuel,” said Coleman.
Michael Gross, chairman of the hospital’s board of trustees, said that it’s likely that some of the debris created by the ice storm will be used.
B.H. Green of Paducah will be the contractor in charge of the project. They have been involved with other projects in Cadiz and Trigg County, Humphries said. Representatives of B.H. Green spoke to the hospital board the Thursday before the fiscal court meeting.
Nelson said that even though the grant money ensures that Trigg citizens won’t pay for the project, taxpayers somewhere will. He had several other questions and concerns about the project.
“This is a million dollar project, and the savings is going to be about $11,000 a year,” Nelson said. “You do the math, and it’s going to take quite a few years to realize the cost … Is the hospital going to be around that long?”
Nelson added that he was talking about the building, and he asked if the project would hinder any possible expansion projects or any possible moves on the part of the hospital. Gross said the project’s location ensures that isn’t the case.
The court unanimously approved its monthly bills. Notable bills include a $1,683 bill and a $1,710 bill to North American Salt Company for a total of 50 tons of salt and $16,000 to Shelby’s Truck and Equipment for two front-mounted snow plows and two salt spreaders.
John Davis of Air Evac also asked the fiscal court to have county employees become members, and said he would come back later with more details.
And a resolution retiring Randy Clark’s radio number was read and was also passed unanimously. Clark was the Trigg County Sheriff from 1985 – 2010, and when he was first elected he was the youngest sheriff in Kentucky.