Fiscal Court approves bid for new emergency weather sirens

Published 4:00 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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In its first meeting of the month, the Jessamine County Fiscal Court approved a bid award for emergency weather sirens, a bid award for a county bridge repair and voted on tax rates for it and the county health department.

Emergency weather sirens

The Fiscal Court approved a bid award of $465,000 to purchase eight new emergency sirens to be installed around the county. According to Johnny Adams, the director of the emergency management agency in Jessamine County, the county’s tornado warning sirens are all nearly 25 years old, and only seven out of ten are fully operational.

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This approved plan will expand the county’s number of emergency weather sirens to 15.

Adams said the Kentucky Transportation Department may also purchase one more siren to install on Brannon Road.

Once purchased, the new electric-powered sirens will take three months to be operational. The new sirens will also go off for a broader range of storms.

Adams said they would not just go off for a tornado, but anytime a storm is considered destructive when it is about 80 miles per hour or more.

Jessamine County and Nicholasville emergency staff have worked together to plan this siren expansion; Jessamine County Judge-Executive David West said it makes him smile to see another example of the city and county working together.

Adams would like to notify the public that although residents can hear these sirens anywhere in the county, an NOAA weather radio is the best tool to warn your household of incoming dangerous storms. They cost about $30-$50 and will work even when the power is down since it sends audio through radio waves. The emergency management agency will come to your home to assist in placing the radio, as they can measure the best spots in the house for radio wave access. Call Adams at (859) 887-2922 or John V. Carpenter at (859) 887-2922 for assistance if you have a NOAA radio.

Tax rates

The Fiscal Court voted to keep the same tax rates for the Jessamine County Health Department. It is three cents per $100 assessed valuation.

The Fiscal Court also approved keeping its real property tax rate the same, but for the first time in around ten years, voted to include the compensating rate in addition to the tax rate. Without the compensating rate, which provides for inflation, the tax rate is .10 per $100 assessed valuation. Kentucky state law allows for a 4 percent compensating rate. With the added compensating rate, the tax rate is .104 per $100 assessed valuation, or 10.4 percent.

Bridge repairs

Tom Johnson Contracting has been awarded the bid to repair the Vince Road Bridge. District 5 Magistrate, Adam Teater, told West that he would like to discuss the roads and bridges that need repairing in his district.

In other news

• The Court has renewed its lease on a nearby church parking lot that the Jessamine County Sheriff’s and County Clerk’s offices uses as extra parking. The lease is for an entire year at $2,000 a month. One magistrate asked if the county could ever stop paying for and using this lot. West responded that relocating the Sheriff’s office for more parking was the only resolution. The Court will hold meetings on this issue.

• The Court approved $5,000 to Major Mike Cassidy at the Jessamine County Detention Center for managing the commissary. Two other detention center employees are also getting paid extra to manage the commissary.

Correction: The Journal published the new compensating tax rate approved by the fiscal court as being 14 percent. This is incorrect; the Jessamine County tax rate for real property for fiscal year 2023 is 10.4 percent.