Judge-Executive David West shares update on county government’s future

Published 3:56 pm Friday, March 22, 2024

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The Nicholasville Rotary Club meets every Monday for lunch at noon in the Central Bank’s Community Room. This week, the speaker was Jessamine County Judge Executive David-West. 


After announcing this year as Jessamine County’s 225th anniversary, Judge West explained  what it is that the government does and the services it provides. He also explained ongoing and upcoming projects, including the details of a Justice Center that will be a new home for the county’s court systems. 

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“Counties are created constitutionally. We have to exist. Cities choose to exist for their citizens’ additional services. People sometimes don’t know what a county does and so I just wrote some of the things down, including the departments that we have and the people we work with and the people we work jointly with,” West said.


Jessamine County has the following entities it manages: Planning and Zoning, Tax Administration, Road Department, Animal Care and Control, 911, Emergency Medical Services, HR, Accounts payable, Accounts receivable, payroll and county administration, the Maintenance Department, Police Services Department, Emergency Management Agency, and now the Project Development Board for the new Justice Center. 


“We help fund and assist in Administration for our County Attorney’s office, our County Clerk’s office, our Circuit Clerk, our PVA, our Jailer, our Coroner and our Sheriff. We provide all of these people with a place to be,” West said. 


“We have joint projects with the city of Nicholasville with our parks and recreation department. Our economic development, and our tourism board. The city and the county also have to fund the PVA office, so that funding to the PVA went up by $90,000 last year, which was a huge increase. We rent out buildings for people. We got the Blue Building, we got the Keene building and High Bridge and they are rented out all the time,”  West said. 


West brought out a large poster of the prototype of the new courthouse. Pictures were not allowed, since he stated it will inevitably have small changes. He said the courthouse, which will be located on the property next to the Central Bank on North Main Street. 


“This courthouse is gonna be a big step for [growth]. It’s a massive building. But we’re building a building that’s gonna serve Jessamine county, hopefully, for 150+ years. So, there’s gonna be enough room in it and all the new technology so that’s gonna be an exciting addition to the city of Nicholasville,” West said. 


The property will likely have its groundbreaking in 2025, and it should be finished by 2027. 


The current Jessamine County Courthouse will be used by administration, and has other plans moving departments to offices where they’ll have more space.


“Again, we’re having growing pains. The county clerk is serving an electorate that has tripled since it was assigned to the annex. It’s quite possible that we’ll relocate the county clerk somewhere else. The sheriff’s office is in a space that is not much bigger than the [Central bank community room] we’ve been looking for spaces to move them to. So, we can fill the courthouse up. Our tax administration has six people working in about half of this room space and they’re just crowded on top of each other. Our HR department needs another person,” West said. “We do everything we can to keep our government as small and efficient as we can, but we have the same staff then when we were serving 20,000 people. Now you have 57,000 people. We just gotta have more room.” 


Some current projects include the renovation of the old jail on the corner of South Main and Chestnut streets. It will soon be the new home of Visit Jessamine (tourism). 


He also hinted that plans for the WesBanco building on North Main Street would be announced soon.