After some debate on a motion that ended in a split vote, the Letcher County Fiscal Court voted to approve moving the date and time for both the January and February meetings to accommodate national holidays. The January 20 meeting fell on the Martin Luther King holiday and the February 17 meeting fell on Presidents Day. Judge/Executive Jim Ward proposed that each be moved to an earlier date and time to avoid conflicting with the holiday. The January meeting will be held on Friday, January 17, at 10 a.m. in the district courtroom, and the February meeting will be held on Friday, February 14, at 10 a.m., also in the district courtroom.
Both Second District Magistrate Terry Adams and Fifth District Magistrate Wayne Fleming said they had no objection to changing the dates, but both said they felt it would make it difficult for some people to attend the meeting by having it so early, at a time when many people would be at work. Fleming said he had spoken with a number of people who had expressed concerns about being able to attend the meetings.
Judge Ward said the dates were based on the availability of the district courtroom and the times were set at 10 a.m. to avoid having a meeting late on Friday evening. He added that it would just be for those two meetings, both of which fall on holidays this year. The vote was split four to two, with Ward, Third District Magistrate Codell Gibson, Fourth District Magistrate Keith Adams and First District Magistrate Bobby Howard voting in favor of the motion made by Codell Gibson to accept Ward’s recommendation, and Fleming and Terry Adams voting no.
Judge Ward also updated the court on changes in Sanitation Department billing methods, which will allow for payment to be accepted on-line as well as by credit or debit card at the Sanitation Department Office in the courthouse. There will also be an option for electronic billing, where customers can choose to receive their bill through e-mail with no bill being sent in the mail, as well as an auto-pay option that allows customers to have the quarterly payment deducted from their bank account for debit card automatically. A reminder of the payment due and the deduction will be sent through e-mail as well for auto pay.
Courtney Baker, who works in the Sanitation Office, attended the meeting to explain the payment options and the potential savings for the county. Baker said it now costs the department $191 each month for the billing cards and printing fees, and $1,524 in postage each quarter to mail the bills. She also said the electronic payment will have a maximum surcharge of $1.61 for each quarterly payment and a surcharge of 65 cents for auto pay. She said the surcharge would be more than off- set by the convenience and savings on the cost of a stamp or a trip to the courthouse.
Electronic billing is not mandatory and those customers who wish to continue to receive their bill through the mail, and either send it to the Sanitation Department through the mail or come into the office to pay will still be able to do that as well. There will be no surcharge for customers who don’t participate in electronic payment. The changes will allow the Sanitation Department to streamline its billing and payment system into one system rather than the current method of using one software program for billing and another for accepting payments.
The court voted unanimously to dedicate the road at the intersection of Cram Creek Road and Crossover Road (to the end of county maintenance) to Private First Class Jim R. Wagner, U.S. Army, World War II, and to his son, Sergeant Charles L. Wagner, U.S. Army, Vietnam.