The Carter County Conservation District (CCCD) highlighted a number of the services they offer the county last week, as they approached fiscal court asking for $50,000 in funding, the same amount they asked the county to budget for their services last year.

CCCD Superintendent Tracey Elliott highlighted the various services the group offers Carter County residents during his request. This work mostly focuses on soil improvement and preservation, though they also work with schools on educational events and have helped with emergency measures like landslides and slips in the past.

Elliott noted that in addition to soil and manure testing done for agricultural purposes, the group has also purchased a new manure spreader that they can rent to farmers who need to fertilize their fields. He also noted that in the past year they’ve partnered with other counties to hire consultants and technicians to improve their services, and offered filter fabric for purchase at discounted rates. Other activities the CCCD is involved in include the preservation of water quality on lands bordering farm fields and helping farmers in “best management practices.”

The group also works with East Carter High School to offer students co-op educational opportunities.

Judge-Executive Mike Malone said he was not opposed to offering financial support to the CCCD, but that it is something the court will need to look into. Malone also took the opportunity to ask Elliott if the CCCD would be able to continue offering the county help on bridges and other soil projects, noting that new state guidelines seemed to limit the help the CCCD could offer.

Elliott told Malone that they were not prohibited from offering help, but that the organization was bound by “more stringent state guidelines” when assisting on such projects.

“We’ll have to do a little cyphering,” Malone told Elliott, to see if the county can afford to make the contribution, adding that he couldn’t make the recommendation to help fund the group until he knew more.

Road supervisor Jason Carroll, commenting on the help the CCCD has provided in the past, did take the opportunity to offer his support

to the CCCD’s request. “If they help with one (slip) repair, it will pay for (the county’s share),” Carroll told fiscal court.

Elliott also took an opportunity later in the meeting to offer his advice on timber solicitations for trees on county owned land. While debating the best course of action to take when selling timber rights on county land, Elliott offered advice on choosing a timber cruiser to help the county place a value on their timber. Elliott explained that the state approved timber cruisers, who were usually former Forestry Department employees, would survey and estimate the value of the timber on the land, based on the types of trees they identified on the land. They would then suggest a lump sum amount that the county should receive from anyone timbering their land, based on a report showing how much of each wood type their survey revealed.

“You limit liability that way,” Elliott explained, compared to accepting a percentage of what the loggers earned by timbering the land.

He said he has seen timber cruisers charge anywhere from $400 to $1,000 to cruise a property, depending on size and conditions.

Malone said the fiscal court would discuss the issue further and would then solicit bids from timber cruisers for surveying and preparing a report on the county property.

In other action fiscal court accepted department reports, approved financial statements, approved claims and add-ons, and approved transfers from the Treasurer, accepted the excess fee settlement from the sheriff, approved a fair housing resolution, and approved a KACo loan request from Jason Gilliam for the Norton Branch Fire Department.

The terms of the loan required repayment in 12 years, by 2031, with an interest rate of 3.3%, pending the fire departments request that there be no penalty for early pay off.

Fiscal court also approved a request from County Clerk Mike Johnston to pay poll workers $35 for attending training on how to check in voters using new iPad technology mandated by the state.

“It worries me, this iPad situation,” Johnston said, explaining that many of the county’s volunteer poll workers are elderly and used to using the printed check in books.

“We’ve got people that have worked elections for 50 years,” Johnston said, and that for the entirety of that time they had used printed books.

Johnston said that in addition to offering $35 in payment to any poll worker who wished to attend the state training class in Louisa, he would be offering training to poll workers locally, as well as leaning on those who took the state training to provide support.

In detention center business, the court approve policies and procedures for the detention center, which jailer R.W. Boggs noted had not changed since the last approval.

The county also noted they would be suspending the county cleanup events sponsored by solid waste due to budget constraints In road news the county heard from Carroll on the 20 slips currently impacting county roads.

“The longer we wait to fix them, they worse they get,” Carroll told the court. However, he noted, they don’t currently have the money to make the necessary fixes.

The county also approved acceptance of a FIVCO grant from the Area Development Fund for Capital Improvement Projects. The $7,200 grant would be used to reimburse the county for funds already spent on the roof and fencing for the new animal shelter.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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