The Bell County Detention Center and its operations were some of the main topics during the recent meeting of the Bell County Fiscal Court.
Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock addressed comments circulating on various social media outlets relating to overcrowding at the jail. Brock said that overcrowding exists throughout the state in the majority of the confinement facilities. This is true for the Bell County Jail as well, he said. The jail is currently housing 45 state prisoners pending openings in the State of Kentucky facilities. While those inmates are incarcerated in the Bell County Detention Center, the county is reimbursed by the state.
In regard to sanitary conditions, Brock explained how the jail is under constant inspection by several agencies at a minimum of once a month. He added that operation of the jail is a complex and extremely difficult task and praised Bell County Jailer Gary Ferguson for his management of the jail.
The court approved the second readings of two ordinances. One was establishing fee-pooling and a purchase order system for the Bell County Sheriff; the second was a moratorium on reassessment of property values of qualified rehabilitation properties in the Pineville Main Street district area.
Brock addressed several resolutions needing approval by the court regarding actions with the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. These resolutions were approved. Brock then addressed the request to approve a resolution to amend the inter-local agreement creating the Bluegrass and Central Kentucky unified police protection system (BACKUPPS). Williams also explained this will aid his office in speeding various actions needed in investigating across jurisdictional boundaries. The court granted Brock the authority to sign all relevant documents.
Bids on a communications tower were opened by Brock. Two bids were received. One bid was from All States Towers in the amount of $44,125. The second bid was from Harlan Two Way in the amount of $31,020. The Harlan Two Way bid was tentatively accepted pending a review of the bid to insure all bid requirements were met.
The court next addressed a needed budget amendment No. 4, which pertains to putting a roof on the Farmer Helton Judicial Center. The fiscal court will be reimbursed by the Administrative Office of the Court.
The court also approved a variety of personnel actions needed for the operation of the county.
The meeting began with Brock calling the meeting to order, followed by the monthly routine procedures. He then led those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag followed by a prayer. Brock then asked the clerk, Debbie Gambrel, to call the roll. The first item on the agenda was the approval the minutes of previous meeting of Jan. 10. Brock then proceeded into a lengthy agenda to approve receipts from Bell County Court Clerk Debbie Gambrel in the amount of $13,968.78 and $303,748.66 from Bell County Sheriff Mitch Williams. Payments of various county bills were approved. The County Treasurer statement was accepted as well.