Alcohol petition is valid

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By Robin Bass

The future of the wet/dry debate now lies in the hands of voters. A petition requesting a referendum for the purpose of legalizing the sale of alcohol has been deemed valid.

Spencer County Deputy Clerk Abbi Nation said that of the nearly 3,000 signatures, a total 2,220 were found to be legitimate – more than enough to secure a special-election October 20.

Petition organizers had determined that roughly 2,100 signatures were needed to move forward with the referendum. State law requires that the number of petition signatures equal at least 25 percent of the most recent election.

Just hours after the petition was filed with the county clerk August 4, Judge Executive David Jenkins formally requested that the petition be validated. He was notified Monday that the petition had been validated by the county clerk’s office.

Jenkins said that last year’s general election cost the county $24,000 to pay for poll workers, rent polling locations, set up the machines and advertise the ballot choices. He expected the special election to cost slightly less because there would be fewer costs involved in entering the one question on the ballot.

During a regular election, the county would be reimbursed for some expenses by the state. That will not be the case for October’s referendum.

At Wednesday’s fiscal court meeting, magistrates discussed one of legal requirements surrounding the wet/dry vote – that of posting election notice signs.

“It should be stated somewhere on the sign that this is an official notification of the public and not to be construed as being in favor of the vote,” said Elk Creek Magistrate John Riley.

Sheriff Steve Coulter told fiscal court that if he abides by the law, he will need to post at least five election notification signs in each of the 11 precincts. Without making any calls to vendors, Coulter estimated that signs could be purchased between $11 and $13 each.

“We have no choice in the matter,” said Jenkins of the cost.

Fiscal court approved unanimously for the sheriff to purchase 55 signs and/or handbills at the lowest price available.

In other fiscal court action:

During public comment, Spencer County resident Lawrence Tragaser told fiscal court that it was time for them to request Jenkins’ resignation. His comments were made in reference to a recent Kentucky Association of Counties investigation that found the judge executive’s “distinctive signature” on a credit card receipts to a strip club and an escort service.

Tragaser also said that he believes Spencer County should no longer be seeking the services of KACo or paying dues to the organization.

Also during public comment, Spencer County resident Roy Bell questioned where all his tax money was going and why does fiscal court meet during the work day.

“I think it’s unfair,” said Bell.

He said that fiscal court was not representing the best interests of their constituents and he accused them of trying to hide their actions by conducting the county’s business while most residents are at work.

After becoming unruly, Bell was escorted out of the meeting by police.

Fiscal court approved unanimously to spend $500 on required training for members of planning and zoning.

The motion was made and approved to reject bids for cleaning up illegal dumps on Haley Road and Brashears Creek Road because they were not within the scope of the project. The one bid submitted was higher than the funds that were provided by the state.

The second reading and adoption of the EDA interlocal agreement was approved.

County tax rates of 8.8 cents per $100 of real estate and 12.3 cents per $100 of personal property were approved and adopted on the second reading. The tax rates reflect no change.

The first reading of the updated administrative code was tabled due to Waterford Magistrate Hobert Judd being out of town.

Fiscal court had the first reading of the 9-1-1 addressing ordinance.

One of the changes is that residents shall “affix number on the front side of the structure or at the entrance way to the structure so that the number is visible from the roadway during both the day time and night time. The numbers shall also be of a size and contrasting color so as to be visible from the roadway.”

Residents will also be required to clearly display addresses on both sides of an unobstructed mailbox in numbers with a minimum of two inches in height, of a contrasting color or made of reflective material.

If a home does not have a mailbox, or has no structure within 75 feet of the road, then the homeowner must make alternative arrangements to ensure the home’s address is visible from the road. This could include affixing the address to a fence, gate or post.