Loud and clear

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By Robin Bass

Emergency service personnel may breathe a sigh of relief to learn that communicating with handheld radios will be much easier later this spring.

Spencer County Fiscal Court approved a recommendation to have several radio repeaters and receiver stations installed by Commonwealth Communication Systems, Inc. of Lexington. The cost of the project will run roughly $160,000 – $86,000 of which will be funded through a Homeland Security grant. Governor Steve Beshear announced that Spencer County was awarded the grant in October.

Judge Executive David Jenkins told magistrates Tuesday morning that a preliminary agreement was reached with the City of Taylorsville and the Tayorsville-Spencer County Fire Department to share in the expense. Any amount over the $86,000 will be broken up in percentages. The city and county will each fund 40 percent of the excess costs, while the fire department will pay 20 percent.

Jenkins said the 100-watt repeaters will be installed at three water towers in the county, located at Setter’s Trace, KY-44 West and Hillsboro. Once operational, emergency services will notice improved handheld radio communication and a reduction in the number of “dead spots.”

“It’s a saftey issue for all emergency services; police, fire and EMS,” said Jenkins.

In other fiscal court news:

• The county has received $4,800 in revenue from alcohol licenses. Jenkins said that a total of four businesses applied for packaged liquor licenses and another four for packaged beer sales. The approval process could take 60 to 90 days.

• The county parks department requested and received about $2,000 to prepare for the coming baseball season. The youth league will be switching from Cal Ripkin to Little League division.

 Court also approved the purchasing of $550 in basketball trophies. Director Randy Wise said the trophey cost will be covered by registration fees.

Wise also informed magistrates that the Nations baseball tournament was rescheduled for June 26-27.

• County Clerk Judy Puckett was present to discuss her office’s budget, but the item was tabled.

Puckett said that her $3.5 million budget for 2010 reflected actual revenue and expenses from 2009. During the past year, she saw a drop in recording fees for deeds and mortgages and fewer residents licensing new vehicles.

Puckett said her office will be responsible for issuing driver’s licenses in the future. Drivers must now go to the circuit clerk’s office.

“I don’t know if it will happen in July or the first of the year, but it will happen,” said Puckett. “We don’t have the space and I would have to hire another person for sure.”

Those figures were not included in her 2010 budget.

• Sheriff Steve Coulter presented his 2010 budget to fiscal court, but magistrates voted to table any action until further review.

Coulter told the court that Detective Russ Cranmer retired as of Jan. 15 and that he plans to hire another officer – possibly two.