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Radio tower issue lingers

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By Phyllis McLaughlin, Special to The Spencer Magnet

Though the radio tower erected at the Spencer County Fairgrounds has been up and operational for several months, it remains unclear whether the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction has had the opportunity to inspect the structure.
Magistrate Mike Moody, who represents the district where the new tower is located, said he is concerned that the structure hasn’t been inspected or granted the proper permits by the state.
On Tuesday, Moody said that to his knowledge, there has been no inspection by the state.
Last week, Dick Brown, executive director of the Office of Communications and Public Outreach for the Public Protection Cabinet, said that, upon the advice of PPC’s legal counsel, he could not comment whether the state has inspected the tower or if any permit has been granted.
“The matter is ongoing and because of this fact it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on any anticipated resolution or disposition,” he said.
Moody said he wants the tower inspected to ensure that the structure is safe. “It would take a great liability off of the county. If something needs corrected, let’s do it now before there’s a failure. … It could be that [an inspector may] find nothing at all and that everything is fine. In my eyes, that’s what you have a building inspector for.”
Concerns over the construction of the tower began in November, after Spencer County Judge-Executive Bill Karrer OK’d the purchase and installation of the tower under an emergency order.
Originally, that order was only intended to allow Karrer and Sheriff Buddy Stump to purchase a new emergency radio system for the Spencer County Sheriff’s Office, Moody said.
An emergency order means purchases above $20,000 can be made by a local government agency without advertising for bids, as required by the state. The radios cost approximately $37,000.
Moody said he doesn’t believe that the tower project legitimately falls under the emergency order for the radios. “To me, that was outside the scope of the emergency order,” he said, adding that the tower has, so far, doubled the price of replacing the radios.
County Treasurer Doug Williams said Tuesday that he couldn’t immediately provide a breakdown of the costs for the project.
But Moody estimated that $85,739 has been spent on the entire project so far, and predicted that the total could top $100,000 when the county pays to install fencing around the tower and its three anchors.
Attempts to contact Karrer for comment on the project were unsuccessful by press time Tuesday.