Fiscal Court agrees to advertise for contractor to evaluate Wickland repairs

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 — Nelson Fiscal Court voted Tuesday morning to advertise for professional services to restore the smaller fire-damaged historic home on the Wickland estate.

The home was heavily damaged in an early morning fire July 21, 2017. The home is located behind the mansion, and according to Judge Executive Dean Watts, the home was built prior to the completion of the mansion.

Magistrate Keith Metcalfe questioned the county spending money to repair the small home damaged by fire earlier this year. Judge Executive Dean Watts said the original part of the fire-damaged home was built about the same time as the Wickland mansion and had historic value.

Magistrate Keith Metcalfe questioned the need for the county to invest money in the damaged home. Watts made it clear that while the smaller home isn’t well-known, it was an important part of the history of Wickland.

The home suffered heavy damage in the fire, particularly the home’s rear section that was added in the 20th century which included bathrooms. The rear portion is unlikely to be completely replaced, though Watts has said at previous meetings that restrooms would be added to the home as part of its restoration.

County government has rough estimates on the cost to repair the building, and hopes to get more detailed estimates and options available for its restoration from contractors as part of the advertisement.

County engineer Brad Spalding said advertising for the professional services will help the county determine the options and ultimately, what the magistrates wish to approve.

ROAD NAME ORDINANCE. Magistrate Jeff Lear introduced to the court a proposed ordinance related to the renaming of county road and the funding of road signs.

The draft was submitted to Lear by High Grove area resident Don Thrasher, who filed a lawsuit against county government last week about the renaming of the section of the former Louisville Road where he lives, among other issues.

The proposal would require fiscal court approval of the purchase of new road signs when a road name is changed. If 50 percent of the road residents do not approve of the new name, fiscal court can withhold the funding of new road signs.

Magistrate Jeff Lear introduced an ordinance submitted by Salt River Road resident Don Thrasher regarding fiscal court approval of new road signs.

The ordinance would not be retroactive. Thrasher said the ordinance insures the magistrates have “the power of the purse” when it comes to renaming county roads.

In comments to fiscal court, Thrasher said he felt the magistrates had been misled by claims that the county could lose its 911 funding if the roads weren’t named to meet standards set by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA). In his contacts with state officials, he found there was no legal basis to require the county to adopt NENA standards.

Thrasher’s draft ordinance is a starting point for a discussion, Magistrate Jeff Lear said. Watts said County Attorney Matthew Hite and fiscal court would need to review it closely.

Copies of the ordinance were distributed to fiscal court but no action was taken.

In other business, the court:

— accepted a check from Adam Wheatley for $7,500 on behalf of five county agricultural groups as their contribution to help pay for the county’s dead animal disposal service. Speaking on behalf of the county’s farmers, he thanked the court for its years of funding this important service.


Wheatley noted that there are more cows in the county than people — 52,000 cattle versus approximately 45,000 residents.

— reappointed Nicky Rapier to the North Nelson Water District board of directors.

— approved a five-year tax moratorium request from Darrell Hawkins regarding property at 214. East Flaget Ave.

— heard from County Clerk Elaine Filiatreau that her office will only be open Wednesday, Dec. 27 and Thursday, Dec. 28, during the week between Christmas and New Years.

— was reminded that the Feeding American program will take place on the third Wednesday this month — Dec. 20 — rather than the fourth Wednesday.

— was advised that as the holidays approach, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry is in need of donations of canned meat.



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