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Magistrates review next budget, push for purchase of a new EMS ambulance

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Nelson Fiscal Court

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 (Corrected Tire Amnesty program dates) — Judge Executive Dean Watts and the magistrates took their first collective public reviews of the county’s proposed Fiscal Year 2019-2020.

Watts pointed out some numbers that had changed for next year’s budget, including the county’s $750,00 in occupational tax money it will use to subsidize the operation of Nelson County EMS — well above the $400,000 annually the county has spent to support EMS.

Magistrates Gary Coulter, left, and Keith Metcalfe review documents at Tuesday morning’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting.

Magistrates Keith Metcalfe and Gary Coulter both supported the county buying a new ambulance in the next budget cycle. The county did not buy an ambulance last year. Metcalfe said he was concerned if vehicles aren’t replaced on a regular basis that they will see more frequent breakdowns and higher costs associated with running older equipmen.t

Watts said he could budget the purchase of an ambulance, but asked the magistrates to identify what should be cut in the draft budget to free up enough funding to pay for an ambulance.

No decision was made at the meeting, but Watts told them he would try to change the numbers to allow the funds for the purchase of a new ambulance.

Chris Jones, senior director of PACE financing for Energize Kentucky, explains how PACE financing works.

PACE FUNDING MECHANISM. Nelson Fiscal Court has been requested by the company building one of the city’s new hotels to approve a ordinance that will allow the company to use a new source of financing aimed at improving the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings.

Chris Jones, the senior director of PACE financing for Energize Kentucky, told the court that one of the new hotel developers wants to secure financing through PACE — property assessed clean energy — financing. The financing requires the county government to approve a countywide taxing or assessment district. Once approved by the county, the developer can secure an amount of funding for the project.

The repayment is done through an assessment, just like the tax assessment that appears on property tax bill. The difference is that the assessment only appears on the property that was subject to the loan. The taxing district does not affect any other property owner.

PACE financing is a new tool that community have to help developers, NCEDA president Kim Huston told the magistrates.

PACE financing’s terms — interest rate and term of the loan — generally are more favorable that other lenders. The repayment of the money can stretch out to 10, 15 or 20 years or more.

The county is not obigated to repay any funds in the event of a bankruptcy, Jones explained. PACE is considered the first debtor repaid in a bankruptcy situtation.

Jones’ company, Energize Kentucky, is a non-profit company that works as an administrator for projects that seek PACE financing.

Magistrates Eric Shelburne and Jeff Lear review the proposed county budget numbers.

Magistrate Keith Metcalfe questioned the rights of other lienholders compared to that of the firm providing PACE financing. PACE financing stays with the building, and is transferrable to new owners in the event of a sale. In event of a bankruptcy, the PACE administrator would not sue to seek repayment as other mortgage holders might, Jones explained.

The court discussed the financing arrangement for a considerable time before deciding to take no action at this time.

HEART MONITOR PURCHASE. The court approved the purchase of seven new heart monitors for use in the EMS ambulances at a cost of $35,071 each. The new units include wi-fi and 4G capability so that ambulance crews can transmit vital heart data to the hospital Emergency Room. According to EMS Director Joe Prewitt, time is critical when handling patients with cardiac issues.

The court initially was set to improve the purchase of five monitors, but after hearing that two ambulances will have to use older units, approve the purchase of two more units.

Sheriff Ramone Pineiroa praised the work Deputies Jamie Ferrie and Brandon Bryan did at an injury accident Monday on Balltown Road to control the spread of a fire in a vehicle in which the driver was trapped. Due to their work controlling the fire, the individual’s life was saved.

TIRE AMNESTY (PLEASE NOTE CORRECTED DATES). John Greenwell, the county’s solid waste director, reminded the court of the Tire Amnesty event taking place this weekend at the Nelson County Fairgrounds.

Tire owners can dispose of their surplus car, truck and tractor tires at no cost this weekend. All tires are welcome, with the exception of foam-filled tires, off-road construction equipment itres and solid tires pressed on rims. Tire brought to the site on rims will need to be separated from the rim before they can be accepted.

Tire Amnesty hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 9 and 10, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Tire retailers and tire recyclers are not allowed to participate in the program.

FINAL BULKY ITEM PICKUP PARTICIPATION. Participation in the county’s bulky item pickup dropped from the past two years when considering the amount of trash collected.

The county collected 4,956.6 cubic yards during this year’s bulky item pickup. That’s less than the 6,341.5 collected in 2018 and the 7347.1 collected in 2017.

The one category that saw an increase was in the number of tires collected. 8,185 tires were collectedl this year, the highest total in the past six years.

In other business, the court:

— approved an affiliation between Nelson County Emergency Management and Kentucky Mounted Patrol Search and Rescue, a group that specializes in search and rescue operations on horseback. The affiliation means the group can officially conduct searches if its services are required in the county.

— approved the bid price of $88 a ton for road salt. The bid requires the county to take delivery of a certain percentage of the salt.ef

— approved the following appointments:

Mark Ethridge to the Nelson County Board of Adjustments and the Joint City County Plannning Commission;

Tim Sharp to the Bardstown Industrial Development Corporation;

James Schafer to the Bardstown-Nelson County Air Board;

Don Mudd to the North Nelson Water District Board;

Bernard Ice to the Bardstown Industrial Development Corporation.

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