Judge-executive provides five-month update on issues facing county government

Nelson County Judge-Executive

Saturday, May 27, 2023 — It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through 2023. My first five months as your Nelson County Judge-Executive has been busy, enlightening, gratifying, challenging, and sometimes aggravating. With my previous experience as a magistrate, I was aware of many aspects of this position.


I have been surprised at the number of meetings and committees that gather each week/month. As I sit in these meetings, I see many of the same faces. My goal for the second half of 2023 is to get more citizens in Nelson County to volunteer. Our current volunteers have made Nelson County successful, and they will continue to be the structure of so many organizations, but we need new passion and ideas to move us forward and to face new challenges that will be affecting Nelson County and our citizens.

The repeal of the Bourbon Barrel tax by “our” Frankfort legislators, the Rickhouse Zoning Pause, and the subsequent partnership between local governments and local distilleries have played a large part in what I’ve been working on since January.

The search of additional land for industrial park use is an on-going project with the BIDC board. The condition of the “old” courthouse and the enlargement of the landfill are two big-ticket items that must be addressed and planned.

The technology used by Nelson County government has not been kept up to date. Between state mandates and internal technology problems, this area needs a major overhaul. Thanks to Jon Snow, Jeff Lear, and Justin Hall for their leadership on this project.

With some areas of our county still without water and internet at their residence, Fiscal Court is working to get more state and federal funding to help get these services to our citizens. As of May 15th, Nelson County government has applied for approximately $2 million in federal, state, and private grants. Many boards throughout the county have been reviewed including the Ethics Review Board, Board of Adjustments, and the Library Board with more being reviewed as appointments come open.

The budget for 2023-2024 has been preliminarily approved. In this budget, pay increases to many county workers were approved. Prior to this budget, the pay scale was below the average wage for private as well as other municipal employees, thereby making it very difficult to retain our hard-working county employees and emergency service personnel. This budget also provides approximately $1.5 million in blacktop resurfacing of many county roads that have deteriorated. I am working with Sen. Jimmy Higdon and State Rep. Candy Massaroni to secure additional blacktop funding for county roads. Nelson County has never had the projected number of blacktop mileage as was placed in this budget.

With the unanimous approval of the Dispatch Board, E-911 Dispatch is now a unit of Nelson County government. This change was to solidify the department itself and to provide better benefits and pay wages to the Dispatch employees. My goal is to collaborate with our magistrates and provide the best emergency service division in the state of Kentucky.

The Clean-Up Nelson County initiative has been extremely successful so far. The county Nuisance Ordinance has been reviewed and will be enforced. This ordinance has also been adopted by the City of New Haven. The Correctional Center Inmate Cleanup Program has been instrumental in reducing the amount of trash on our roadsides as well as park and cemetery clean-up in Nelson County. Thanks again to Jailer Justin Hall, John Greenwell, Brad Spalding, and the magistrates for working with me to help clean up Nelson County.

Nelson County has experienced population growth in many areas. This population growth has resulted in a mandated county re-districting plan. This plan is being conducted by a committee with state guidelines.

I want to thank all f the county employees, the department heads, my staff, and especially the Fiscal Court magistrates for their support and working with me. My leadership style is bold, and I realize that it can be viewed as aggressive and demanding. However, I will never ask anything from county employees that I am not willing to do myself. And I will hold all county employees accountable for their responsibilities and their decisions.

I want to thank the Nelson County citizens for their support during my first five months as your Nelson County Judge Executive. Your kind words and words of encouragement are very much appreciated. I will continue to work with all areas of Nelson County. I will continue to lead bi-partisan efforts for county-wide projects. I will continue to work with our leaders in Frankfort and Washington to ensure that Nelson County has a voice. I will not cater to specific organizations, and I will not do something “because we’ve always done it that way.” The potential for our county is unlimited with cooperation, organization, and hard work.


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