By CHRIS CHANEY
The regular monthly and special called meetings of the Powell County Fiscal Court—as well as the City Council meetings in Clay City and Stanton—are where the citizens of Powell County have an clear opportunity to participate in the process of government. These are forums where we can all learn about the decisions that our elected officials must make on our behalf and where we can also voice our concerns, opinions, and needs. These meetings are vital to the life of our community. They are like the tribal meetings and council fires of our ancestors. They often seem mundane and rote, but there is a lot of background work and discussion that occurs prior to any of these meetings. It’s during these meetings that decisions are made and the public is made aware of the processes and the outcomes. But these meetings are also where any part of the governance of our communities can be discussed and shared.
The focal point of the January 14th meeting of the Powell County Fiscal Court was the discussion and vote on Resolution 20-0114 which is a resolution declaring Powell County Kentucky as a Second Amendment Sanctuary and Protection of Rights community. Over one hundred people were present in the court room. Of the handful of citizens who stood up to speak during public comments there were none who spoke against the passage of the Resolution and all expresed their support of the declaration as well as their appreciation of the support of the Fiscal Court and everyone who had been involved in the process.
The Resolution declares that the Powell County Fiscal Court intends to uphold the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Powell County and opposes bills that have been pre-filed in the Kentucky State legislature including: BR 187 (Deadly weapons, concealed carry without license, repeal), BR 354 (Firearms, ammunition capacity, regulation of), BR 342 (Firearms, comprehensive regulation of), BR 282 (Unlawful storage of a firearm, prohibition of), and BR 835 (Domestic abuse convictions, firearms surrender, procedures). More information about these bills can be found on the Kentucky General Assembly’s website under Prefile Index Heading: Firearms and Weapons at: https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/20rs/prefiled/3820.html The Resolution passed unanimously.
After a brief recess the meeting continued with members of the Fiscal Court and County staff remaining. The Court approved the 2020 budgets and salary caps for the Powell County Clerk and the Powell County Sheriff. Archives and copies of these can be obtained from the Kentucky Department for Local Government. Also discussed was the proposed Red River Canoe Race which is being planned through a partnership between the Stanton Lions Club, the local tourism offices, and other organizations. A motion was passed to enter into an agreement with the USDA Forest Service for the Powell County Road Department to maintain Tunnel Ridge Road in the Red River Gorge during the winter months of 2019-2020 so that the road can stay open to allow more tourist activity in the area.
There was also a discussion about the Hollerwood Off-Road Park and the need to decide how the County will proceed in the future with financial support. The Hollerwood board of directors meets on the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m., typically at the Powell County Emergency Operations Center in Stanton however, the meetings do sometimes take place in other counties that border the park. The Court also discussed and approved the 2020 County holiday schedule with much discussion over the Fair Day holiday. The motion was made to approve the schedule through the Fourth of July holiday with the Court intending to further explore the feasibility of implementing a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy before approving the remainder of the 2020 holiday schedule. PTO schedules allow employees to use sick, vacation, and often holidy hours as needed or desired from a bank of hours provided by the employer.