HAZARD — Slight controversy over the issuance of electrical work permits and the provision of inmate healthcare at the Kentucky River Regional Jail enlivened the Perry County Fiscal Court’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, August 19.
Beginning on September 1st, a permit must be obtained from the County Judge Executive’s office in Hazard for any electrical work requiring inspection. The permit is a state-mandated permit under Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) Chapter 227 A.
The state law also allows the fiscal courts to charge a fee for the permits at whatever rate the court deems appropriate.
“I think that the way things are around here now, we don’t need to charge anything,” County Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble said.
Noble said there were already enough charges and taxes for citizens and prospective homeowners in Perry County. According to Noble, Perry County is a “closed” county. This means that the county will select and have a contract with an electrical inspector. Currently, Noble said Perry has three electrical inspectors.
The magistrates voted 2 to 1 to approve the selection of the three inspectors and not charging a fee for the permits. Frank Hurley, District 1 Magistrate, voted no, because he said he wanted time to review the law and the contract the court had made with the inspectors.
The court was also tasked with approving an agreement with a medical service company concerning healthcare for inmates of the Kentucky River Regional Jail.
Jail Administrator Tim Kilburn informed the court that, over a month ago, the doctor who serviced the jail said he was no longer going to serve in that capacity due to an inability to get malpractice insurance. The jail then put out a bid, Kilburn said, and the only company that submitted one back was Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. (ACH).
According to Kilburn, the company, which is a private medical provider, will supply a nurse in the jail 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as a local physician’s assistant to be on-call in order to answer any medical questions.
“I read (the contract),” Judge Noble said. “I’m not an attorney, but I disagreed with a lot of it.”
Noble consulted County Attorney John Shackelford, who said there were no legal issues with the contract, but the county would need to decide as to whether or not it would agree to the cost.
“The annual amount that Perry County is obligated to pay is $253,145.68,” Shackelford said. “That comes to $21,095.48 a month.”
Kilburn explained that the contract includes a pool of $65,000 for outside services such as hospitalization.
“If you don’t have any inmates go over the medical costs, like a long-term hospital stay or something of that nature, then they give the pool monies back to the counties at the end of the year,” Kilburn said.
Judge Noble and the magistrates expressed concern about the possibility of going over the limit of the pool, but Kilburn assured them that out of the 227 jails the ACH services across the Eastern United States, none of them ever went over the amount of the pool.
Kilburn also made the point that the ACH contract is $3,000 cheaper per month than the amount previously paid to the former doctor.
The court approved the agreement. However, Judge Noble noted that if the agreement ended up not working for the county, the county could opt out of it so long as they gave the company a 30-day notice. Noble also asked Kilburn to create a monthly report on the cost of the jail’s medical bills to give to him and to the jail board.
In other business, the court addressed a situation involving Diane Cemetery Road. County Attorney Shackelford explained that this road had been approved in its first reading at the last fiscal court meeting, which had brought a pair of indictments. Shackelford noted that he had not been present at the meeting.
Shackelford said the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) owns the property, and the court needed a deed from them before the road can be a county road. Since the DAV would not grant permission for the road to be built on their property, the court voted to disapprove their former agreement to approve it.
Mindy Miller can be reached at 606-436-5771 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.