Franklin County government

The Franklin County Fiscal Court voiced its approval to spending its allocation of funds from the Cleaner Water Program for the Prevention Park/Twilight Trail pump station project at its meeting Friday.

That in turn will help the long-suffering Farmdale Sanitation District.

Friday’s vote approved sending a letter of consent to the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority through the Bluegrass Development for Franklin County’s allocation of Cleaner Water funds to be used for the pump station.

Franklin County’s allocation is nearly $1.9 million. Allocations are based on a county’s population.

The Farmdale Sanitation District could connect with the city sewer system at the Prevention Park/Twilight Trail pump station, and that would direct the flow of wastewater from six failing wastewater plants.

“What communities were asked to do with the allocation based on county population was to present a project the community could agree upon,” said Ann Northcutt, the county's community development and grants administrator.

“Of course the Division of Water, Kentucky Infrastructure and a lot of folks that we’ve worked with for a number of years have agreed that the Farmdale Sanitation District project is a priority in our community and to move ahead with that project.”

She said Frankfort’s city commission voted unanimously on July 12 that it agreed Farmdale was a project that should be presented for the county’s allocation for the Cleaner Water Program.

Northcutt also reported on news from the office of U.S. Rep. Andy Barr (D-Kentucky).

“We submitted a request for an appropriations,” she said. “That program has been restarted after many years. The Farmdale Sanitation District project has made it through subcommittee with a recommendation of funding of $3.5 million. It will now go to full committee.

“We feel very optimistic about it, and that’s actually the highest amount that a subcommittee is recommending for any project.”

The $3.5 million would need to be matched by $1.5 million from the county.

In other business, the fiscal court voted to amend the county’s code of ordinances to add short-term rental non-owner occupied as a use in several zoning districts and the land use of reception/assembly halls as a conditional use in the agriculture and rural residential zoning districts and a permitted use in the highway commercial zoning district.

“This proposed amendment would add short-term rentals to the zoning ordinance to recognize what we know as the vacation rental by owner,” said Robert Hewitt, the director of the county's planning, zoning & building code enforcement, about  short-term rentals. “This would be an activity that would be subject to the transient room tax.

“We’re recognizing what we believe is already happening in the community. The city has already adopted a similar ordinance to what’s being proposed today. I think this is a good thing and I’m glad we’re catching up with the times.”

Hewitt said the planning committee approved both ordinance changes by 10-0 votes in recommending them to the fiscal court.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Robin Antenucci, director of the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission. “It’s something that’s already occurring. It’s cleaning that up, and going forward it will allow us to work with these owners and communicate with them more effectively.

“Right now, without some of the registration process and updates, it’s hard to track them down. I think this will make it easier, and in the long term it will allow us to monitor taxes and collect the taxes.”

In other business:

• The court accepted the fourth quarter and year-end treasurer’s reports from Treasurer Susan Laurenson.

“We had some very unique circumstances with some very unique funds,” she said, adding they affected the balance of $18,893,411 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.

“If you strip out the unique circrumstances and items dealt with the last fiscal year it’s more of $9 million mark, which is in line with prior years,” Laurenson said.

• The court authorized the hiring of a firefighter, a full-time custodian in the maintenance department and reclassifying the Crime Victims’ Advocates position with a pay raise.

• The court approved a resolution authorizing the filing of a grant application with the Department of Agriculture, Animal Control Advisory Board for the spay/neuter program on behalf of the Franklin County Humane Society.

• The court approved a resolution authorizing the creation of a permanent access easement across from the Franklin County Judicial Center property, 222 St. Clair St.

• The court gave authorization to approve flood grant payment.

• The court authorized the purchase of a 2022 Ford F-250 4X4 regular cab truck on the State Price Contract from Paul Miller Ford for the Fire Department and the purchase of a 2023 Freightliner 108SD single axle truck with dump bed and snow equipment through the State Master Agreement from Kentucky Truck Sales for the Road Department.

Judge-Executive Huston Wells explained why the truck for the fire department was being purchased from an out-of-town dealership.

“This particular vehicle is not on the State Price Contract for Crossroads Ford so it goes to Paul Miller Ford,” he said. “Any time we can have our local dealerships with projects, we absolutely do that.”

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