Questioning a number of bills submitted to the county treasurer for payment during a meeting of the Harlan County Fiscal Court on Friday, Magistrate David Kennedy requested cuts be made in order to save money.
With money “being tight now,” all spending needs to be looked at carefully., said Kennedy.
“This is a way we can save a little bit of money, but a little bit of money makes a whole lot of money if you start pecking away at it,” said Kennedy. “I think we need to have all Port ‘O Johns picked up on the first day of December and don’t put them back out until the first day of April. I think that’s a waste of money during the winter. I’m talking countywide — everywhere, have them all picked up. The bill for them is $4,830 this month.”
Treasurer Ryan Creech said this bill usually averages around $2,000 per month. The bill for $4,830 was for two months rental.
“At my park in Blair we have two Port ‘O Johns there,” said Kennedy. “I’ve been trying to get one of them picked up for the past year and, for some reason or another, it’s not getting done. I just don’t see a need for two Port ‘O Johns in a little bitty park.”
Kennedy said he doesn’t have a problem using a Port ‘O John for a special event, but he is against leaving them on sites throughout the county permanently.
“I don’t think all these little parks really need Port ‘O Johns,” said Kennedy. “I really don’t. They turn them over, make a mess. They’re nasty and people complain about them all the time.”
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said the county needs to decide where portable toilets are placed, instead of allowing the Port ‘O John company to make that decision.
County Road Supervisor Marvin Goins said the county should compare prices on Port ‘O John contractors outside the county if they decide to continue using them.
A motion was made to have all Port O’ Johns picked up throughout the county until further notice.
All magistrates approved this motion.
“Another thing we need to cut back on is exterminating services,” said Kennedy. “I don’t see a need for every building owned by the county sprayed every single month. I think county-wide we should cut back on this. This is a small thing, but another small thing that could add up. I would agree that the detention center and recycling center needs to be sprayed once a month, but that’s all.”
Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins said the county has signed a contract and it can’t be altered at this time.
“We can look at the contract and see if there are adjustments we can make,” said Grieshop.
Magistrate Jim Roddy questioned a bill for $7,200 for “stripping banisters” in the old courthouse building.
“You have to hire someone with experience in doing that,” said Grieshop. “It took me six months and I finally found someone who does this and knows how to do it. This has to be done right. It’s a meticulous job.”
Kennedy then questioned a bill submitted for payment on uniform rental.
“I’m looking at us paying $2,800 just on rugs and uniforms for one month,” said Kennedy. “I just think we need to get a complete itemized breakdown and then we need to make a decision at that point in time as to whether we want to continue paying this. I’d like to see just what the uniforms are costing.”
County Road Department Supervisor Marvin Goins said this monthly fee is for uniforms, rugs for the courthouse, dust mops, mop heads and other cleaning tools. He said the uniform company cleans all uniforms, rugs, and cleaning tools free of charge.
“I think you’ll find most of the cost comes from the cleaning tools and rugs being used,” said Goins. “We could go out and buy these rugs and then we own them. Then, who’s going to clean them? We could go out and buy disposable mop heads — look at that cost. The dust mops are sent to the uniform company and they clean them. They use a number of those dust mops at the justice center because you have to use them there on those floors. They chemically treat them for picking up dust. All these things I want to talk to them about when we meet with them next week.”
Grieshop said he will raise the county’s concerns at that time to company officials.
What about a bill from Super Circuits for $700, what’s that for,” questioned Kennedy.
Creech said it was to move a phone line from the judge’s office to Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill’s office.
“They charged $700 to move a phone line? That’s another example of over pricing,” said Kennedy. “It’s because it’s Harlan County. Another one, we paid $900 for five double lamp brackets for flower pots. That seems pretty steep to me. Maybe it’s some kind of special bracket.”
Grieshop said the county agreed to purchase them to match others purchased through a downtown beautification project.
Magistrate Bill Moore said when contractors and companies see the word “county,” the bills go up.
“All of us magistrates are going to have to start looking over every single bill,” said Kennedy.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org