GLASGOW – With all members present, the Barren County Fiscal Court agreed to support a set of recommendations for the Barren County Economic Authority developed by a BCEA subcommittee that called itself the Vision Team.
The unanimous vote came despite objections to a couple of the items by a few members of the court. And another, separate, decision didn't mesh with the recommendations.
Judge-Executive Micheal Hale turned over the floor right away to Magistrate Carl Dickerson, who chairs the fiscal court Economic Development Committee and was a member of the Vision Team.
The fiscal court itself could only make a final decision on one or two of the recommendations, he said.
“The rest of them will have to be determined when a new board is seated the 1st of July. From that point on, the recommendations will be taken up – the majority of them – by that board,” Dickerson said.
The reason he had asked the judge-executive to call the special meeting that was taking place Wednesday afternoon, he said, “being Barren County, representing the whole county, not any individual city, is we need to show our support for this document, for these recommendations.”
He made a motion “that we totally support the [BCEA's] subcommittee recommendations.”
Magistrate Trent Riddle, one of the other two members of the fiscal court Economic Development Committee, which had met Monday evening to discuss the recommendations, offered the second and the first comments. He agreed with Dickerson that the governing body needed to show its support.
“This subcommittee was assembled, and they were assigned a task. They have completed their task with reasonable recommendations,” he said. “The thing about the recommendations is they have to be prioritized. They're all not going to come at one time. Some of them may be years down the road. Some of them need to happen almost immediately.”
Magistrate Mark Bowman, the third of those committee members, said he agreed with the prior comments and, “It is time to move forward, you know, with our economic development.”
Magistrate Billy Houchens took up Dickerson on his offer to discuss the recommendations one at a time.
The first recommendation as a whole was to form an ad-hoc committee to iron out what changes need to be made to the interlocal agreement among the fiscal court and legislative bodies of each of the three incorporated cities that established the authority and defines its structure, etc. The Vision Team suggested the ad hoc committee comprise three members of the fiscal court, three members of the Glasgow Common Council and a member of Cave City's council. The No. 1 item also suggested the BCEA board of directors composition as one voting member each from fiscal court and Glasgow's and Cave City's councils and one at-large voting member appointed through each of those entities, with nominations from the judge-executive and respective mayors of those two cities. Park City would have a representative as a nonvoting member. Other nonvoting members were suggested, too.
Currently, three voting members are county appointees, three are Glasgow appointees and one is a Cave City appointee, but the interlocal agreement specifies that no elected officials may be members of the board.
After the vote on the overall document, Dickerson made a motion to have the members of the Economic Development Committee he chairs be the fiscal court's appointees to the ad hoc committee to address the interlocal agreement amendments. Hale told him if he would withdraw that, he would make a motion Dickerson might like better. Hale, keeping with intentions he stated at a meeting of the Economic Development Committee on Monday, proposed to make Dickerson, Riddle and Bowman the three county-appointed members of the board, and he added that they should begin working on the interlocal agreement right away.
The fiscal court unanimously approved Hale's motion.
Per the recommendations the fiscal court had just agreed to support, the county would have only one magistrate and one at-large appointee.
The second recommendation was that BCEA should enter a one-year contract with the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce to handle some economic development activities, providing more time for the BCEA board to find a new executive director. The current one, Dan Iacconi, announced in January he is resigning at the end of this month, which is, in large part, what prompted the subcommittee's formation to develop recommendations on the best directions for the authority to follow.
“We need a bridge to help us get through until we get a director ...,” Dickerson said. “I think it's a good move, because Bowling Green is booming.”
Hale and Houchens stated opposition to this. The said they felt it was wrong to use tax dollars from here for an outside entity to do the work.
The Vision Team's third recommendation was to restart with a completely new board. The report said this suggestion was not to imply anything negative about the current members, but rather to appease the local government partners and create a new beginning.
Fourth was a recommendation to move the physical offices of BCEA in with the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce, with an eye toward eventually having those two entities run by the same director.
Fifth was the immediate purchase of land and starting the process of constructing a speculative building on the property, which has already been identified and had a feasibility study done on it. A couple of the magistrates were concerned that a spec building may not be the best direction to take at this time.
The final suggestion was to have one nonvoting board member each from Barren County Schools and Glasgow Independent Schools.
Also during the meeting, the fiscal court unanimously agreed to have a public auction to dispose of surplus property that is within the former Barren County Jail along Ford Avenue. The county has received a grant to be used for the demolition of the structure, Hale announced.