Two candidates have filed to run in the Nov. 2 general election for the office of judge-executive for Barren County. Both have said jobs, the jail and the county’s financial situation are primary concerns, but they differ in some of their ideas on how to deal with those issues.



BARREN COUNTY JUDGE-EXECUTIVE

Republican incumbent Davie Greer is seeking election to a third term as judge-executive after successful campaigns in 2002, when she defeated Democratic opponent Benny Dickinson and became the first female to hold the office in Barren County, and in 2006, when she won re-election over Democrat Billy Abner and Independent candidate Chris Steward.

Greer has said she wants to bring back a sense of normalcy to county government.

“I want to keep the county fiscally sound,” she said. “It’s a bad time for everyone financially and we need to work to get jobs back and bring things back to normal in Barren County.”

Greer has been a strong advocate for the building of a new facility to replace the more than 30-year-old Barren County Correction Center rather than trying to renovate the existing jail – a sometimes controversial idea and a source of ongoing divisiveness among members of the Barren County Fiscal Court.

The current jail has numerous problems with systems inside the facility including heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing, which all need to be replaced to meet state standards, according to Greer. Fiscal court had voted to budget up to $10 million to build a new correctional center, but when the bids came in last month, Alliance Corporation was awarded the contract for $7.5 million to be completed within 365 days of the start of the construction project.

Another priority Greer wants to work on during a new term is the passage of the international building code for the county. This would allow the county to have access to property where conditions that pose a risk to residents could be addressed. No such code exists currently in Barren County.

Greer continues to work with the parks and recreation departments to create more fields and leisure areas, she said. Along with the Barren County Recreation Depart-ment and the Barren County Little League, Greer helped secure a park for Babe Ruth and girls softball. She would like to have two additional fields by 2011.

She has also been working on projects with the Glasgow-Barren County Soccer Complex and making the drug task force a regional task force, which would require more funding.

County and state funding have been secured to pave approximately 80 miles of county roads and more than $3 million in state road funds have been awarded during her tenure, according to Greer.

Her opponent, former Barren County Sheriff and Democratic candidate Barney Jones, has said he has concerns about the county’s finances and that is one reason he decided to run.

“I have a deep concern about the direction Barren County has been taking financially,” Jones said. “I feel I have things to offer as far as Barren County is concerned.”

Jones said he has a different philosophy from Greer on a new jail.

“I’m not against a new jail if the county can afford it. If we can retire the debt without raising taxes,” he said. “I want to maintain the same level of services in all county departments. If we can’t do that, then I have serious doubts.”

Jones said he wants to look more seriously at renovating the current jail facility. The problem he has is the fiscal court never let bids out to see how much it would cost to renovate the old jail rather than building a new one in order to be able to make a comparison. An architect’s estimate of $6.5 million was presented to the court, but that was as far as it went, he said.

Jones said his ability to balance the budget while he was sheriff shows he is fiscally responsible and would use that ability if elected judge-executive to oversee county finances.

Another big concern for Jones is jobs with more than 12 percent unemployment in the county currently.

“The newspaper is full of foreclosures. The economy’s tough. I’m very concerned about spending the taxpayers’ money. I’m very concerned about any capital expenditure at this time,” he said.

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