Minutes from the Special Called Johnson Co Fiscal Ct Meeting (5-16-16)
The Johnson Co. Fiscal Court met in special session Monday, 5-16-2016 @ 4:30 pm in the meeting room of the Johnson Co. Courthouse in downtown Paintsville. The meeting began in normal fashion with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, the approval of the minutes from the regular meeting on April 11, 2016 and the court also approved to pay the monthly bills as presented.
First item on the agenda was the approval of the monthly transfer of $40,000 from the Johnson Co. General Fund to the Regional Jail Fund. Next the court heard from Greg Pauley, President/CEO of American Electric Power, who talked about the changing methods of producing electric and to keep cost down. Next Judge Daniel and the court honored the JCMS State Governor’s Cup Champions. Although not present at the meeting, Judge Daniel commended these young adults and their coaches for another extraordinary effort and said this was a Great Accomplishment!
Next the court heard from Julie Bush with the Johnson Co. Health Dept. who also brought a check to give Johnson Co. 911 Code Red Program in the amount of $11,368. Next the court open bids on 2 Mac Dump Trucks. Only one bid on the trucks was from Worldwide Equipment in the amount of $136,402 per truck. The court decided to accept the bid. The county will use the trucks for one year, then take them to Alabama to be auctioned off with a guaranteed return. A method that has been utilized by the court for several years now and has worked out good for the county.
Next the court approved the first reading of the FY 2017 budget with the total expected income and expenditures for the year to total $8,004,392. The budget will be sent to Frankfort for approval, then back to the county for a second reading. With nothing further to discuss the meeting adjourned.
3 People Arrested in a Floyd Co Drug Raid
Three people were arrested Monday in Floyd Co. following raids at multiple apartments in the Ivel community. According to the Prestonsburg Police Dept. officers say the raids happened Monday night at apartments along Conn Street. Arrested was Freddie Hunter ,31, of Wayland, Toni Bishop, 25, of Beaver and Jonathan Meade, 31, of McDowell. Hunter and Bishop were each are charged with Trafficking in a Controlled Substance. Meade is charged with Tampering with Physical Evidence. Police say a large quantity of cocaine, prescription pills and a significant amount of cash were seized in the raids. The Prestonsburg Police, USDEA / Attorney General’s Office, Floyd Co Sheriff, and Kentucky State Police assisted in the raid. All three individuals were taken to Floyd Co Detention Center.
Breathitt Co Ambulance Service Accused of Improper Billing
According to WYMT reports, the owner of a Breathitt Co Ambulance service has filed a lawsuit under the federal false claims act alleging a competing ambulance service transported patients who could had driven themselves to a doctor and several other serious allegations. The lawsuit was filed by Darrell Stephen Mcintosh, who owns Mcintosh Ambulance Service against Arrow-Med Ambulance Service and its owner Hershel Jay Arrowood of Jackson. Arrow-Med has locations in Breathitt and Wolfe Counties and competes for business with Mcinitosh Ambulance Service.
Reports say the alleged medically unnecessary ambulance transports by the Arrow-Med include the transportation of patients to and from kidney dialysis clinics where the patients demonstrated no medical necessity for such transportation, the lawsuit says. Among the allegations the suit claims the company "pressured" it's paramedics and EMT's to exaggerate medical conditions on paperwork to justify the transport of patients and claims that Arrow-Med did not have enough qualified staff to operate an ambulance service and bill for Medicare reimbursements. The lawsuit claims Arrow-Medtook part in a scheme to provide big discounts on ambulance runs at The Nim Henson Geriatric Center, located in Jackson in return for the center referring patients to the ambulance company. The lawsuit says that “swapping” scheme violated anti-kickback laws.
The lawsuit asks for a cash award to McIntosh for exposing the fraud; attorney fees; and a fine against Arrow-Med of $11,000 for each false bill to the government. It also asks a payment to the government of triple the amount that the ambulance company received through false claims, if they are proven. The lawsuit was unsealed on Monday but was filed in federal court more than one year ago under the federal False Claims Act.
US 23 Slide in Floyd Co. Remains Active
According to information supplied by the Dept. of Transportation District 12, traffic is down to two 12-foot lanes, using the southbound lanes of US 23 at Ivel in Floyd County following a slide that started Wednesday evening, May 11. Wide loads are now prohibited in the area. Highway District 12 Chief District Engineer Mary Westfall-Holbrook said the slide area is within sight of the 7.0 mile marker of the northbound lanes between Davidson Memorial Gardens and the Ivel Post Office.
“The hillside is not stable,” she said, “even though we have cleaned the pavement. You can see and hear the rock and earth moving up on the hill. We cannot put traffic on the northbound lanes while there is still any danger that more material could come down.”
Westfall-Holbrook estimated it could take two months to correct the situation. In the meantime, any wide loads – vehicles that have to have a permit from the Division of Motor Carriers – need to go around the area. There is no marked detour. “They may have to go as far as Hazard in one direction or as far as Charleston in the other direction,” she said. “They will have to figure that out themselves.” She said the team at District 12 and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recognizes that this will be a significant inconvenience for what could be a prolonged period of time, but pointed out that District 12’s job is to protect the traveling public, even if that means temporary inconvenience for some drivers.
“We located what we believe to be the source of the water,” she said, “which is off state right of way on private property. That means we have to get our right of way people involved before we can do any excavation to see what needs to be done to fix the problem. We are not talking a short-term fix here,” she explained. Meanwhile, the two 12-foot southbound lanes are carrying two-way traffic on the busiest stretch of highway in Eastern Kentucky. “The speed limit is 55,” Westfall-Holbrook said, “but people are not slowing down, despite the radar trailers, the variable message boards, and the cones that direct northbound traffic into the southbound lane. If people do not slow down, they are risking their lives and property and the lives and property of others.”
She said that vehicles are hitting cones and ignoring the reduced speed warnings. “If they don’t slow down, someone is going to get hurt,” she warned. She praised the law enforcement agencies who are assisting with traffic control: City of Prestonsburg Police Department, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky State Police, and Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement. She also praised the work of the Allen and Betsy Layne Volunteer Fire Departments. “They came out Wednesday night and stay with us, directing traffic and generally helping our crews make the area safe enough to re-open two of the four lanes.” Updates on the situation will be made as soon as additional information is available. Once excavation begins to tackle a permanent fix for the problem, it is possible that the entire roadway at that site may have to be shut down for a period of time. Sara George, Information Officer for the district, said people can look to the media for updated information, check on KYTC District 12’s Facebook page.