The Pike County Fiscal Court continued making progress towards implementation of a county trail system recently as it held the first reading of a proposed ordinance to establish an advisory board to oversee the project. However, officials say there are still major obstacles.
During a recent meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, the court held its first reading of a proposed ordinance establishing a Pike County Trail System board, something Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said needed to to be done as the court continues moving forward towards implementing a county trail system.
“I felt that when we put this draft together, that it was important to have at least two of the commissioners on it,” Jones said. “Because the whole purpose we’ve set in this proposed administrative ordinance would be to have a board of nine people, including two of the commissioners, to work on this project.
To work on the design. To work on the creation of the trail system and how we would go about operating it, governing it and particularly how to fund it. ” he added.
According to Jones, the two commissioners would serve until the expiration of their elected term in 2022, while the commissioner who is not on the advisory board would be able to appoint an individual for a term of three years. Jones also said that he would have two nominations that would have to be approved by the fiscal court and that the board would have staggered terms so that different individuals will be coming in, a similar style used for the Mountain Water District Board.
“I don’t know how else we could do this,” Jones said. “There was some talk about having each commissioner make so many nominations, I’m open to whatever changes that the members have.”
District 1 Commissioner Ronnie Robertson said that he believed the administrative code put together would work.
“This has been talked about for 20 years,” Robertson said. “It’s time we get on the ball and try to figure out something. There’s so much potential in this county with this trail system, I mean it could be unbelievable what we could do with it.”
There were a number of people in attendance to hear the court’s update, something that shows people are interested in the project and the potential that it has for the county, Jones said. However he added that there is still a lot of things the fiscal court has to consider.
“There’s a lot of issues in trying to put together a trail system,” Jones said. “And as we know, the Kentucky Mountain and Recreational Authority has had some meetings and we’ve had several members of the court go over there.”
According to Jones, one of the issues the fiscal court must address is something about which he said the court hasn’t gotten a clear answer to yet and that is whether the county can get insurance for its proposed trail system.
“Can we even get insurance for the county, on a trail system,” Jones said. “I’ve heard it’s not possible to get insurance and while the county has sovereign immunity, potentially county employees that work on the trail system and do maintenance could be potentially exposed to personal liability if they neglectfully preform work.”
That, Jones said, would have to be one of the first things the court discusses with its insurance carrier, Lloyd’s of London.
“To me, that’s a fundamental first step that we don’t have an answer to,” Jones said. “We’ve had a lot of meetings over this and we had hoped to be able to move on this quicker, but as you know with the tragic accident that happened a couple of weeks ago (the death of Danny Taylor) we’ve had to change some priorities.”
Pike County Assistant County Attorney Kevin Keene read the the proposed ordinance and the court will act on the topic during its next meeting, along with the discussion regarding adoption of a resolution of the fiscal court filing a Kentucky Local Government Economic Development Fund grant application to help with strategic planning for the trail system, which was set to be discussed, but the court agreed to wait until more information was gathered.