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Fiscal court takes stance against eminent domain

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By Ron Benningfield

LaRue County Fiscal Court unanimously approved a resolution opposing any attempt by private companies to seize private property by the use of eminent domain.

“We need to let our legislators know that action on this needs addressing during this session,” LaRue County Judge-executive Tommy Turner told magistrates meeting at the courthouse in Hodgenville Jan. 14.

The resolution further stated, “No private property owner should be forced to relinquish their land for the benefit of non-governmental, for-profit private companies.”

The court’s action came at a time when private companies are seeking agreements with landowners to run a natural gas liquids pipeline through parts of Kentucky that include LaRue County. 

One of these is the Bluegrass Pipeline, a joint venture between Williams and Boardwalk Partners. The proposal involves 500 miles of new construction through Kentucky and Ohio to carry NGLs from natural gas drilling to storage facilities on the Gulf of Mexico. If it is built, it will pass through LaRue County.

Company representatives have said they believe they have the right to use eminent domain.

“Whether a person is for or against the pipeline, he should want to be protected against private companies being able to claim eminent domain,” Turner said.  

Several other counties along the pipeline route have approved resolutions. Some actively oppose the pipeline; some oppose the use of eminent domain. Another urges the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake an environmental study of the proposed pipeline.

In other business, the court approved a one-time $15,000 donation to LaRue County Park and Recreation for an upgrade on its restroom/concessions facility.

Turner explained that Parks and Recreation is a government entity owned by the city of Hodgenville, but also supported by fiscal court.  

“It’s a joint venture with the county agreeing to help out as it can,” he said.  

The donation will be in addition to annual support which Turner said totaled some $35,000 last year.

Magistrates concurred with no contrary motion to Planning and Zoning’s approval of one acre located at 1036 Old Sonora Road belonging to Jason Salsman being rezoned from A1 (agricultural) to R1A (residential).

The court approved both the sheriff’s and county clerk’s 2014 budgets. County Clerk Linda Carter reported receipts down about $115,000 due to fewer filing fees and delinquent tax payments.

Clyde Veirs, county road supervisor, reported crews spreading 60 tons of salt on county roads on Jan. 2.  Since then, the county has replenished its bin with 258 tons of salt.

Workers spread dense grade rock on shoulders on Weldon Loop, Maxine Road and Hornback Lane; mow-trimmed Weldon Loop, Watkins Alvey, Wheeler, Lanny Heath, and Johnson roads; pulled ditches on Grover Thompson Road; cleaned a ditch on Bird Road and cut shoulders to an entrance to Levelwood Road; and installed stop and stop-ahead signs on Airline Road.

Ricky Whitlock, second district magistrate, requested dead trees be removed from Goodin-Williams Road near where it meets Highway 1607, and for crews to fill potholes on Pepper Road.

Fourth District Magistrate W.L. Miller asked for mow-trimming on Cruise and Catlett roads.  

Ronald Dale Nunn, third district magistrate, reported water backing onto the roadway because of a stopped-up ditch on East Leafdale Road. 

Editor Linda Ireland contributed to this story.