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Conservation District still contemplating 50-50 cost-share employee

Messenger Staff

The Meade County Conservation District held its monthly meeting on Dec. 18, with members John Bruington, Jim Scott, Jack King, Nathan Beavin, and Henry Pike present. Absent were Joe Barger and Fred L. Sipes. Also in attendance were district employees Charlotte Lawson and Calvin Bohannon.

Plans for the winter banquet are underway, with the hope of holding the banquet on the first or second Wednesday of March. The banquet will be held in honor of the winners of the post and essay contests as well as the individual(s) presented with the Master Conservationist award. Some essays and posters have been received from school children but overall, noted the board, response from the schools has been very poor this year.

Charlotte Lawson noted there were eight dead animal pickups during the month of November, with only one bill paid as of yet.

The board held a lengthy discussion concerning the possibility of hiring another employee under the state’s 50-50 cost-share program. Board chairman John Bruington, who has done some research on the matter, said he has come to the conclusion it’s the conservation districts who take the initiative to keep their programs workable and the volumes high that will be the ones able to keep their doors open. Agreeing with Bruington, Calvin Bohannon stated, “If you don’t show volume, they’ll close us out.”

Jack King expressed concern about having enough money to pay the 50-50 employee three or four years from now and noted that hiring this employee may drain some of the money the district holds in CDs. John Bruington said the commitment for hiring the cost-share employee is only one year, and the board can decide to terminate the position at any time. He also stated the less money the district has in savings the more eligible it will be to receive grants.

Also discussed was the fact that the new employee would be able to assume some of the duties of Liz Hawkins who is currently on medical leave and may or may not be returning to her job.

After much discussion, the board decided to wait until the entire board is present – hopefully at the January meeting – to make a decision about hiring the 50-50 employee.

Bohannon told the board a fully-trained, part-time employee at the Breckinridge County office is interested in providing the Thursday/Friday Meade County office coverage needed during the month of January. Jim Scott made a motion to hire this employee at the rate of $7 per hour. Jack King seconded the motion, with all voting in favor.

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