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Fiscal Court discusses possibility of ICE detainees lodged in Simpson County Jail

The possibility of the Simpson County Detention Center housing ICE detainees was discussed during the Tuesday, Oct. 5 Simpson Fiscal Court meeting.

ICE detainees are persons detained by the U.S. government’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, also known as ICE. The detainees are civilly detained and not criminally detained.

Simpson County Jailer Eric Vaughn sent deputy jailer Brent Deweese to a facility in Illinois that housed ICE detainees to get information about housing the detainees. However; Deweese said the Illinois governor declared Illinois a sanctuary state and ICE detainees will no longer be kept in that state.

Deweese brought the issue before the court saying housing ICE detainees “could place us (the jail) on a path of self sufficiency.”

The jail would receive between $65 and $103 per day, per detainee. The jail receives between $31 and $34 per day, per state inmate.

Federal funds pay for housing ICE detainees. State funds pay for housing state inmates.

Deweese said some state inmates would remain at the Simpson County Detention Center if the facility begins housing ICE detainees.

Deweese also said ICE detainees would be housed in Simpson County until they are moved to another facility, deported or released to their family. He said the detainees would remain in the jail while here and would not be allowed to go into the community for work release or other programs.

“Their (detainees) only option to stay in the country is good behavior, so if they act up in our facility they aren’t going to be able to stay in the country, Deweese said. “So its incumbent for them to behave to stay here.”

Deweese said there is a need for good facilities to house ICE detainees and Simpson County has been recommended to ICE as a facility to house the detainees.

He said Boone County, Kentucky is also housing ICE detainees.

Deweese also expressed confidence that ICE detainees are tested for COVID when being lodged at other facilities when asked about such testing.

Also discussed were steps that could be taken to overcome language barriers involving the detainees.

Fiscal court took no formal action, but instructed Deweese to obtain more information.

“I’d be willing to look at some more on it,” Magistrate Marty Chandler said.

“I don’t see a downside on getting more information on [the possibility],” Simpson County Judge/Executive Mason Barnes said.

Deweese said if the decision is made to allow the jail to house ICE detainees it would take 90 to 180 days to complete the process to prepare for housing the detainees.

Fiscal court also gave approval to first reading of an ordinance repealing and restating the F-S Planning and Zoning permit and inspection rate schedule.

A county ordinance must pass a first and second reading vote and be published to take effect.

If approved by the court on a second reading vote and approved by the Franklin City Commission the new rates would take effect Jan. 1, 2022.

The rates have not been updated since 1986.

The court approved a moratorium on allowing residential construction in a B-1 business zone. The moratorium will remain in place until information is obtained about the percentage of residential dwellings allowed in business zones in other communities.

Chandler cast the lone no vote on the moratorium. No reason was given for his vote.

The court approved receipt of the jail commissary audit, approved a COVID-19 payroll policy and approved changes in the courtyard use policy.

Franklin City Commissioner Brownie Bennett discusses improvements to an alley near the downtown square during a city commission community walk on Oct. 11. The F-S Arts Council and city combined to make the improvements to the alley located off West Cedar Street.

City Commission Community Walk held

Public can see new subdivision regulations

The City of Franklin has partnered with the Franklin-Simpson Planning and Zoning office to create new subdivision regulations that will be enforced within the city limits.

Copies of these regulations will be placed for the public to see at three different locations: City Hall, The Goodnight Memorial Public Library and in the main hallway of the Courthouse. Next to each of these books will be a sign detailing where to direct all comments.

A public hearing on the new subdivision regulations is scheduled for November 2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall meeting room.

Driver's license services in Simpson County to end Oct. 22

Simpson County and nine other Kentucky counties are making the transition in October to a new, secure driver-licensing model, administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), that gives Kentuckians more choices and modern services.

The final day driver’s license services will be available in Simpson County is Oct. 22. To make a driver’s license appointment in Simpson County until Oct. 22 go on line to kycourts.gov.

The traditional issuance system of licenses and permits initiated at the office of circuit court clerk in each county is being phased out and replaced by a network of KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices across the state.

After Oct. 22 Simpson County residents will have to go to any regional office for a driver’s license.

The closest KYTC regional office to Simpson County is the Warren County Regional Office at 360 East 8th Avenue, Suite 111 in Bowling Green. The office is in the same building as Mariah’s restaurant next to Bowling Green Ballpark in downtown Bowling Green.

To schedule an appointment at a regional office, such as the Warren County office, go on line to drive.ky.gov. Walk-in customers will be served on a first-come, first served basis.

KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Offices are open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only debit and credit cards are accepted at most regional offices this time.

KYTC and Kentucky’s circuit court clerks are working together to smoothly complete the transition statewide by June 30, 2022.

“It’s a new era of driver licensing in Kentucky,” Governor Andy Beshear said in a press release. “We are using technology to offer more service options than ever before, such as online appointment scheduling, online license renewal and, beginning in October, mail-in renewal. After many years of issuing driver licenses, circuit court clerks will be able to focus solely on court business, and driver licensing will be executed at new regional offices whose only business is licensing.”

Residents of counties making the transition may renew or apply for a REAL ID or new standard card version of driver license, learner permit, commercial driver license (CDL) or ID card at any KYTC Driver Licensing Regional Office. Applicants are encouraged to make an appointment online, which can be done at drive.ky.gov | Regional Offices Map. Walk-in customers are welcomed on a first-come, first-served basis until available slots are filled.

More than 30,000 Kentuckians needing to renew their current license have skipped a trip to an office by renewing online — a new service available to Kentuckians whose name and address have not changed. Visit www.DLrenewal.ky.gov for more information.

KYTC regional offices are the only place where Kentuckians can get a REAL ID.

“The reason for this change is after 911 occurred (Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks) the Department of Homeland Security decided that all states needed a credential that would allow people to fly, to serve as an ID, to serve as a driver’s license, to enter military bases,” Simpson Circuit Court Clerk Beth Fiss said during a recent interview on WFKN. “ This new credential, all 50 states will be the same, and they will be required to fly domestically. Actually Kentucky is one of the last to comply.

This whole transition has been a lot of work for Kentucky because the circuit clerks have been issuing drivers license for so long and then to make this transition….its just been a huge undertaking. Where as other states already had the department of transportation issuing their license, so it wasn’t as big of a deal for those states.”

Driver Testing

Kentucky State Police will continue to administer all permit and license testing. Testing services are offered Monday through Friday by appointment. Applicants who require testing by KSP for a permit, driver license or CDL may make an appointment online by visiting http://kentuckystatepolice.org/driver-testing/.

Driver’s testing is no longer conducted in Simpson County.

Next Level Licensing

The transition to a new model for license issuance is more than a change of office locations. “Our regional offices also offer a more secure issuance process and upgraded card security features to curb fraud,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said.

Driver Licensing Regional Offices will offer the following:

• Online appointment scheduling. Walk-in customers are still welcome.

• A choice between a REAL ID and a new standard card version. Both feature security upgrades and are available with a choice of four-year or eight-year expiration. (Eight years for all CDLs.)

• Service at ANY regional office, regardless of customer’s county of residence.

• Periodic “Pop-up Driver Licensing” visits to counties without a regional office to offer on-site application and renewal services.

License applicants receive a temporary identification document at the end of the transaction for use until the permanent card arrives by mail at their home address. This reduces the wait time for printing credentials during visits and improves security by eliminating in-office card production machinery.

Transition of licensing services was launched with passage of House Bill 453 during the 2020 Kentucky General Assembly.


Kentucky will continue offering the option of a standard driver’s license, but a REAL ID or other form of federally approved identification, such as a passport or military ID, eventually will be needed by people 18 and older for boarding commercial flights and accessing military bases and federal buildings that currently require identification. Enforcement is scheduled to begin May 3, 2023.

First-time application for a REAL ID must be made in person at a Driver Licensing Regional office. Specific documentation is required. A list of acceptable documentation and a link to take an interactive quiz that populates a personalized list of documents is available at drive.ky.gov | IDocument Guide.

Information for this story was provided by press releases from Governor Andy Beshear’s office and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Office and an interview with Simpson Circuit Court Clerk Beth Fiss.

State auditor releases report on sheriff's fee account

State Auditor Mike Harmon has released the 2020 agreed-upon procedures engagement of Simpson County Sheriff Jere Dee Hopson.

The auditor issues two sheriff’s reports each year: one on the audit of the sheriff’s tax account, the other on the audit of the fee account used to operate the office.

County sheriffs and clerks that meet certain criteria may apply for an Agreed-Upon Procedures engagement in lieu of an audit of their fee account.

Auditors performed the procedures, which were agreed to by the Simpson County Sheriff, on receipts and disbursements, excess fees, recordkeeping, and leases, contracts, and liabilities for the period of Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.

The following exceptions were identified during the AUP engagement:

• The sheriff has a fourth quarter financial statement and a receipts ledger, but did not keep a disbursements ledger.

County Sheriff’s Response: The practice of fee documenting and reporting has been the same every year. The bookkeeper, in her own notetaking, would write the check number on the report for her reference not realizing this was accepted as a disbursement ledger on her reports. Moving forward she will create and keep such report.

• The sheriff reconciled bank accounts and the reconciliations for all accounts as of December 31, 2020 were accurate. However, we found the sheriff had deposited funds totaling $5,474 for overtime reimbursements into drug accounts that should have been deposited into the fee account. Additionally, the sheriff deposited a $15,000 donation into his drug account. Those funds should be transferred to the donation account

County Sheriff’s Response: Human errors are made from time to time and corrected as soon as they are discovered. This has been corrected and funds have been moved to the correct account.

• Excess fees due to the fiscal court were recalculated and excess fees of $12 were overpaid to the fiscal court.

County Sheriff’s Response: No Response.

The report can be found on the state auditor’s website.

The sheriff’s responsibilities include collecting property taxes, providing law enforcement and performing services for the county fiscal court and courts of justice. The sheriff’s office is funded through statutory commissions and fees collected in conjunction with these duties.