Simpson Fiscal Court approved second and final reading of an ordinance amending the county budget and approved first reading of an ordinance related to solar farms regulations during its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The budget amendment adds $26,200 in revenue from three grants and the grants' appropriations to the budget.

The revenue includes a $13,700 Homeland Security grant for the purchase of a generator at the county's communication tower.

The revenue also includes a $3,500 Community Grant from Walmart for the purchase of computers for sheriff's office vehicles.

And, the revenue includes a $9,000 state grant for the purchase of a forceable entry prop to be used for training by Franklin-Simpson Fire Rescue.

The ordinance approved on first reading adds regulations for solar farms of ten or more acres to Franklin-Simpson Planning and Zoning regulations.

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

The court agreed to two funding proposals if the remaining nine counties in the Barren River Area Development District, which includes Simpson County, also agree to the proposals.

One proposal is to guarantee

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a percentage of a $500,000 bond loan for Community Action of Southern Kentucky through the Kentucky Association of Counties, also known as KACO.

Simpson County's portion of the loan that would be guaranteed is $30,000. The percentage of the loan each county would be obligated for is based on its population compared to the population of other counties in the Barren River area.

Simpson County Judge/Executive Mason Barnes said the Community Action Agency needs funds to meet financial obligations including an approximate $500,000 debt to the Kentucky Retirement System.

Barnes said Community Action has two properties in Bowling Green it hopes to sell which would retire the KACO loan and meet other financial obligations.

He said KACO would not provide the loan unless the counties in the Barren River Area guarantee its payment.

Fiscal Court's vote to agree to the loan guarantee, if the remaining nine counties in the BRADD agree, was four to one with magistrate Myron Thurman casting the lone no vote.

The court agreed unanimously to provide funding for operation of the Small Business Development Center in Bowling Green, if the remaining counties in the BRADD also agree to provide funding.

Simpson County's portion of funding for the center, based on population, is $5,189. Barnes proposed splitting the cost evenly between the county, City of Franklin, Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority and F-S Chamber of Commerce. Each agency would provide some $1,297.

A document is being prepared for all four local agencies to approve if they agree to participate in the funding.

The Small Business Development Center has been located at the Western Kentucky University R&D Center on Nashville Road in Bowling Green and is a partnership with the Federal Small Business Administration, the University of Kentucky and WKU.

WKU has withdrawn their funding due to budget shortfalls; however WKU has agreed to continue providing office space.

The Small Business Administration will provide 50 percent of the cost to operate the center and the University of Kentucky will provide 25 percent leaving 25 percent, or some $85,109, still needed to fund the facility.

The cost to fund the facility is placed at approximately $300,000.

The court approved seven board reappointments.

Scott Brown and Hunter Bowen were reappointed to two-year terms on the F-S Ambulance Service Board, Gary Broady and Steve Compton were reappointed to four-year terms on the F-S Industrial Authority Board, Anna Gregory and Chuck Fleming were reappointed to three-year terms on the F-S Parks Board and Chris Kummer was reappointed to a four-year term on the F-S Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments.

An amendment to the School Resource Officer Memorandum of Understanding between the county, city and Simpson County School System was approved.

Franklin Police provides the school resource officer for the school system.

The only change in the memorandum of understanding is the school system is no longer required to provide a videographer program for recording fiscal court and Franklin City Commission meetings. The county and city now provide personnel for recording the meetings.

The court approved a contract for an instructor for teaching Second Chance Offender Rehabilitation and Education (SCORE) classes at the Simpson County Jail at a monthly cost to the jail of $2,000.

Also approved was a contract between the county, city and an independent contractor for inspection of commercial and industrial buildings in the county and city.

And, the court approved the county's Oct. 31 financial statement, subject to audit.

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