County eyes location options for local commodity programs

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By Jeff Moore

Changes will be coming to the commodities distribution programs that serve Carroll County in November. However, officials are still working to tie down the details.

At Tuesday’s Carroll County Fiscal Court meeting, Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said they are close to having plans in place for the program that distributes commodities to senior citizens. The plans for the regular commodity distribution program, which is on a first-come, first-served basis now, need to be worked out.

In a letter Sept. 16, Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission Executive Director Florence Tandy notified the eight counties they serve that the agency will no longer be able to handle the commodity distribution beyond Oct. 31.

“We did the math, and were shocked to discover that the program costs us an average of more than $12,000 per county to operate,” Tandy wrote. But the agency started this when it had the volunteers, space and staff to make it happen.

“As our budget has shrunk, we have been forced to cut back on the services, which do not pay their fair share of operating costs and which consumes significant agency and staff resources,” Tandy wrote. “The commodity program is one such service.”

Tomlinson said this is just another sign of how the federal sequestration has come down to the local level and is affecting communities.

Tomlinson told fiscal court that the Carroll County Senior Center on Sixth Street will be the likely point of distribution for the senior commodity program. He said the senior center, local ministers and Brighton Center in Newport met yesterday to iron out the details.

“We feel like we got the senior program covered,” he said. He said Brighton Center would provide the income-verification services and the senior center would distribute the items.

The senior program serves about 150 people a month.

The work can now begin on how to handle the regular distribution that serves 125 to 140 families a month, Tomlinson said.

He has meet with ministers and a couple of churches, including First Baptist in Carrollton and Worthville Baptist. He said there is another church he intends to meet with as he explores the options.

“We really feel like it was important if we could keep it in the center of the county,” Tomlinson said.

The county will continue to pick up items for both programs so they can be distributed. He said the county might have to buy a freezer to store some of the food.

“Hopefully by the first of the month, we will be able to come out with a schedule and times,” he said.

While the first month or two might get off to a rocky start, Tomlinson said the program will continue.

“Bottom line is, we don’t want to lose the commodities,” he said, because so many local residents depend on it each month.

New transportation rates announced

Tomlinson said LKLP Community Action Partnership, which provides Medicaid transportation services in the county, has notified him that rates will increase dramatically in November.

Tomlinson said he has called LKLP to ask why, but has not heard back from the agency.

He said he is concerned about how the increase will affect those who attend the NorthKey’s Hope Workshop, and others who depend on the service. He said he hopes to learn more and find if there are other alternatives for those who cannot afford the higher fees.

Road work upcoming

Paving is expected to get under way this week in the Mill Creek section of Carroll County, Tomlinson said. Ohio Valley Asphalt will pave a two-mile section of that road.

After that work is complete, Tomlinson said OVA plans to move to Locust Road to repave. However, he is not clear on whether this work will include some of the additional ditch and shoulder work the county has requested.

Once Locust Road work is finished, he said OVA will then move to the Dividing Ridge area, he said.

The schedule will be determined by the weather conditions, he said.

County wins grant for defibrillator, ambulance

Carroll County has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase a third defibrillator for the county’s ambulances, Tomlinson announced.

He said the county’s newest ambulance also has arrived, along with a new lift system.

“It’s a really nice piece of equipment,” Tomlinson said.

In a demonstration Monday, he said Sharon Dews was able to load a patient into the ambulance by herself with the new lift system.

It is expected that the lift system also will help cut down on back and other injuries for those who work on the ambulance service.