The Caldwell County Fiscal Court met in regular session Tuesday morning in the courthouse in downtown Princeton.

After the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer, Caldwell County Judge Executive Ellen Dunning called the meeting to order and County Clerk Toni Watson called roll. The court then unanimously approved the agenda and the minutes from the February 27th meeting.

The meeting then moved to Judge Executive comments and Judge Dunning mentioned that there would be a Defensive Driver Class for all county employees on April 5th from 8AM to noon, with lunch provided, in the fiscal courtroom in the courthouse. The class is a requirement for all county employees who drive county issued vehicles but is open to all county, and even city, employees. Judge Dunning also stated that some insurance companies offer discounts to those who complete and pass the training class. For all county employees interested, or for those who must attend, please call Judge Dunning’s office to sign up.

Judge Dunning then spoke about the recent KACO Safety Audit, mentioning that only minor issues were found, all of which are in the process of being fixed. She also mentioned that the Lake Barkley Partnership is in the last phase of hiring a new Economic Development Director and hope their chosen candidate will be able to start sometime this spring. Judge Dunning also reminded those in attendance that Take Kids Fishing Day is coming up on May 19th and hoped the weather would be nice for the annual event.

The meeting then moved to unfinished business, of which there was none, so the meeting moved to new business. The first item of new business was an update from the Caldwell County Farmers Market Committee. Committee member Shane Bogle stood and addressed the court, introducing other committee members, Brian Conger, Alyson VanHooser, Jake Pepper, Paul Boitnott, and Steven Schaffer. Shane went on to say that the committee was looking to move forward with the Caldwell County Farmers Market Pavilion and asked the court to consider donating to the project. Shane stated that the project was eligible for a grant from the Governor’s Office of Ag. Policy as a 50 percent matching grant, but that even with the generous donation from the City of Princeton, both monetarily and location wise, more is needed. Currently the project, going by preliminary sketches, will cost right around $140,000. Shane also stated that the grant, which is available through Phase 1 Tobacco Settlement funds, isn’t necessarily a stable grant, the state could decide at any time to cut the program, so time is of the essence. Caldwell County is one of nine counties in the state that do not have a permanent farmers market pavilion and Shane did mention that the state is excited about the project and wants to help see it to completion. Shane and the committee are hopeful and excited about getting the project rolling.

The next item of new business was the discussion of installation of new insulation and a portion of roofing for the Ambulance Building. Magistrate Larry Curling spoke up, addressing the court, stating that the insulation and roof renovations to fix several issues where the insulation is exposed and falling out will cost the court between $3,500 and $4,000. He expressed that it was an issue that needed solving quickly, stating that the exposed insulation creates a daily mess and is an eye sore. Judge Dunning then stated that the issue was one of the ones brought up during the KACO Safety Audit. After more brief discussion Magistrate Brent Stallins made a motion to install new insulation and roofing where needed. The motion was seconded and was unanimously passed by the court.

The court then unanimously approved the monthly financial statement, Treasure’s transfers, and to pay bills as presented.

The meeting then moved to department reports and Administrative Assistant Molly Forsythe stood and addressed those assembled. She spoke about a matter close to her heart, elderly community members living in assisted living homes. She stated that around 60 percent of those who live at Princeton Health and Rehab and Highland Homes never have anyone come to visit them. In an effort to brighten their day and bring some joy Molly has started a campaign to give them small gifts as well as coordinating volunteers who will visit with residents. She and the court will be accepting donations of personal hygiene items to give to those living at both assisted living facilities in the county. Items include soft smelling lotions like Lubriderm, toothbrushes/toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, brush/comb, bar soap, deodorant, fluffy socks or comfortable slippers, sugar free bagged candy, etc., however, no razors or mouthwash. Molly will also accept monetary donations to purchase needed items. The campaign is also looking for volunteers to donate one hour a week to go and visit with residents, anyone interested will be able to attending a training in Madisonville in May. Those interested can call Molly at 270-365-6660 for more information. All items may be dropped off at the Caldwell County Judge Executive’s Office in the courthouse until April 10th.

Judge Dunning then extended an invitation to all in the community to attend the Trail of Tears Park Sculpture Memorial Dedication on Saturday, March 24th at 1PM at the park in downtown Princeton. Judge Dunning stated that the Trail of Tears Park Committee has already had an unveiling but that the dedication will be a special event, which will also be attended by sculpture artist Matthew Large. There will also be a reception for him after the dedication at the Tourism Center. She again expressed that everyone in the community is invited to attend both the dedication and the reception.

Judge Dunning then called for a motion to adjourn and after a motion and a second, the meeting adjourned. The next regular session Caldwell County Fiscal Court Meeting will be held on March 27th and is open to the public.