Night meetings for fiscal court?

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Issue returns to discussion

By Mallory Bilger

SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt County Fiscal Court might move one of its two monthly meetings to an evening time if it heeds the advice of some local citizens - but it could prove tricky to find a night suitable for everyone.

Shepherdsville resident Bernie Brown raised the issue at the Court's Dec. 1 meeting when he asked if any court members had considered holding some sessions at night.

"I know there are some working people who would come or who would like to come," Brown told the Court.

Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts and Court members unanimously passed a motion to direct the Bullitt County Attorney's Office to prepare amendments to the court's current meeting dates and times ordinance to reflect that the second meeting of each month be held at 7 p.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. Currently the Court meets the first and third Tuesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. The ordinance will be presented for a first reading on Dec. 15.

One issue not addressed Tuesday was that the Bullitt County School Board also meets the third Tuesday evening of each month, which Roberts said she didn't realize during the discussions.

"That is something we would consider. It's going to be hard to find a night when there are no other meetings," she said.

She continued to say that it was important that citizens have the opportunity to attend both meetings.

"It's very important to me that people can go to the Board meeting and also attend the Fiscal Court meeting if they so choose," she said.

Magistrate Ed Bleemel said the Court should also consider the cost associated with the idea, adding that some county employees would have to be paid overtime to attend night meetings. He suggested that the Court investigate the possibility of televising the meetings and assess the total cost before deciding.

County Attorney Walt Sholar said the county attorney's office, the sheriff's department and the county clerk all have statutory responsibilities to provide representatives to attend Fiscal Court meetings, no matter when the meeting time is.

Roberts reminded the audience that during her 2006 campaign she promised constituents she would work to schedule some night meetings allowing more residents to attend. In a later interview, Roberts said she has been unable to convince enough court members that the idea is a good one.

"I tried to get that accomplished earlier in my administration, like two years ago, but I did not have a majority of Fiscal Court members in agreement to want to do a night meeting," Roberts said.

The Fiscal Court held night meetings for several months under previous Judge-Executive John Harper, however, few people attended and the meeting time was ultimately changed back to the day time.

The Court's unanimous decision to have the first reading of an ordinance to amend the current meeting time was met with applause Tuesday.

"There are working people who pay taxes who would like to be here," Brown said.