To “get the ball rolling,” the new fiscal court opened the new year with two meetings in a row, a special-called meeting on Jan. 3, and the regularly-scheduled gathering on Jan. 4.

At the Spencer County Fiscal Court special meeting on Jan. 3, the new court kicked off the new year firing on all cylinders.

Judge-executive Scott Travis wanted to let the community know that the new court is in session, and ready to get to work for them.

“I want the community to know that this court is serious about doing stuff,” said Travis, right before discussions of three agenda items that were put on the agenda for discussions to get help get his point across: Farmers Market, Washburn Lane, and Animal Shelter.

These items have been the discussion of many fiscal court meetings in the past, and the new court wants to “get the ball rolling” on these, and any other projects that were pushed down the road for further discussion.

The current Farmers Market has been established in front of Fresh Take Market on Saturdays during the summer for the past few years, and those that put it on, and participate, are happy with the location and the visibility that it brings.

The court members all agree that a new venue, a “large facility with a centralized location” would be an asset to the county, not just a Farmers Market, but a Public Events Center.

Magistrate 3rd District Jim Travis even stated that he would be willing to spend the entire $3.2 million in available county ARPA funds for the multi-use venue, “a centerpiece of Spencer County.”

The magistrates will be researching nearby counties, and bring back ideas/drawings and be prepared to make a new committee for this venture at a future meeting.

Washburn Lane has also been a hot topic, especially in the latter part of 2022, with new developments in that area of the county. S. Travis noted that he put it on the agenda for two reasons — safety and to give the residents there a better opportunity to get in and out.

Magistrate 2nd District Mike Stump said that Washburn Lane was his “priority number one, as far as roads go.”

There is approximately $21,000 allotted to maintenance of Washburn Lane carried over from the previous court.

After some discussion, J. Travis’ motion to have a two-foot gravel shoulder put on the northside of the road, clean out the ditches, and have a culvert pipe replaced as soon as possible using the funds already available was passed by all.

A new county animal shelter has been in discussions for the last several years, with no real actions taken. Some minor improvements have been made to the current facility, but most of those were made possible by fundraising efforts by the non-profit group Friends of the Animal Shelter, who are actively trying to build a new facility of their own elsewhere in the county.

The new court wanted to get some movement on that issue, by agreeing unanimously to start the process of building a new county shelter on the land owned by the county behind Dollar General beside Spencer County High School.