Lincoln Co. Fiscal Court to repay $38K to Dept. of Library and Archives

Published 11:54 am Thursday, September 13, 2018

STANFORD — The Lincoln County Courthouse, constructed in 1909 at the site of the original, is home to the oldest courthouse records in the state.

While many of the paper documents, which date back to 1781, have been preserved through the Kentucky Department of Library and Archives, many have simply been stored in the courthouse vaults.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any change in that status for now. Recent budget cuts in Frankfort have resulted in the Department of Library and Archives rescinding a grant to the county for records preservation in the amount of $38,726.

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“What happened was, years ago Library and Archives started their own little branch to put records like this on something more permanent than the paper documents because they couldn’t find anybody in the private sector who would do it for a price they felt was reasonable,” County Attorney Daryl K. Day said. “Well, what happens when budgets go bad, stuff like that gets cut.”

When the issue of giving the grant money back was originally brought before the Lincoln County Fiscal Court, the court voted to abstain from returning the money.

“They deposited the money in our bank account to do microfilming of some old records downstairs. Through budget cuts, they’ve decided they can’t do that and they want their money back,” Lincoln County Judge-Executive Jim W. Adams said. “In the meantime, we’ve had a man who was downsized from Library and Archives back earlier in the year. He’s with another company and he came in this last week and he’s going to give us an idea of what he can do for how much money. That’s where we are.”

However, after hearing from Day the age of some of the county’s historic records and how most would not be preserved at this time if the grant money wasn’t repaid, the court started to question its decision to abstain.

“I have a list of records, some that go back to the Civil War, that we don’t have stored in a permanent fashion other than paper documents,’” he said. “That’s what they were going to do. Library and Archives was going to do all these records for $38,000. The only other bid they got for possibly doing these was in the neighborhood of $300,000. When they cut that division, there’s no one there to do this, so it’s going to have to be done by a private company.”

“They will not give us more money to go towards this. Honestly, we’ll get about a tenth of this list done with the money we have from a private company if they bid as they did a year or two ago.”

Day emphasized to the court that, by repaying the money, Lincoln County could not only get back in line for more grant money, but move to the top of that line.

“If we give them this money back, then we will be eligible for a new grant. He wants to ask for $150-$200K so we can get as much of this done as possible,” he said. “Lincoln County’s on the top of list of those because there’s very few counties that have records that go back to 1861 and we do. Our records are so old and that’s what they judge on.”

But 1861 is not the oldest record in the vaults.

“We actually have the county court order book 1783-1791 that’s not stored any way other than paper records in our vault downstairs,” Day said. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kentucky wasn’t even a state. It’s things like that that you can never replace.”

Before the court went to vote on repaying the money, Day had these final few thoughts to share.

“If we give them this money back, then they will give us a bigger grant to apply to a private company to get started on this. If we don’t give this back, we’re going to spend this and get very little done and we’re going to wait a year or maybe two years before we can get back in the grant process,” he said. “My recommendation is that we do pay this back so we can get back in line for the next grant money that comes up.”

The court approved repayment by a unanimous vote.

In other business:
The court approved the appointment of Denny Hogue to the Lincoln County Senior Citizens Board.
The court voted to set in motion the process of closing the north entrance to Ridgeway Road in Stanford. Julian Gander, a Ridgeway Road resident, presented a petition to the court asking for the closure. All 10 residents on the road signed the petition.