Perry, O'Nan sign census proclamation

ERIC WALKER/The Mayfield Messenger

Mayfield Mayor Kathy O'Nan speaks to the Graves County Fiscal Court and those in attendance regarding a joint proclamation with Judge-Executive Jesse Perry encouraging countywide participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. Both O'Nan and Perry signed the proclamation, which also noted the formation of a committee to help promote and educate residents on the need for accurate census data.

Mayfield Mayor Kathy O'Nan visited the Graves County Fiscal Court Monday to join Judge-Executive Jesse Perry for a joint proclamation signing to encourage countywide participation in the 2020 U.S. Census.

O'Nan, who read the proclamation before the court members and later to the Mayfield City Council, noted local governments need to "ensure maximum response rate" and that Graves County must count each resident to be "fully represented in the Kentucky General Assembly and U.S. Congress."

The proclamation further stated that a low response rate could result in undercounts of residents and affect congressional apportionments and funding for local programs.

Preparation for the census next year will involve a Mayfield and Graves County committee of local officials and community leaders who will work toward full participation through publicity, outreach and educational efforts to overcome cultural, economic or other barriers that might inhibit households from taking part in the census.

O'Nan said in March, census information can be provided online. If there is no response from households, federal government workers will then go door-to-door to record needed information.

"It is highly important that all citizens in Mayfield and Graves County be counted for this census," she added.

In other business, Graves County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy/Prevention project coordinator Lauren Carr presented the first quarterly report on the county's needle exchange program, which began in April through the Graves County Health Department.

The program's goal is to encourage drug addicts to seek treatment, decrease the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV through needle re-use, and reduce risks of people being exposed to used needles that have been incorrectly disposed.

According to Carr, the program has had 35 transactions with individuals from Graves, Carlisle, Marshall and McCracken counties. The exchange program is the only one west of Bowling Green.

She said the average age range is between 25-59 with main drug usage being methamphetamine, opioids and heroin.

Carr acknowledged drug use is illegal and that the department is not condoning drug use. However, she said, "We need to meet individuals where they're at. We're providing education and giving them an opportunity to make decisions to change for themselves."

Health department director Noel Coplen added that new avenues for funding have opened by having the needle exchange program. He said the additional funding has allowed the department to increase educational efforts with various drug programs, HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and trainings with Graves County Jail staffers and sheriff's office.

He also noted that the department received $8,000 worth of Narcan, a medication spray to block the effects of opioids, for free.

A similar presentation was made at the Mayfield City Council meeting Monday, as well.

In other fiscal court business, Commissioners Richie Galloway, Todd Hayden and Tyler Goodman unanimously approved:

• claims presented by the county treasurer;

• June 2019 financial statement;

• fourth quarter 2018-19 report;

• Graves County Sheriff's Office second quarter report.

Court members also approved the first reading of a budget amendment for 2019-20 regarding a $1 million economic development grant for GenCanna.

In old business, a second reading and adoption of an amendment to the county's transient room tax ordinance was tabled until County Attorney John Cunningham is able to read the amendment.

In new business, the court voted to cancel the July 22 regular meeting.

Perry announced Tuesday the fiscal court will meet in a special called meeting on July 19 at 8 a.m. in the Graves County Circuit Courtroom. That meeting will address the second reading and adoption of a budget amendment ordinance and 2018-19 Graves County treasurer's settlement.

Eric Walker is the sports editor for The Mayfield Messenger. He has also worked as a staff writer for the Messenger, editor for the Murray Ledger & Times, and in public relations. He is married with two sons.