Joe P. Asher
During a meeting of the Harlan Fiscal Court on Thursday, possibilities were discussed concerning an aquaculture project at Lynch.
Magistrate David Kennedy addressed the issue.
“I want to make sure the magistrates and the judge are on the same page with that project up there in Lynch. We had discussed the possibility of selling fish, tilapia and so forth,” stated Kennedy.
Kennedy pointed out there are some problems with a plan to sell fish for profit.
“They came in and did an analysis of the whole setup and the magistrates need to be aware that talapia will not survive up there. Tilapia requires a warm water. That water coming out of those mines is extremely cold — good water for trout,” stated Kennedy. “After looking at that project up there, I don’t think that selling these fish is going to be profitable for the county.”
Kennedy explained there were other options for the fish that would be grown.
“I’m in favor of going forward with the project, but I would rather look at it as a Harlan County in-house stocking program. I would like to use those trout to contract with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to stock Martins Fork Lake, Kingdom Come State Park Lake and Louellen Lake and provide more of a recreational need than try to sell fish for a profit,” stated Kennedy. “I think that would be a very minimum cost to the county, we’ve already got those big fish tanks sitting up there. Personally, that’s all I want to do with it…I want to release them into the streams, creeks and lakes of Harlan County.”
Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop explained that raising tilapia may still be an option.
“We’ve been working with Kentucky State University, they did not tell us that we couldn’t grow those other fish,” said Grieshop. “They said we could. So, we just have to follow the appropriate guidelines on what to do having pure water with a temperature at 55 degrees that has to be elevated 15 to 20 degrees — we’ll just have to see where it goes.”
Grieshop pointed out that there are commitments that must be honored with area schools.
“We’re also tied with the school systems on a regionally grown farm to school program that helps our school kids get better food,” stated Grieshop.
Kennedy pointed out he agreed with the food program, and explained he wanted the primary use of the fish raised to be released in Harlan County to aid the local recreation industry.
The court opened bids for a hydraulic ram pump.
One bid was offered from Kentucky Mine Supply Company, offering a 6 inch intake pump for a price of $17,500 and an 8 inch intake for $33,500.
According to Grieshop, the pump is worth the expense.
“It uses no electricity. It costs a lot of money up front, but you would spend $2,500 per year for electricity for the pump if you didn’t do it,” said Grieshop.
Kennedy made a motion to approve the purchase of the 8 inch pump. The motion was seconded by magistrate Jonathan Pope. The motion passed with no opposition.
In other fiscal court action:
* A motion was passed to advertise for bids for gravel;
* A motion was passed authorizing payment in the amount of $4,900 to CSX Transportation for an encroachment agreement concerning the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy and the railroad crossing in Grays Knob;
* A resolution was approved for a contract between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Harlan Fiscal Court concerning the County Road Aid Cooperative Program;
* Planned budget discussions were delayed until the next meeting due to the absence of county treasurer Ryan Creech.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org