Posted on January 29, 2024
CARROLLTON, Ky. — Carroll Fiscal Court on Tuesday approved the sale of its Ohio River mineral rights — permission to dredge the county’s portion of the river bottom for sand and gravel — to Nugent Sand Company.
Nugent President Tom Nugent, Vice President of Operations Damon Hughes, Operations Manager Clay Ferris and attorney Ruth Baxter were at the court’s regular meeting on Tuesday to answer questions about the proposal to mine sand and gravel, which the court agreed to advertise for bids on Nov. 14 after being approached by the company.
The county advertised for bids on a 10-year lease to dredge minerals with options for two additional 5-year periods.
The winning company would also have to conduct a required mussel study prior to any dredging.
Although the bid process was open to any company interested in the mineral rights, the only bid received by the deadline was submitted by Nugent. Baxter said although Nugent was the only bidder the company considered the bid a competitive offer based on the value of the minerals and the costs associated with dredging over the life of the lease. She said the same bid had been submitted to and accepted by Oldham County under similar circumstances.
“When you submit a bid as a business, you try to be competitive based upon the cost that is involved in doing the work and the expense over the term of the contract,” Baxter said. “Nugent was very transparent with you as to what its cost and expenses were and what its bid was going to be … Nugent is interested in the work and would ask you to move forward and approve their bid so that they can make plans to begin with the study that’s required for the spring in order to get their permits necessary to begin the work.”
District 3 Magistrate Scott Nab questioned whether there was anything else the county could get out of the bid process in terms of income. “The only thing that increases the bid is if you have competition, and there wasn’t any competition,” Nab noted.
Baxter said Nugent did increase the minimum value of its contract per year and that the county is getting two sources of income: from the minerals that are mined and owned by the county and from taxes on those minerals which is about $100,000.
She also noted that Nugent last year made a $5 million investment in the county based on improvements at the company’s new docking facility. She said the hope is that the docking facility will lead to increased revenue for the business and therefore the county as new businesses use the facility.
“If we do not vote this sand and gravel bid in, we’re probably going to lose some revenue in the county,” Judge-Executive David Wilhoite said, recommending passage.
The court then voted to approve Nugent’s bid for the mineral rights and to dredge sand and gravel from the Ohio River bed controlled by the county.
In other business
• Wilhoite asked department heads giving reports to begin the practice of stepping up to the podium and speaking into the microphone at meetings. He also noted that Roger Phelps is working on how to properly record Fiscal Court meetings for viewing on the county’s webpage.
• Matt Adkins, director of government services, expressed the need to submit the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Survey mentioned at a previous meeting. The survey, located on the Fiscal Court website, allows anyone to voice their opinions about the county with the data and responses then used for planning purposes.
“This is single-handedly one of the most important documents that we can provide” to the residents of Carroll County, Adkins said.
• County Attorney Nick Marsh held the first readings of a Jail Arraignment Equipment Grant, a new Health Insurance Policy Ordinance and a Sick, Vacation and Personal Leave Policy Ordinance.
The next Fiscal Court meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.