(Editor’s Note: The print version of this story states, incorrectly, that Mercer County was proclaimed “a second amendment sanctuary” due to the reporter being given the wrong version of the proclamation. This story has been changed to more accurately reflect the county’s actual proclamation as well as the vote of the Burgin City Council on Tuesday night.)
On Tuesday, the Mercer County Fiscal Court unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution declaring the county’s support for the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In the document, the court declared their intent “to oppose any infringement on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.” Similar resolutions were passed Monday night by the Harrodsburg City Commission and on Tuesday night by the Burgin City Council.
The resolution was sponsored by Mercer United, a group that, according to its Facebook page, has over 590 members. The group is for “Mercer County Kentucky residents who wish to defend our constitutional rights and better the community.”
Courtney Griffieth of Mercer United called the nonbinding resolution a “symbolic statement.”
Griffieth, a 22-year-old student at Eastern Kentucky University, said the group is concerned about several bills filed with the state legislature. At a meeting at Mercer County Public Library held last week, Griffieth said the laws have little chance of passing through Kentucky’s Republican-controlled state legislature. But she said it was necessary to send Frankfort and Washington D.C. a message.
“We don’t want any unconstitutional gun laws,” Griffieth said.
In 2006, the state legislature, which was Democratically controlled, passed a law that upholds the constitutional right to bear arms. However, Griffieth and other members of Mercer United argue that laws can be changed by passing another law.
“The motion passes unanimously,” said Judge-Executive Milward Dedman after the magistrates voted unanimously to approve the resolution. “Congratulations.”
Dedman also thanked Griffieth for her efforts in getting the resolution passed.
“You’ve been very professional about this,” he said. “I want to congratulate you on that.”
In other business, the Mercer County Fiscal Court:
• Approved the county clerk’s $5.2-million budget for 2020. The court also approved two measures related to deputies’ salaries. First they approved $329,000 from the clerk’s funds, which includes a 3-percent increase for 2020, including full-time wages overtime and other benefits. They also approved $683,023 for deputies’ salaries from the sheriff’s budget, which includes a 2-percent cost of living increase. Sheriff Ernie Kelty said his office hopes to hire another deputy this year. The magistrates also approved the sheriff’s $1.2-million budget for 2020.
• Approved closing Shaker Village and Mercer County siren accounts at Community Trust Bank. Both projects have been completed, Judge Dedman said.
• Gave second reading to a budget amendment. The magistrates also approved paying Boyle County Fiscal Court $14,795 for camera and jail operations. The will be reimbursed by a technology grant from the jail’s phone service provider and will be deducted from a future payment, as well as $6,000 for December and January administration fees and $47,250 for January 2020 jail operations. Also approved transferring $250,000 from payroll and net profit to jail fund.
In other business, Judge Dedman said requests for funds from the county’s 2021 budget are due by Friday, March 13.
The next meeting of the Mercer County Fiscal Court will be Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 10 a.m.