State of the county

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After nearly two months in office, Keith looks at the present and future

By Molly Haines

Owen County Judge-Executive Carolyn Keith, who has now been in office for a little less than two months, is setting her sights toward the future.

Keith said just about all aspects of the county – including budget, revenue, future industries and education – have positive aspects.

Keith said revenue in Owen County is expected to increase when the Kentucky American Water treatment plant is completed.

“The plant will bring in a great deal of revenue when it is finished,” Keith said. “The property tax is also a big help. Our revenue is pretty stable.”

The treatment plant is on the Owen County side of the Owen-Franklin county line along Hwy. 127.

Once the plant becomes fully operational, it will employ seven people. The project will bring Owen County $478,000 a year in property taxes.

Keith said although the United States is facing nationwide difficulties, Owen County’s budget is stable.

“Obviously everyone is having economic difficulties at this point,” Keith said. “We’re going to be OK though. We’re working hard on the budget right now.”

Keith said if there was one priority she felt the county government should zero in on, it would be improving the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

“We’re hoping to add two additional paramedics to our EMS,” Keith said. “Owen County is one of four counties in Kentucky that has not yet gone ALS (Advanced Life Support). I feel that should be a top priority.”

An ALS ambulance is one that is equipped with all of the supplies to care for a severely injured or ill person and has at least one paramedic and one EMT.

Keith said she is aware of the lack of jobs in Owen County and believes that adding a vocational school to the high school would help create more jobs within the county.

“A lot of industries that might look into coming here want an educated work force,” Keith said. “A vocational school is badly needed in order to create more jobs here.”

Keith said a vocational school would also aid students who may not work well in a traditional classroom setting.

“A lot of students are more hands-on,” Keith said. “They may not do so well in the classroom, but would absolutely flourish in a technical school.”

Keith said she would also like to see an expansion in entrepreneurship and tourism in Owen County.

“Tourism is our big thing,” Keith said. “We’re really excited about the U.S. Open Sporting Clay Championship that will be coming to Owen County in June.”

Keith said she will continue with Sweet Owen Days, which is held each year in September.

“It’s a tradition and a lot of fun,” Keith said.

Keith said she is excited about Owen County’s future and hopes everyone can work together to make the county a better place.

“I hope that we can work together,” Keith said. “I think that’s more vital than it’s ever been in the history of Owen County.”