Skip to content

Fiscal Court tables pay raises, 911 center bids

Budget concerns prompted Magistrate Roger Phillips and the Fiscal Court to table several items last week, including awarding a bid to relocate the McCreary County 911 Dispatch Center and a possible new salary schedule with mccreary 911tenure-based wage increases.
The first questioned expense came when the Court discussed awarding a bid for moving the dispatch center into the basement of the renovated Ambulance Service building.
Judge Stephens was granted permission to seek estimates in last month’s meeting, but Magistrate Phillips, who was unable to attend that session, questioned taking on an additional debt with the county in financial difficulties at the moment.
Two bids were received, with the lowest estimate coming in at $50,000. Last month, Judge Stephens asked the Fiscal Court for permission to seek bids for the move, with a cap of up to $100,000.
Judge Stephens recommended tabling any decision on awarding the bid to allow time to examine both offers, but Magistrate Roger Phillips voiced his disapproval of the action, considering the expense and the fact that the Fiscal Court spent money to repair the old building in the recent past.
Phillips said he would understand the move if the current facility was unsound, but stated he had been informed the County planned to convert the old building into office space once 911 moved.
With parking already an issue, Phillips said moving the dispatch center and not tearing down the old building would create other issues.
Judge Stephens said the move would allow 911 to be contained in a secure location. It would also free up space in the old building, which could be converted for offices for Jailer, Coroner and Transport Officers.
Deputy Judge Andrew Powell stated moving the 911center at this time would be the most prudent since installing the system along with new wiring would be easier in a new location, instead of having to install over the existing equipment. The cost of installing the new equipment would be included in the grant funding received to pay for the equipment, but if they decided to move the system at a later date it would cost upwards of $25,000.
Powell also added once the 911 center moved and turned on the new system the County would save about $1,000 a month, which would nearly cover the expected annual payment on a loan.
Additionally, he noted, with the inclusion of cellular phone tax revenue now coming to the county, 911 is practically self-sustaining and doesn’t need as much help from the General Fund as before – freeing up that money to be used elsewhere.
Both Phillips and Magistrate Jason Mann maintained they had issues with the costs and wondered if 911 would continue to operate on its on revenues.
“I can’t see going into debt,” Phillips said, suggesting waiting until funding was available. “We can’t borrow money on a hope.”
The Court also tabled a decision to install new sidewalks in Stearns, part of Judge Stephens’ county-wide sidewalk renovation plans.
The County received one bid for $3,600 to install about 350 feet of new sidewalks in Stearns, near where the Trail Town trailhead would be located.
Phillips asked why Stearns would get the first sidewalks, over Whitley City and other areas where the walkways are in disrepair. Judge Stephens stated Stearns was the first part of the two-fold project. First, it would coincide with the Trail Town initiative – slated for October. Second, it would allow county officials to get a better idea on costs for future sidewalk repair.
Magistrate Frankie Ball asked to table the issue, stating he wanted to closer examine the bid as it seemed high to him.
Finances led to another discussion, this time over a proposed salary increase for county employees.
The topic was first discussed in June when it was noted employees have not had a cost of living increase in over four years, and the county’s salary rate schedule does not reward longevity.
Deputy Judge Andrew Powell put together three possible options for the proposed rate schedule, but it was tabled for further discussion.
The first possible option would be to establish new pay scales for each department, including an entry-level wage, with increases available for reaching new skill levels through training. It also would include annual salary increases for 1, 5, 10, 15 and 20-year benchmarks in employment.
If adopted, this option would cost the County an estimated additional $104,766 per year.
Plan B would provide all non-elected employees a tenure based raise based on length of employment. After one year of working an employee would receive a 15- cent per hour increase. After five years the raise would be 25 cents, 50 cents after 10 years, 75 cents after 15 years, and a $1 raise after 20 years.
The estimated cost to the County would be $48,620 if implemented.
The third, and least costly option would be to implement a 2-percent raise across the board for all County employees, regardless of tenure or skill level. Plan C would cost the County an estimated $26,989.
The estimated cost of all three plans does not include any fringe benefit increases that would probably increase the overall cost by 50 percent.
Magistrate Mann asked if the rate increase could be implemented without having to raise taxes to pay for it.
“I think they are well overdue,” he said. “We just need to go about it in the right way.”
The Court did agree to accept a bid to remount an ambulance for McCreary County EMS. Four bids were received, with the Court approving to accept the lowest offer – $78,400 from Peach State of Tyrone Georgia.
The project will be very similar to the last ambulance remount, where the company will take an existing box off an old unit – refurbish it and mount it on a new chassis and with a new engine.
Last year the Court approved taking $5,000 per month out of fees collected by the ambulance service to place in a special fund to pay for new units.
Remounting an ambulance is significantly less expensive than purchasing a new ambulance.
In other Fiscal Court actions Thursday: the Court approved the 2013 local tax Settlement from Sheriff Gus Skinner. The Sheriff noted 93 percent of property taxes were collected this past year, along with 95 percent of tangible taxes.
The Court also approved to allow the Sheriff to surplus two vehicles, which came through property forfeiture.
The Court approved an action to solicit bids to replace Bridge No. 19 at Bell Farm. The bridge has fallen into disrepair and the project will be completed with an 80 percent match from the Kentucky Department of Transportation.
The meeting concluded with a 33-minute executive session to discuss a personnel matter. No actions were taken during the session.

Leave a Comment