Under the old board the airport was considered a special taxing district, or Special Purpose Government Entity (SPEG), and required to send regular financial information to the Department of Local Government.
The former board acted to implement a tax levy in July, with the stated purpose to finance the local match for a runway repaving project mostly funded by a grant from the FAA.
That action was blocked by an injunction filed by PVA Bruce Lominac, and the eventual dissolution of the board by the Fiscal Court.
County Attorney Conley Chaney stated he did not believe the board had the authority to levy a tax after speaking with a representative from the DLG, which reportedly was the same person who supposedly informed the former board chairman, Bruce Murphy, that they did have the power to do so. Chaney stated the former board may have been misunderstood or had been misinformed of their actual ability to levy a tax.
Chaney advised the Court that they could install a new board to oversee day-to-day operations of the airport. As long as the new board does not meet the criteria of a SPEG under Kentucky Revised Statutes, it would eliminate the need for monthly reports to the DLG.
Chaney asked for permission from the Fiscal Court to notify the DLG that the Airport Board had been officially dissolved, which would remove the reporting requirement.
Judge Executive Doug Stephens added he had been notified by DLG that many of the previous reports had not been filed, or had incomplete information. Stephens also said the FAA was also awaiting a report concerning the grant for the paving project, which is due by the end of the month. Deputy Judge Randy Jones stated he would be able to complete the report before the deadline.
Jones will also be given the task of gathering all financial records from the airport, as it now falls under the County’s direct control.
Further discussion about the implementation of a new board, to be considered an Advisory Board, will likely be held at the next Fiscal Court meeting in November.
Stephens further added the runway project is still ongoing, but work would not be able to begin until spring of next year due to the weather.
In other actions Thursday the Fiscal Court heard from Greg Copley of the Center for Applied Energy Research and Harry Carver from the Department of Local Government about the possibility of entering into a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract to reduce energy usage and utility costs at County-owned facilities.
The DLG has a program that will assist the County if they opt to participate, helping advertise the bid for a contract and providing assistance and guidance throughout the process.
Basically, if a company is chosen to provide a Guaranteed Energy Savings Contract, they will audit the County’s utility usage, and implement changes that will increase the efficiency and decrease the costs.
Items as big as replacing HVAC units, to as small as changing light bulbs to energy efficient models can be implemented. The company will provide a guaranteed level of savings each year, and if the County fails to reach that mark, the company will pay the difference.
The McCreary County School District is also considering a similar proposal.
The Court gave Judge Stephens approval to begin looking in to the possibility.
Carl Overton with the Telecom Audit Group gave a presentation to the Court regarding the possibility of using his service to potentially recover funds they may be overpaying through their telecommunications usage.
Overton said his company will research the County’s bills for phone and internet, to find any irregularities such as unused phone lines or mis-billing. He stated there would be no charge to the County unless there were refunds due, which his company would claim 50 percent of the refund, plus 50 percent of the expected savings over the next 18 months..
“You could be paying for things you shouldn’t be paying for,” Overton said.
The company is working with Pulaski County, Wayne County and the City of Monticello. The magistrates said they would speak to representatives from those governments to gain their input on the service and may consider using the company in the future.
Near the end of the meeting Magistrate Roger Phillips asked if there had been any plans to reintroduce an Economic Development position to help the County grow.
Judge Stephens said there were no definitive plans as of yet, but he would be willing to consider hiring an individual on a contract basis, as opposed to creating a position within the auspices of County Government.
Phillips said he thought that would be a wise choice, and wanted the position to include helping local citizens find employment through the use of job fairs and training.
No final decision was made, but discussion will continue at future meetings.
The Fiscal Court abolished the Economic Development Director position, then held by Susan Stephens, in August.
The McCreary County Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet again in regular session on November 12 at 6:00 p.m.