By Greg Bird
Two bills currently in the Kentucky legislature could bring additional economic development funding for McCreary County if passed by both chambers and signed in to law by Governor Matt Bevin.
House Bill 144 and Senate Bill 9, both introduced to the legislature this session are identical bills and would amend KRS 96.895, a current law dealing with Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in lieu of tax payments to counties.
The bills, if passed and ratified, would create a pool of about $6 million that would be divided among 39 counties to be designated for economic development.
The current law stipulates the in lieu of tax payments from the TVA is divided with 70 percent going to the 39 counties serviced by the utility, with the remaining 30 percent assigned to the State’s General Fund. The amendment would further divide the State’s portion by half, creating a special fund that would be disbursed among counties to be used for economic development.
In order to obtain a share of the funding from the Regional Development Agency Assistance Fund each Fiscal Court would have to designate an agency in the county to receive the payment. The agency must use the funds for economic development and job creation, and can also leverage the money to serve as a local match for federal, state or private matching funds.
If all 39 counties in the TVA service area participate in the fund they could possibly get approximately $150,000 annually from the program.
McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens stated he is aware of the pending legislation and is eagerly following developments.
Both Representative Ken Upchurch and Senator Max Wise are listed as cosponsors for the respective bills.
Both bills have been assigned to the Appropriations and Revenue Committees of both chambers, but no hearings on either have been scheduled as of yet.