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Extension fights back

By Greg Bird

The attorney for the McCreary County Extension Board has filed a complaint in the McCreary County Circuit Court asking the Court to block the Fiscal Court from further actions in dissolving the Board without providing a more detailed plan of action in how they intend to fulfill the obligations of the Extension Service.
Robert Waters, the attorney for the Board, filed the legal action Wednesday afternoon asking the Court to intercede and issue an order preventing the Fiscal Court from further actions until they comply with Kentucky Revised Statutes.
Magistrate Roger Phillips presented a “notice of dissolution” at last month’s Fiscal Court meeting, in an attempt to begin the second stage of the process to dissolve the Extension Board, and thus nullify any further taxes imposed by the taxing district.
The notice did not provide specific details of how the Fiscal Court intended to maintain operations of the Extension Service, merely stating: “We will accomplish these goals by funding these services at previous budget levels from the general fund of McCreary County Fiscal Court.”
Waters’ complaint claims the plan put forth by the Fiscal Court violates KRS 65A.050(2)(c), which requires a plan to include a description of how the services will be provided, a plan for satisfying any outstanding obligations of the entity to be dissolved, a plan for the transfer of assets and a date when the final dissolution is to take place. All of those details must also be presented in the form of an ordinance.
Since the legal filing came just before press deadline, the Voice was unable to learn if the Court granted the order prior to publication.
While the action does not end the Fiscal Court’s attempts to dissolve the Extension Board, it could delay it, as a new ordinance with the detailed plan would have to be drafted and presented for two readings if the Court grants the order.
A public hearing would also have to be held prior to any second reading of the ordinance. Following the passage of a dissolution plan, a third ordinance – actually dissolving the Board would be required, with two readings as well before becoming official.
The Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet tonight. While matters concerning the plan to dissolve the Extension Board was not included in the original draft of the agenda, it was likely that a date was to be set to hold a public hearing on the dissolution plan presented by the Fiscal Court last month.
With the legal filing possibly delaying action on the dissolution, it could cause further issues for both the Fiscal Court and Extension Board as both entities need to prepare a budget for the coming fiscal year. All budgets must be finalized and approved before June 30.
If the Fiscal Court is successful in dissolving the Board they would need to know what annual costs would be associated with operating the service in the future to include in their budget.
The Extension Board also needs to have a clear picture of their standing before they either prepare a budget or begin plans to close down and hand over operations to the Fiscal Court.
The Fiscal Court and Extension Board have been at odds since the Board elected to pass a 3.95 cent tax last year to compensate for a loss of funding from the Fiscal Court. The tax prompted members of the Fiscal Court to begin procedings to eliminate the Board.

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