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County to get federal funds for COVID relief

By Greg Bird

In their final regular session of the fiscal year the McCreary County Fiscal Court received some welcome news that would help ease concerns over the next year’s budget.
The Court approved a resolution that allows the County to obtain funding through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Emergency Management Director Stephen McKinney stated the County was allotted $586,000 in funding, which can be used to pay for COVID-19 related expenses, including salaries for emergency responders.
McKinney stated the funds could be used to pay salaries for Ambulance Service, 911 Dispatch and Sheriff’s Deputies as well as the county portion of McKinney’s salary through December 31. The funding is retroactive to March, so the money spent on qualifying purchases and salaries would be reimbursed and could potentially be used elsewhere.
Once that funding is spent, the County can also tap into monies allotted through FEMA and the CARES Act, which also provides funds for salaries and expenses due to COVID-19 actions. Neither funding source can be used to recoup lost revenue, but will allow money budgeted toward salaries to be redirected.
“This will help with our tight budget,” Magistrate Roger Phillips stated.
The Court also heard from Wayne Conn with the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force, who presented some detail on what the special drug eradication agency has been doing in the county.
Conn, who took over the Director position last year, said he planned to provide Fiscal Courts in the three-county area covered by the task force with at least annual updates on actions taken by the group.
The LCADTF has one agent permanently assigned to McCreary County, Conn said, who is consistently conducting investigations and drug buys. With the McCreary County Fiscal Court contributing $6,600 annually to the force, the county gets more than $95,000 in services from the agent, and more when additional agents are used on cases.
Conn added a full-time ATF agent would soon be assigned to the task force, providing more resources and experience.
Conn said investigations take several months once initiated, but the task force had seized over $9,000 worth of illegal drugs over the past months despite being hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judge Executive Jimmie Greene informed the court that the county’s Alcohol Beverage Administrator Brenda Blevins had taken in over $4,600 in regulatory fees and $800 in new license fees for the month of May.
The Fiscal Court will reconvene for a special session on June 26 at 11 a.m. for the purpose of approving the final reading of the 2020/21 budget and awarding bids for services.

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