By Eugenia Jones
Due to a new statewide law mandating a 5% cap on the the regulatory fee paid by businesses selling alcohol, McCreary County government will receive less money from local alcohol sales. During the regular monthly meeting held earlier this month, members of Fiscal Court approved the first reading of an amendment to the County’s current ordinance regarding Alcohol Beverage Control. The amendment lowers the County’s current regulatory fee from 6 % to the state mandated cap of 5%. The change will be effective January 1, 2021. McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene said the county anticipates losing approximately $20,000 per year due to the lowering of the regulatory fee.
In other business, Fiscal Court members unanimously approved inserting an addition concerning Pandemic Procedures to the local Administrative Code. The procedures were crafted with input from the local health department and guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and basically require all County employees to follow all Health Department and Governor guidelines concerning health issues. The pandemic procedures address necessary precautions such as social distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands, etc. Earlier this month, the COVID-19 pandemic hit home for local officials when most County Road Department employees were forced to quarantine because of contact tracing related to an individual testing positive for the virus.
Fiscal Court also approved a salary increase of $1.11 per hour for all county road employees effective November 30, 2020. Funding for the salary increase will come from the reassignment of money already budgeted for a road department secretary. A secretary will not be hired since road department employees are currently doing the secretarial duties. Money designated for the secretary’s position will be used to fund the salary increase. Even with the salary increase for county road employees, County officials anticipate they will save money by not hiring a secretary since there will be no need to pay Health benefits for a new hire.
Per request of Sheriff Randy Waters, the Fiscal Court voted unanimously to move Greg Chaney and Aaron Tucker from part-time to full-time deputies with salaries paid by Fiscal Court General Fund. The County’s General Fund has been paying for four Sheriff’s deputies-three full-time in addition to the two part-time. By moving the two deputies from part-time to full-time, the Sheriff’s Department will now have a total of five paid deputies. Revenue generated from alcohol sales will fund a percentage of all the Deputies salaries.
In addition, Fiscal Court heard the following updates and approved the following actions.
-Approved hires and moves of EMS and Transport employees.
-Approved starting the bid process for refurbishing an ambulance.
-Approved road length change for Yancey/Strunk Cemetery Road. (addition of 340 ft.)
-Approved re-appointments of Randy Kidd and Bill Singleton to the Industrial Development Authority Board.
-Approved payments from incoming CDBG grant funds.
-The Tourism Director reported $2,557 collected in transient taxes for the month of October. Due to COVID-19, the Christmas parade has been cancelled; however, there will be a virtual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 5 at 8:00.
-Alcohol Beverage Control reports “Ray Mitch’s Spirits and Stuff” is opening in the former barbershop in Stearns. Dollar General at Stearns and Parkers Lake have applied to sell alcohol. Thus far in November, one new license fee has been collected from Cruz Steak House.
-The Road Department has been busy preparing for winter-working on the salt shed and spreading rock where needed.
The McCreary County Fiscal Court meets in regular session at 6:00 on the second Thursday of each month at the McCreary County Courthouse in Whitley City.