By Eugenia Jones
McCreary County Fiscal Court met in regular session (December 9, 2021) and approved resolution 211209-1 regarding the adoption of a policy to engage financial and legal advice for the expenditure of McCreary County’s American Rescue Plan Act Recovery (ARPA) Funds. As a result, the program administration team of Compass Municipal Advisors, LLE (financial) and Stites and Harbison PLLC (legal) will be engaged to guide county officials in spending the COVID-19 related ARPA funds. Judge Greene noted all other counties in the Lake Cumberland District, with the exception of Russell County, hired Compass/Stites and Harbison for administrative assistance. (Russell County hired a different administration team.) McCreary County is the last county in the Lake Cumberland District to hire an administration team. McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene noted the ARPA funds are restricted in how they can be spent and that any ARPA funds spent on ineligible items/expenses must be paid back to the government. The funding is designated specifically for COVID-19 recovery, prevention and infrastructure. The Compass/Stites and Harbison team will receive 1.5% of the funding for their services to McCreary County. McCreary County has already received and set aside $1.6 million in a separate ARPA account with receipt of another $1.6 million expected in May 2022.
Additionally, Fiscal Court approved the first reading of Ordinance 410.3, regarding the amendment of current ordinance 410.2 (alcoholic beverage control related ordinance.) The most significant change to the ordinance is the addition of a 25% penalty if regulatory fees are not paid by merchants within ten days of the due date.
In other business, the Court:
-Approved hiring of EMTs.
-Approved beginning the bid process to refurbish EMS’s oldest ambulance.
-Approved the 2022 budgets for Sheriff and County Clerk offices. Approved annual orders setting maximum salaries for sheriff’s deputies and county clerk deputies.
-Approved paying Sheriff’s Department their share of GovDeal surplus sales, totaling $5, 343.
-Gave final approval amending membership of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) from eight members back to seven members. Accepted Jerry Stephen’s letter of resignation from IDA.
-Approved payment from CDBG grant for administrative services in the implementation of Marsh Creek HWY 92 waterline project.
The following updates and points of interest were included in the meeting.
-Judge Greene encouraged anyone who has fallen behind with utility, water, etc. bills due to COVID-19 to contact him at his office for assistance in getting help. Greene said there are numerous assistance programs related to COVID-19, and he is happy to help those in need contact possible sources of assistance.
Judge Greene also provided the following updates on future State HWY projects in McCreary County. The bid for the bridge over Rock Creek at the Old Fidelity-Bell Farm Road will be let in February 2022. Officials are awaiting the award for construction of a left turn lane at McCreary County Campus (let in November.) The bid for paving KY HWY 92 East (McCreary) was awarded to Hinkle. Completion of the project is expected during the summer of 2022.
-IDA Director Nathan Nevels noted McCreary County brought in $2,600 for improvements at the local airport during Air Attack 2-the most recent speed trial event hosted at the airport. Nevels noted 100 vehicles showed up to participate with proceeds going to the airport. Nevels also shared the County has made $112,000 from the latest GovDeal surplus auction.
-EMS Director Jimmy Barnett reported 911 dispatch fielded 1,029 calls in November. EMS made 418 runs in November.
-Tax Administrator Stephanie Taylor reported McCreary County collected $80,936.79 in occupation taxes during November. Disbursements (rounded) included: $26,979.00 (1/3) to the jail fund and $53,957.00 (2/3) to the General Fund.
-Tourism collected $3,358.65 in transient taxes (lodging taxes.)
-In preparation for winter, Road Department Supervisor Tony Kidd reported McCreary County now has 300 tons of salt on hand and repairs have been made to the salt spreader. Road crews installed 13 culverts during November. Both paving crews have finished current paving projects.
-County Attorney Austin Price warned dog owners to keep their dogs under control and to not let dogs run loose. There is an ordinance against dogs running loose. Price reminded dog owners that they are responsible for damages caused by their pets.
“If your dog is annoying your neighbor, just be a good neighbor and put your animal up,” Price said. “In addition to being a good neighbor, it is the law.”
-ABC Director Brenda Blevins reported McCreary County collected $8,550.59 in regulatory fees from local alcohol sales. Merchants took in $174,891.68.
Magistrate Roger Phillips said he had been getting complaints about the loss of television channels/stations since Charter bought out Access Cable. Phillips predicted a loss of customers if improvements aren’t made. Judge Greene noted he had received complaints about the recent loss of local and religious channels.
The McCreary County Fiscal Court meets in regular session each month on the second Thursday at 6:00 at the McCreary County Courthouse.