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Fiscal Court approves up to $2,000 maximum COVID pay and ‘22/23 budget

McCreary County Farmer’s Market addresses Court

By Eugenia Jones

In their June 9th regular meeting, McCreary County Fiscal Court approved the second reading and granted final approval (with no changes from May’s first reading) to the 2022/23 County Budget.  The budget was approved unanimously on a motion from Magistrate Bill Hale, seconded by Magistrate Roger Phillips.  Fiscal Court also approved the 1st reading of Budget Amendment #6 adding the second and final round of American Rescue Plan Act funding in the amount of $1, 673,460 to the 2021/22 budget.  

Additionally, acting on a motion by Magistrate Phillips, seconded by Magistrate Bobby Strunk, Fiscal Court unanimously approved paying premium pay to employees for work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  All full and part-time employees (excluding elected officials) will receive an additional $5.00 per hour for a maximum amount of $2,000.  The premium pay will be prorated according to hours worked from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  Premium pay monies are authorized under ARPA, and all employees who receive premium pay must be current employees of the County.

In other business, Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene shared public input from the County Road Aid/LGEA fund budget hearing.  The only public input came from Jackie Taylor who requested road repairs for the Murray Cemetery Road in Strunk, KY.  Judge Greene said these repairs will be handled by the County Road Department.

Fiscal Court approved several EMS hires plus one seasonal litter abatement and lawn care worker.  Fiscal Court also approved re-appointment of Geraldine Laxton as Treasurer, re-appointment of Kathy Dishman to the West McCreary Fire Protection District Board of Trustees, and appointed Sam Strunk and Shaler Jones to the McCreary County Industrial Development Authority Board.  Strunk will fill the remainder of Randy Kidd’s term, and Jones will fill the remainder of Boris Haynes’ term.

In other business, EMS Director Jimmy Barnett updated the Court on the construction of an EMS garage bay to house all ambulances.

During public comment, Fiscal Court heard from two groups-Ray Moncrief representing the McCreary County Heritage Foundation and Sharon Spencer/Larry King on behalf of the McCreary County Farmer’s Market.  Spencer represents the KY Department of Agriculture.

Both speakers for the McCreary County Farmer’s Market expressed their desire to see a new space for the local farmer’s market.  In addition to the market providing fresh, locally grown food, both speakers stressed the important role a market plays in supporting the local community and economy.  Spencer noted the rapid growth in recent years of farmer’s markets throughout KY.  Members of the McCreary County Farmer’s Market are actively seeking a grant to build or buy a new market and previously asked Fiscal Court to appropriate funds for the project from funding the County received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

In representing the McCreary County Heritage Foundation, Chairperson Ray Moncrief requested the Fiscal Court sign as a co-applicant for an EDA grant submitted by the Foundation.  The grant seeks funding for restoration of the administration building (museum) and Stores 1 & 3 in downtown Stearns.

Fiscal Court voted unanimously to be a co-applicant on the grant application with the provision there be no financial obligation to them, committing only to manage and administer the grant (if awarded) in the event the Foundation becomes unable to carry out the project.

Before adjourning, Fiscal Court heard updates from department heads and set a special called meeting date of Friday, June 24, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. 

Highlights of the 2022/23 Fiscal Budget

The 2022-2023 budget for McCreary County totals $12,749,853.66.  Of the more than $12 million budget, sixty-five percent ($8,354,966.90) is budgeted for the General Fund which covers salaries and operational costs associated with several county offices and amenities including the offices of Judge Executive, County Attorney, County Clerk, Sheriff (deputies), Economic Development/Tourism, Parks & Recreation, and Coroner.  The General Fund also pays for costs associated with county elections, courthouse operations, the McCreary County Airport, and services such as solid waste, animal control, constables, ambulance service (including salaries, medical supplies, petroleum, etc.), and 911 dispatch.

General Fund revenue is brought in through a variety of avenues including property, motor vehicle, and franchise taxes/fees, alcohol sales tax and license fees ($116,000), transient taxes ($15,000), parks and recreation fees ($19,000), and ambulance service user fees ($1,750,000.00).  Revenue for the 2022-23 general fund also benefits from $2,300,000 of surplus from last year’s budget and a total of $2,971,710.00 in anticipated transfers of funds from the Occupation Tax Fund and the Federal ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Grant fund.  In addition, general fund revenue includes funds received from reimbursements, excess fees, government payments, and other miscellaneous payments.

Other expenses anticipated in this year’s budget include a total of $2,513,630.76 (19.71%) appropriated to the County Road Fund.  The Jail Fund receives a total of $1,398,418.00 (10.97%) with $167,550 (1.31%) designated to the revolving loan fund.  The Ambulance Equipment Fund is budgeted to receive a total of $144,260 (1.13%). Remaining appropriations for the 22-23 budget are those receiving less than 1% of the total budget including the L.G.E.A. Fund, Utility Assistance Fund, Grant Fund, and Clerk Storage Fees

Representing the McCreary County Farmers Market, presenters addressed the McCreary County Fiscal Court during the June court meeting.

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