Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting was a victim of imperfect technology relied upon during the coronavirus, and the meeting was delayed after Facebook live, Zoom and rural broadband did not cooperate.
The meeting was moved from the fiscal court’s Facebook page to the personal page of County Judge Gale Cowan and business was finally conducted.
Magistrates Daryl Flatt, Chris Reeder, Greg Caldwell and Sammy Baker attended via teleconferencing while Harold Burton, Terry Hadley and Judge Cowan attended the meeting from the courthouse annex basement. Billy Coffey did not attend.
The court split on a vote to transfer funds for the jail, putting the jail $40,000 over budget for the fiscal year.
Magistrate Daryl Flatt has said for months he would not approve allowing the jail more than the $652,000 already budgeted. On Tuesday, treasurer Melinda Quinn asked for permission to transfer the remaining balance already budgeted plus an additional $40,000 into the jail fund.
All magistrates attending the meeting approved a motion to fully fund the $652,000, but Flatt and Chris Reeder voted against transferring the additional $40,000. Flatt and Reeder sit on the court’s budget committee.
Flatt said he has asked for a couple of years for Jailer Joey White to change his scheduling to reduce overtime.
“I think he changed it last month but in my opinion it’s just a little bit too late,” Flatt said.
Judge Cowan said she believed the court would have to approve the additional funds in order for the county to pay its bills.
Caldwell, Baker, Burton and Hadley voted yes while Flatt and Reeder voted no. The motion was approved.
Jailer White had attended the meeting via teleconferencing from the jail but left the meeting as EMS was called to the jail for an inmate suffering a possible heart attack. When he returned to the meeting, the vote had already taken place.
TIGHT BUDGET APPROVED
The fiscal court gave first reading to a $6.38 million budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Judge Cowan said she and Quinn met with the budget committee several times “and we cut out about everything we know to cut to get us a balance.”
Flatt said the budget is extremely tight and everyone will have to adhere to it very closely to get it to work. A part-time position for parks and recreation is eliminated in the budget, with the duties being taken over by the custodian at the annex. Flatt said that move would save around $12,000 a year.
The proposed budget includes just over $645,000 for the jail from the general fund, more than $6,000 less than what was approved in the current budget, not including the additional $40,000 approved Tuesday.
All magistrates voted to approve first reading of the proposed budget.
During a phone interview, Judge Cowan said her office is checking the budget daily and no purchases are authorized unless they are absolutely necessary.
“Every year it gets a little tighter and tighter,” she said.
The 2020-21 budget does include small increases in revenue from a 911 surcharge the county voted to have added to water bills and an increase in the amount charged to other counties for housing their inmates at the regional jail.
FIRE DUES ORDINANCE APPROVED
Second reading was approved for an ordinance amendment allowing the county fire department to add annual dues to tax bills. The volunteer department didn’t participate last year when the Breeding and Knifley departments received approval to have their dues collected with tax bills but have now asked to be added to the process.
Dues for each department are $25 per deed with a maximum of $75. Landowners must request to opt out of paying the dues prior to payment by obtaining a form at the county judge’s office. Non-members will be charged $500 if a fire department is called to their property or $250 if a department is called for an illegal burn.
Magistrate Flatt abstained from the vote because he is a member of the fire department.
The court discussed the recycling center and if the county will be able to reopen it. The county relies on help from inmates to operate the facility and inmates are not currently allowed to work outside of the jail.
Magistrates and Judge Cowan agreed to try to hire a seasonal employee who could help operate the facility so that it could be reopened.
The court approved hiring Kyle Cundiff as a road department employee at $9.60 per hour. Magistrates also approved a right-of-way to allow waterlines on Anderson Road.
They gave Jailer White permission to hire a former employee back at the pay he was making when he resigned instead of being paid at the rate of a new employee.
The court approved second reading to remove Raccoon Walk from county maintenance and to place a 25 mph speed limit on Sulphur Creek Road.
The county will have a surplus property auction on Friday, June 12 at 4:30 p.m. at 971 Campbellsville Rd. Items may be viewed at the auction location from noon until 2 p.m. Thursday, June 11 and from noon until the auction begins on June 12.
By Sharon Burton