Fiscal court given $15.96M county budget

Published 9:49 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

Clark County magistrates were presented with a proposed $15.96 million budget for the coming fiscal year, including $607,000 in mandatory retirement contributions.

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham told the Clark County Fiscal Court Wednesday that the state Department of Local Government told him to use the maximum for contributions, even though the Kentucky General Assembly approved a bill to phase those costs in over several years.

Municipalities are now required to pay 28.05 percent of an employee’s salary for non-hazardous retirement or 47.86 percent for hazardous.

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Covering the increase, Branham said, necessitated using all of the county’s “rainy day” fund, all of its capital outlay funds and part of the community foundation money. The budget was based on not increasing property taxes and dropping revenue from 911 surcharges, Branham wrote in a memo to court members.

The budget also includes increases for the magistrates who take office in 2019. The current court, of which all members are running for re-election, voted 5-2 in March to increase magistrates’ monthly salaries from $423.12 and $150 for expenses to $750 and $300 for expenses. The fiscal court is required to set the salaries for the incoming court before May. Branham said the increase will add $23,300 to the 2019 budget and $46,600 to following years.

Magistrate Robert Blanton, who championed the increase, said the amounts are still less than the seven magistrates earned in the 2006-10 term, before it switched to three commissioners for 2011-14 term. Blanton said previously it also brings salaries in line with other counties.

Since the last budget workshop meeting, more than $281,000 was cut from the budget including leases for new fire trucks, replacing the roof on fire station 1, hiring a custodian for the courthouse annex and leasing a new excavator.

The magistrates did not discuss the budget or expenses during Wednesday’s meeting. The first reading of the budget is scheduled for the May 11 meeting.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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