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Fiscal Court approves first reading of 2019 budget

The Clark County Fiscal Court approved first reading of the 2019 fiscal year budget 5-1, with magistrate Pam Blackburn absent, Wednesday. Magistrate Joe Graham cast the dissenting vote.

In April, the magistrates were presented with a proposed $15.96 million budget for the coming fiscal year.

The first reading was approved with only one change to increase the payment on the fire department’s breathing apparatus machine lease to $21,650. The payment total was previously budgeted incorrectly at $9,000.

The magistrates also talked briefly about the jail’s nearly $900,000 budget.

Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos said he was concerned about the jail’s budgeted transfer amount.

“They’ve done great job lowering what the responsibility of the county has been and we’re on pace to only need about $450,000 to $500,000 where we’ve already transferred in $600,000 this year,” he said. “I noticed the 2019 budget we’er looking at budgeted $896,000. Is there any way we can back down that transfer in number? Because they’re doing a great job bringing the revenue.”

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said the court could reduce the budgeted transfer-in amount, but he recommended what Jailer Frank Doyle was comfortable with.

“We believe, and he believes, that he’s budgeted his receipts conservatively and that’s what we encourage them to do,” Branham said. “Will he use the whole $896,000? Probably not. Just like this year, the fiscal court has the ultimate control of the transfer. But he feels more comfortable with that amount just in case there’s an issue.”

Branham noted that the jail’s smoke evacuation system has been written up in jail inspections and must be repaired or replaced.

“We still have that hanging over our head that we have to do something about,” he said. “I recommend we leave that number in the spirit of cooperation an because he feels comfortable there. The ultimate determination will be whatever is supported by the fiscal court anyway.”

Magistrate Greg Elkins suggested decreasing the jail’s budgeted transfer-in amount and leaving the difference in the general fund.

“We could use it then if we have to,” he said.

Branham said that move would leave the budget unbalanced.

“I agree, we will probably exceed the budgeted receipts,” Elkins said. “That $896,523 just concerns me. I puts us back up to that $900,000 we’ve been at so many years and we’ve worked so hard to get below this year. I think it looks like we’re getting back up to that.

The court approved the first reading with plans to continue discussions about the jail’s budget prior to the second reading, which must take place by June 30.

The Department of Local Government will also review the budget prior to the second reading. Any DLG adjustments must be approved by the court.

The court also revisited Wednesday a request to share the cost of an audit conducted at Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation.

In other business, the court:

— approved the second reading of an ordinance approving the change of zone classification for a tract of land at 106 McClure Road from agricultural to neighborhood business district.

— approved an order to reappoint Virginia S. Saunier to a four-year term on the Clark County Public Library Board of Trustees.

— approved three resolutions approving a Rural Secondary Program agreement between the fiscal court and the Commonwealth of Kentucky for bridge projects on Cabin Creek Road and Donaldson Road for $135,040 and Old Ruckerville Road for $62,500.

— accepted a petition from residents of Hidden Grove Lane requesting the street be adopted into the county road list and be maintained by the county. County Road Supervisor Kevin Wilson and County Attorney Brian Thomas said preliminary research indicated the properties located on the road might not meet requirements for adoption into the county road plan based on easement measurements.

— hired Kayla Kline as a full-time animal control officer at the Clark County Animal Shelter.

— hired Byron Robertson as a full-time animal control officer at the Clark County Animal Shelter.

— hired James Seals as a full-time kennel attendant at the Clark County Animal Shelter.

— hired Jade Wilson as a temporary kennel attendant at the Clark County Animal Shelter. 

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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