• 68°

City approves first reading of budget

The Winchester Board of Commissioners approved the first reading of its $19.99 million budget Tuesday, with less than two weeks left in the fiscal year.

The final budget saw expenses increase from the draft budget by about $100,000, following two days of budget discussions in May. Revenue, projected at $17.84 million, was not changed.

The city is expected to have about $5.33 million available to carry over and cover the deficit, according to documents presented to the commissioners Tuesday. City Manager Matt Belcher said previously the carryover would cover the gap and leave the city in the black financially.

The 2019 budget, the 2019 compensation plan and an end-of-year budget amendment for fiscal year 2018 were all approved unanimously on first reading Tuesday. A second reading will be in a special meeting at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 28. State law requires cities and counties to approve budgets for the coming fiscal year by June 30, the last day of the current fiscal year.

The budget includes a 2 percent raise for all city employees but cut all out-of state travel (unless required for an employee’s duties), cut capital spending by nearly $1 million and the elimination of the city hall custodial position.

The biggest impact came from the pension and retirement changes approved by the Kentucky General Assembly earlier this year. Originally, the city was facing a $1.1 million increase in contributions to employee retirements. The cost was ultimately reduced to $320,000 and phased in over the next six years with annual increases.

All three matters were approved without discussion.

The city commissioners also approved the second reading of a revised sign ordinance which, among other things, removes language related to sign content, allows electronic billboards in certain areas of the county, regulates the size of campaign signs beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and requires signs to be removed from closed businesses.

Should the Clark County Fiscal Court approve a second reading of the ordinance, it will become law. The Clark County Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet Wednesday, June 27, at 9:30 a.m.

In other business, the commissioners:

— approved the fiscal year 2019 street paving program with Winchester Public Works, which includes 16 streets for $273,245.25.

— approved a contract with electrical inspector William Perry.

— reappointed Elizabeth Chalfant and Stephanie Roarx to the Winchester-Clark County Recreation, Tourism and Convention Commission for a three-year term.

— reappointed Jerry E. Fryer and Kerry Odle to the local codes appeal board for a three-year term.

— reappointed Humphrey Harrington to the Winchester Urban Renewal and Community Development Agency board for a four-yaer term.

— approved renewals for general liability, public officials, law enforcement, automobile, property, workers compensation and dental insurance.

— reappointed Tim Nance to the Winchester-Clark County Planning Commission for a four-year term.

— approved a standard agreement between the city and wrecker services.

— approved a 2 percent pay increase for crossing guards.

— approved the fire of Abagail Davis and Billy Leslie as patient transfer specialists at Winchester Fire-EMS.

— terminated the employment of Dwayne Fraley, city hall custodian.

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.

email author More by Whitney