Fiscal Court to tackle jail deficit at next meeting

With less than a month left in the fiscal year, the Clark County Detention Center is about $150,000 in the negative and may need another $50,000 to finish the year.

Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle said previously the jail has lost revenue from several sources, including other counties removing their prisoners and from the jail population being reduced for state prisoners as well.

During Wednesday’s Clark County Fiscal Court meeting, Judge-Executive Chris Pace said there were funds in the county budget to cover the deficit, but he was waiting for more information from Doyle.

Doyle later joined the online meeting and said the jail had $74,603 in pending bills and $65,669 for the coming payroll. Another $50,000, he said, would allow the facility to finish the year in the black.

“That’s unforeseen expenses,” Doyle said. “($200,000) is what we’re looking for.”

The court has discussed the deficit in the last couple meetings, but did not act for a lack of concrete numbers and information.

Later in the meeting, the magistrates voted 4-3 to postpone a transfer to the jail in hopes of making one transfer at the court’s next meeting to cover everything. While that would put some bills past 30 days due, Pace said, the court voted to pay the bills that will not cause a negative balance.

“I hope to get this handled at the next meeting,” Pace said, “one way or the other.”

Magistrates Travis Thompson, Robert Blanton and Joe Graham voted against the measure.

Later in the meeting, the court voted to spend $9,413 to conduct a study as a step for grant applications to fund a sewer extension along U.S. 60 in Clark County. The court had earmarked more than $100,000 in fiscal year 2020 budget for the U.S. corridor project, but had spent nothing, Pace said.

The county is looking at a couple of grant possibilities to help fund the project, Pace said, including several significant grants. Applications are due within the next couple of months, and he said officials with the Bluegrass Area Development District advised the study be included with the application.

The study would have to be performed anyway, he said, should the project move forward. Doing it now, he said, would make the county’s grant applications more “realistic and competitive.”

The motion was approved 6-1 with Thompson voting no. He said he would prefer voting after the public has the opportunity to comment.

In other action, the court:

— affirmed a plan for the City of Winchester to perform financial matters for Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation. Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said the department has contracted for financial services and audits, but bringing those into the city would save approximately $20,000 annually. No changes were made to the parks board or control of operations and programs.

— noted the indigent burial of Justin Handlon.

— approved an order to hire Autumn Asbury as a temporary part-time employee for sanitizing and cleaning courtrooms and associated facilities.

— approved a reimbursement agreement with the Administrative Office of the Courts for fiscal year 2021.

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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