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Court rejects budget proposal

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By William Carroll

The Spencer County Fiscal Court rejected the first reading of an ordinance pertaining to the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget by a 4-2 vote Monday. The vote came less than a week after a special meeting in which four magistrates discussed issues they had with the budget as presented.
During Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, County Judge Executive Bill Karrer presented a budget similar to the one he proposed two weeks ago with two differences. One is the addition of the $200,000 in funds anticipated as part of a loan through the Kentucky Association of Counties for the Taylorsville levee recertification project, the other is $3,330.32 in county road flex funds. Magistrate Woodie Cheek made a motion to approve the first reading of the amended budget, with Karrer providing the second in order to further discussion. Magistrates Hobert Judd, Mike Moody, David Goodlett and Jerry Davis voted against the first reading, with Judd asking for additional time to review the recent changes in the budget. The magistrates agreed to continue the meeting to May 29 at 7 p.m.
On May 13, the four magistrates who voted against the first reading of the budget met in an open meeting with Treasurer Doug Williams. At that time, the magistrates went through the budget and listed issues they wanted more detail on as well as cuts they believe are needed. The reason given by the magistrates during the special meeting for the proposed cuts was to keep funds on hand and limit expenses for the county.
Magistrate Mike Moody summed up his position during the special meeting, “My thoughts are we need to have discretionary spending as tight as possible. We can’t leave excess money in the budget. If it is in there it will be spent.”
Moody pointed out that the amount of cash on hand for the county has been significantly reduced in recent years.
“As of April 30 we have $938,000 in the general fund,” he said. “At this time last year we had $1.262 million which was $300,000 short from the previous year.”
Moody told the other three magistrates that he was concerned the county might run out of money if current spending continues.
Moody then proceeded to go through the budget to outline expenses he felt were excessive or unnecessary, which included a significant number of expenses relating to operation of the sheriff’s department.
The possible cuts were as follows:
• Reduction of funds appropriated for the rent on the county attorney’s building to be more in line with the costs.
• Removing $1,500 from the budget for county clerk fee indexing and reducing the county clerk’s training and mileage appropriation by $1,500.
• Possible reduction or removal of a $9,800 appropriation for the sheriff’s tax software system and upgrades.
• Reduction in funds appropriated for the sheriff’s ammunition, weapons, radar and video equipment. Magistrates asked why such expenditures would be necessary considering the amounts already expended for equipment.
• Reduction or removal of the $8,500 uniform allowance for the sheriff’s department.
• Possible reduction in the sheriff’s non hazardous salaries. Magistrates wondered who was being covered by this line item and whether the figure should be reduced substantially.
• Possible removal of the line item for a new sheriff’s vehicle. Currently set at $28,000. Magistrates questioned purchasing another new vehicle after two recent purchases of vehicles for the department.
• Suggested reduction in buildings and grounds maintenance currently set at $30,000.
The magistrates did not vote on any matters during the special meeting, they informally agreed to submit their issues to Karrer at the regularly scheduled meeting, however none of the magistrates submitted their issues during the regular meeting.
The magistrates agreed to renew the 911/dispatch services contract with the Kentucky State Police, contingent upon the city of Taylorsville contributing $12,000 to the agreement, by a vote of 5-1 with Karrer the lone no vote. Karrer had originally proposed that the court consider rebidding the contract. Davis said that the city of Taylorsville, Mount Eden Fire Department and the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Protection District were in favor of continuing with the KSP contract. The county had no direct commitment from the city to contribute to the contract but Davis said he believed the city would provide funds.
Steven Hume of the Spencer County Youth Baseball Association, requested the court approve allowing the association to build a fifth field at Ray Jewell Park. Hume said that the field would be built for the benefit softball players who currently play at Waterford Park.
“Waterford has become a soccer park and Ray Jewell the baseball park,” Hume said. “Softball does not feel they are part of the group playing in Waterford.”
Hume proposed the new field be placed in a large open area behind field three at Ray Jewell. Hume said that the area currently has some drainage issues which would need to be resolved prior to a field being built at the location.
Karrer wanted to know how the association would handle the already crowded parking situation at Ray Jewell. Hume suggested graveling in an area behind the playground, which he stated would hold up to 40 vehicles.
Magistrates took no action on the proposal and requested that Hume prepare a detailed drawing of the proposed field.
In other matters before the court.
• The magistrates unanimously approved the employee health insurance committee’s recommendations, which included: changing to Capstone as the administrator of the insurance plan, giving employees three health care options and modifying to county’s contribution to $425.00 per month and continuing other county benefits including dental, vision and life insurance plans.
• Karrer informed the court that the coroner’s van, which had been involved in an accident last month, was repaired. Karrer said that KACO paid out $5,410 for the damaged vehicle and the county used a portion of those funds to complete the repairs.
• Karrer gave the court additional updates regarding Breshears Creek Road falling into the creek. Karrer said that current estimates placed the repairs at $20,000.
• Magistrates unanimously approved amending the 2013-2014 budget to include additional receipts realized as part of the general fund.