BROOKSVILLE – Budgets for 2018 were the hot topic at Bracken County Fiscal Court on Wednesday.
The Sheriff’s and County Clerk’s 2018 budgets were both discussed at the meeting.
According to Judge-Executive Earl Bush, Sheriff Howard Niemeier couldn’t make the meeting due to personal reasons. Bush said he wanted to wait to have a discussion with the sheriff before approving the budget, but said that the court could discuss the matter and table it until its next meeting.
“It [the 2017 budget] has to be approved no later than the Jan. 15,” Bush said. “That gives us an opportunity to not have to call a special session to approve the budget.”
According to Bush, the sheriff requested $145,000 from the court for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
“My recommendation is to lower that to $124,000,” Bush said. “I think it would be realistic to lower it to that amount.
According to Bush, the sheriff’s department requested $145,000 and received $142,250 from the court in 2017.
Bush said that in actual numbers, the sheriff’s department used around $142,000 in actual dollars in 2016.
Bush said that his recommendation would include looking at what the actual spending in 2017 was with the sheriff and to make a decision based on that.
The court also approved a revised budget for the County Clerk’s office, totaling $27,000 of court contributions to the office, down from $37,000 last year.
According to Bush, this is the third or fourth iteration of the county clerk’s budget in the process of finding a common ground. The salaries include a raise of 2 percent.
“I’ve worked for corporations and federal operations throughout the country and generally 2-5 percent is the only raise you’re going to hear of,” Magistrate Scotty Lippert said. “Five percent is pretty unlikely and 3 percent is about the average. I think we’re within the culture of the United States and what raises usually are. I don’t think we’re out of line here at all.”
Magistrate David Hughes said that the cost of payroll to the county is more than just an individual’s salary.
“What people don’t understand is if you pay people $10 or $12 an hour plus benefits, insurance and all the overhead with it you’re talking about $16 or $17 an hour it’s costing the taxpayers,” Hughes said. “In the future and especially with this pension blowing up, wages are going to have a tremendous impact on the county.”
Fiscal court also:
-- Reported a bond refund from the Judicial Center for a total of $332,000 of savings. Bracken County will be getting $32,000 of that back from the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, according to Bush.
-- Announced the intention to replace a Crown Victoria police interceptor with a new vehicle per the county’s Capital Improvement Plan. According to Bush, the money has already been budgeted.