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.”

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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.

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