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County’s budget includes $1.1 million increase in road fund

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By Stephen Lega

The Marion County Fiscal Court has approved a $15.89 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year. That is an increase of more than $1.2 million over the $14.61 million included in the 2013-14 budget.
The magistrates unanimously approved the second reading of the budget during their June 5 meeting.
The budget includes $6.67 million in the general fund, which is a slight decrease compared to the $6.68 million included in the 2013-14 budget.
The court budgeted nearly $3.4 million in the road fund for 2014-15, an increase over the $2.32 million in the 2013-14 budget.
The detention center budget was set at $4.35 million for 2014-15, which is an increase over the $4.25 million budgeted in 2013-14.
The LGEA fund is $185,100 for 2014-15, an increase over the $100,100 included in the 2013-14 budget.
The EMS fund is close to $1.16 million is 2014-15, which is up from $1.13 million is 2013-14.
The court has budgeted $19,750 for the Marion County Rescue Squad, $9,370 for the public properties fund, and $100,000 for the Natural Scenic Byways Program Fund. Those funds are identical to the current fiscal year, except that the Rescue Squad account has been increased by $25.
During the discussion of the budget, Magistrate John Arthur Elder III asked about employee base pay and employee evaluations.
Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly said the 2014-15 budget includes 3 percent raises for county employees.
The court is planning to hold further discussions regarding the base pay for employees and the employee evaluation progress.

E911 update
Judge Mattingly reported that the county received feedback from Windstream regarding the master street addressing guide.
According to Mattingly, the county’s MSAG showed more than 8,000 addresses did not match. Mattingly said this appeared to be an issue with coding.
“It shocked everybody involved,” he said.
Mattingly said the county’s addresses records appear to be correct, and they are trying to figure out where the error occurred.
When MSAG is at least 95 percent accurate, then the county will be able to start receiving cell phone fees to cover the costs of Enhanced 911 service.

In other business:
- The court approved a $30,000 transfer to the Marion County Detention Center. With this latest transfer, the county has provided $355,000 in funding for the detention center during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
In 2012-13, the county provided $80,000 in funding for the detention center, and during the seven years before that, the detention center was completely funded by its contracts to house prisoners for federal agencies, the state and neighboring counties.
On the other hand, the prisoner count at the detention center has been at or above capacity in the last few months, according to data from the Department of Corrections.
- Lynn Robey, the director of Central Kentucky Community Action reported that the agency has stabilized its financial situation and increased its revenue.
She said the agency figured out some changes in its transportation service, which resulted in revenue increases since March that add up to an estimated $240,000 per year.
She added that the agency has expanded its Kentucky Works program to 17 counties, which also means their budget for that has grown to $1.2 million per year. That program is intended to help people get off of welfare and back to work, Robey told the court.
- The court approved its county road aid agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for 2014-15. Under the agreement, $1.23 million has been designated for Marion County road aid for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
- The court approved a request from Donald Veatch to designate 265.38 acres of property as an agricultural district.
- The court approved paying recurring expenses during the 2014-15 fiscal year. This includes regular payments for things such as utilities bills.
- The court approved allowing Judge Mattingly to use $1,000 of his general welfare funds to help with transportation costs for the Feeding America program in Marion County.
- The court approved a bid of $1,250 from Joseph Ford to purchase a surplus Crown Victoria that is no longer being used by the detention center.
- The court approved advertising for employees for the Marion County Road Department. These employees will be working on the sanitation crews or road crews as they are needed.
- The court approved a request for a softball team to do litter abatement on up to four miles of county roads. The court also wanted to advise the public that this is an option to raise funds for various activities and organizations, although the could is hoping to spread those opportunities around to various groups.
- Magistrate Jackie Wicker asked if the animal control officer is supposed to respond to reports of a vicious animal.
Judge Mattingly replied that if an animal control call is not an emergency, then animal control officers do not have to respond after regular hours.
Magistrate Elder added that they will respond to a report of a vicious animal.
- Judge Mattingly reported that he anticipates the Marion County Board of Education will return $114,000 to the fiscal court. That is money the court had originally designated for the Marion County Area Technology Center.
As an alternative, the magistrates were in favor of drafting a memorandum of agreement to the Marion County Jobs Consortium, which has been working to replace equipment and development projects for tech center students.
“We get more bang for our buck,”  said Kenny Marrett of the jobs consortium.
As an example, he noted that he learned recently that the tech center needed to replace a part, but it had to pay more than $30 for it, while he could get it for closer to $8.
Marrett also reminded the court the Lebanon City Council recently agreed to raise the franchise fee for Kentucky Utility customers, and a third of the anticipated revenue increase (around $43,000) would be set aside to support technical education.
- Judge Mattingly also reported that the county has closed on the old Ken-Mar property, which will allow Communicare to turn the building into a new workshop for Marion County Industries.
- Judge Mattingly reported that he recently attended training regarding the reporting requirements for special districts under House Bill 1. Mattingly said this includes entities like the Marion County Public Library and the Marion County Extension District and fire departments.
He added that under the state law, if agencies don’t fulfill their requirements, then the state will purchase newspaper advertisements to publicly identify entities that are not in compliance.
- The court approved allowing Magistrate Larry Caldwell to give $1,000 from his community project fund to the Marion County High School football booster club.
Magistrate Jackie Wicker was approved to give the balance of his community project funds, $634.47  to Bradfordsville for work on its performing arts center.
The magistrates and Judge Mattingly gave a combined $4,281 to the various local fire departments for the Crusade for Children.
Magistrate Elder also gave $1,500 toward the Marion County Head Start program.
- Sheriff Jimmy Clements reported that his office has noticed some leaks during heavier rains around some windows and doors in the David R. Hourigan Government Building. The magistrates agreed to ask the maintenance staff to identify problem areas throughout the building.