Barren County Fiscal Court – Budget, jail business, and road resurfacing
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At the regularly scheduled March 17 meeting of Barren County Fiscal Court, the main topic of discussion was the proposed working budget.
“This is not written in stone, it’s the working budget. We’ve had ongoing issues with this. We need to settle it. To be honest with you, I’m just tired of dealing with it,” said Judge/Executive Michael Hale.
Hale commended Barren County treasurer Jenny Hoffman for her diligence and hard work on the proposed budget.
The main area of interest was capping payout for accumulated leave time and vacation for county employees.
“Putting a cap on things might make some people mad, but we are talking about the county’s money,” Hale said. “This is something we need to keep in mind moving forward with the budget. If we have to pay things like that out, we will be hurting,” he said.
Magistrate Trent Riddle questioned whether or not it would be fair to existing employees who had already accumulated such hours.
“Some of these people took lesser wages for those fringe benefits. I’m not sure if it’s right to change that. I don’t think it’s an issue for new hires,” Riddle said.
Judge Hale then clarified that he was only talking about from this point forward, with new employees.
Another area of the budget which was discussed – what is the line item that has been added to the working budget involving the custody of prisoners and the Barren County Correctional Facility.
“The county is responsible for housing inmates, but it has not been a line item for the jail up until now,” Hale said.
Unpaid jail bills were mentioned, and magistrate Coomer asked if they could garnish the checks of those who had jail bills, and it was determined that is not a possibility.
Another topic of discussion was the cost of a tilt skillet and a mixer for use in the jail.
“The mixer to fix it right now, $600 for the electrical board on it,” said Jailer Aaron Bennett.
The court inquired as to how much a new 40-quart mixer would cost. “Still waiting on actual price, almost $15,000 for a mixer,” Bennett said.
It was decided that they would prefer to fix the already owned mixer.
Bennett explained that he would like to have an additional tilt skillet on hand. “It’s the only cooking element we have. It would give us two cooking sources so that we have not so much strain and trying to get things done,” Bennett said.
“I would suggest that we use the new skillet that we’ve been gifted by the food company, send the rental skillet back if we need it again we can rent it. That would be my suggestion,” said Magistrate Riddle.
After much debate, everyone unanimously voted against purchasing the skillet now being rented.
Per the guidance of Justin Young and Blake Williams, the following projects will be undertaken in the coming fiscal year via the Rural Secondary Road Programs in the 2021-2022 fiscal year:
Resurfacing part of highway 1380, $132,900
Resurfacing part of highway 2134, $118,351
Resurfacing part of highway 255, $125,917
Preventive treatment on highway 1307, $239,608
Preventative treatment Highway 2207 $182,466
Flex funds of $309,901 will also be available for Fiscal Court to use as they see fit on projects they deem worthy.
A discussion was had regarding an upcoming training in Bowling Green for jail employees on all jail operations.
Bennett said that six people plan to attend, but according to court records only three were registered.
The cost of rooms for lodging we’re also discussed.
“I’m not going to vote for this, I don’t think that rooms are acceptable when we can drive back-and-forth,” said Judge Hale.
“I’m with the judge on this, I’m going to drive back-and-forth and save the money on this,” said Riddle.
“I am fine with not getting the rooms, right now it is me and two others for sure, we are trying to work it out for three others to also attend, depending on what’s going on here at the jail at that time,” said Bennett, who also said that as the time approaches there will be a more exact plan.