SHEPHERDSVILLE – With little discussion, Bullitt Fiscal Court members unanimously approved a $20.7 million budget, which goes into effect today.
The final plan differed slightly from county judge/executive Melanie Roberts’ proposal in May. However, one thing that didn’t change was pay raises slated for county employees.
“I am very thankful that the 50-cent raise for employees was kept in the budget,” said Roberts. “It is critical to look at ways to raise salaries even more, to raise the bar.”
Magistrate John Bradshaw, who worked with magistrates Joe Laswell and Robert Hunt on budget changes, said he was OK with the pay increases as the employees do deserve more money.
For the most part, county employees received the 50-cent per hour across-the-board increase.
However, deputy judge Lisa Craddock said that some employees did receive more. The EMTs and paramedics received a 75-cent per hour increase, in addition to the 50-cent increase.
Several other employees received more than the normal raise due to job duty changes.
“You’ve got to pay your employees a decent salary,” said Roberts.
Currently, a salary committee is meeting to look at possible changes to the current system. Previously, the committee recommended raising dispatch salaries, which fiscal court voted to approve.
The final budget also increased the funds appropriated to the county attorney’s office this year.
While short of the amount recommended by Roberts’ budget, the final version would appropriate $299,118 to the office. This is an increase of around $38,500.
Bradshaw said one of the uses for the additional money by county attorney Monica Robinson would be to hire an additional lawyer. He said the court members felt that was a request that should be funded.
In past budget presentations, Robinson mentioned the fact that her office was so shorthanded that it was difficult to have an attorney present to address concerns from anyone walking into the office.
The court members also added $25,000 to the office of Economic Development.
While there was additional spending in the budget, that also meant there were cuts.
The long-advocated positions of financial officer and planner were both cut from Roberts’ budget.
Also cut was one of two ambulances sought by EMS director Mike Phillips.
And dollars were cut from maintenance and the home incarceration program in the detention center.
Bradshaw said the court members did get a job description for a planner but had seen nothing on a financial officer.
While understanding the judge’s desire to fill both positions, Bradshaw said he wasn’t sold on either idea.
The Fourth District magistrate said he wanted to see job descriptions on each job and to list the qualifications needed for the winning candidate.
He could justify the planner’s position a little more at this time, said Bradshaw. But he wanted to wait until the planning consultant’s work on the land-use plan was a little further along.
Roberts said she was disappointed that those positions were not funded in the budget.
“They are needed or we wouldn’t have put them in the budget,” said Roberts.
With the added positions, Roberts felt the county would have another set of eyes on the budgetary issues and might avoid state sanctions.
Roberts even added the role of a human resources director down the road.
She will continue to push for the new positions and pledged to have job descriptions on the proposed offices.
In terms of the overall process, both Roberts and Bradshaw was much more pleased this year.
“I’d like to thank Lisa for all her work to get the budget ready to present,” said Roberts.
Bradshaw also complimented Craddock for working with the magistrates and for helping to make the changes possible.
The new budget, which could be amended at any time during the fiscal year, will go into effect on July 1.