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County budget reaches $22.7M

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Employees would see 50-cent per hour pay hike if budget approved

By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - A healthy county budget could get a little healthier in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts presented her budget to the magistrates on Friday with a 10 percent increase over the current year.

The total appropriations for the next year would be $22.7 million, as opposed to the current $20.7 million.

The first reading of the budget will be presented on May 20 with final adoption required by June 30.

During a brief special meeting, Roberts detailed some of her plans for the budget.

For county employees, the biggest news is another 50 cent pay increase. The increase would be across-the-board, according to Roberts.

“If we want good services, we have to pay our employees,” said Roberts.

Last year, 50-cent increases were given and some departments, such as Central Dispatch and EMS, saw salary hikes as a way to combat staff turnover.

A salary committee was appointed and met for a period of time but has not convened for the past six months. The last meetings were used to look at pay scales to include plans for a number of years into the future.

Once again, Roberts said she would include a finance officer and a planner in the budget.

The finance officer has been been proposed in the past seven budget proposals but has not been approved.

Roberts’ budget will include funding for three ambulance units. She said the current fleet is aging and she hopes the court will approve the funding for all three ambulances.

Also, in the emergency management arena, Roberts is proposing money for a radio tower in Hillview, warning sirens, heart monitors and generators.

There will also be funding for the county cleanup days, as well as tire amnesty day and a second year of household chemical disposal.

Funding for the Economic Development Authority would be increased to $200,000, an increase of $25,000.

Magistrate John Bradshaw said he didn’t know if the magistrates would propose their own budget, as occurred last year.

Roberts asked that any changes be turned in before the May 20 meeting.

The county judge praised deputy judge Lisa Craddock and county treasurer Kenann Sharp for their work on helping to prepare the budget.

In a comparison for the various departments, the general fund would increase from $9.7 million to $10.1 million.

The road fund would see an increase from $2.3 million to $2.6 in the current proposal.

Funding for the jail would increase from $3.5 million to $3.8 million in 2014-15.

The Local Government Economic Assistance fund will remain the same at $297,900.

And the federal grant fund will increase from $152,800 to $850,000, due to the Marvin Avenue/Big Valley sewer project. Roberts said there is no guarantee that would happen but the county has been approved for funding.

The EMS fund would increase from $3.6 million to $3.9 million.

The forest fire fund remains at $2,000.

And the dispatch funds will rise from $1 million to $1.08 million.

To pay for the expenditures, the county is expecting revenue to increase from $16.5 million this year to $18.6 million next year.

Big hikes in revenue are expected in distilled spirits (increase of $25,000), insurance tax premium (increase of $70,000 to $3 million), federal grants (increase of $275,000), building inspections (increase of $40,000), electrical inspections (increase of $25,000), state grants (increase of $715,000 for the sewer project) and state prisoner intact (increase of $175,000 to $610,000).

The carryover projected from the end of this fiscal year in June will be $4.1 million, just about the same as 2013-14.

Transfers into various departments from the general fund would increase to $5.39 million in the new budget, up from $4.6 million in the current budget.

A copy of the proposed budget is available in the county judge’s office.