Cuts proposed in bigger budget

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EMS, dispatch budgets to take hits in proposal

By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Even in tough economic times, the projected budget for Bullitt County government in the next fiscal year is projected to grow to over 18.9 million.

That is an increase of over $800,000 from Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts’ proposed budget in April.

However, at least one magistrate isn’t convinced that the final version to be voted upon on June 21 won’t have a lot of cuts.

Bullitt Fiscal Court met briefly on Tuesday to hold the first reading on the proposed 2011-12 budget. Changes can be made up until the final version is approved, which must be done prior to June 30.

Although the budget spending grew due to a couple of renovation projects, major cuts were proposed in the areas of emergency medical services and dispatch.

The EMS fund decreased by around $180,000 from the original proposal. Most of that cut fell in the area of salaries for paramedics and EMTs. The new version cuts about $115,000.

In the area of dispatch, the budget proposal cuts $30,000 in dispatcher salaries and another $100,000 in the purchase of CAD upgrades.

Deputy judge Lisa Craddock and Roberts said the decrease in line items for those two departments were from direction offered by the magistrates.

They didn’t know of any personnel changes; the only direction was to change the budget figures.

Mike Phillips, director of EMS, Central Dispatch and Emergency Management Agency, said he did not know the actual cuts until the first reading was presented.

During an earlier budget meeting, magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh was concerned about the amount of overtime hours paid in EMS.

Phillips said he has tried to address the differences between the current 12-hour shifts and if he went back to more standard eight-hour shifts.

“It’s hard to explain and I haven’t done a good job at it,” said Phillips.

Once he knows the actual budget figure he needs to reach, Phillips said he could plan for what, if any, changes would be needed.

In the dispatch center, cuts like this would mean a position.

Updating the equipment for improved CAD software is not critical and it is something that could be done later if revenues improve.

A portion of the increases in the budget relate to renovation projects for the third floor of the courthouse and improvements on the annex building.

The courthouse space would accommodate the commonwealth attorney’s office and other county offices, which would also allow the county attorney to expand.

The renovations on the annex building include roofwork and heating and air conditioning. That work is part of a grant program, according to Craddock.

Following the short meeting, Laswell said the county couldn’t spend more money that it would realistically expect to receive. He expected changes to be made prior to the final approval.

The next meeting of Bullitt Fiscal Court will be on Tuesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.