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Legality called into question of Bullitt EDA

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - When formed in 1982, it was called the Industrial Development Authority.

Since that time, the agency was renamed the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority.

But county attorney Monica Robinson said she was having trouble finding out how and why the changes were made. Also, the entity has never filed required paperwork with the Kentucky secretary of state's office.

Plus, the 1982 ordinance setting up the authority is grossly outdated.

In a nutshell, Robinson "strongly" urged Bullitt Fiscal Court members to look at a new ordinance and to get the entity registered with the state.

The county attorney made her comments Tuesday to Bullitt Fiscal Court.

Her concern is that the members of the authority may not be protected in case of a lawsuit.

There had been some friction between the county's EDA membership and county government over the years. The agency, which is charged with creating jobs for the county, is an independent entity.

It receives over $100,000 annually from Bullitt Fiscal Court and also solicits private donations to support a full-time director, a part-time administrative assistant and marketing activities.

Robinson said the county finally received some budget and employment contract information. But she has been unable to receive things like a list of those who contribute to the organization and any contracts it might have.

Bob Fouts recently announced that he would not seek to renew his contract as director when it ends on Oct. 31, 2012. He declined to state any particular reasons other than it was the right time after nine years in the position. He followed Steve Wolfe.

After the formation in 1982, the agency met occasionally. It wasn't until Wolfe was hired in the late 1990s that the entity had a paid director and began to meet on a regular basis.

The board members are unpaid individuals from various parts of the county.

Robinson said she was concerned they might not have any protection.

In looking at surrounding counties, Robinson said she did find proper paperwork for Jefferson County, Nelson County and Oldham County in Frankfort. But a search of Bullitt County domains came up with nothing.

When the name change occurred, Robinson said nothing was altered in the ordinance.

Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh said the ordinance should be updated and the proper registration should be done in Frankfort.