Soil conservation suit intact; awaits word on new budget

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – The Bullitt County Conservation District has filed suit against Bullitt Fiscal Court over its level of funding for the past year.

But recently, the attorney for the district remanded a motion seeking immediate action as the two parties were about to consider budget proposals for the next fiscal year.

Under law, the conservation district must submit its budget to fiscal court and there is an amount the agency is seeking from county government.

If the fiscal court disputes the budget and the amount being sought, it must list reasons for the disagreement and submit a suggested budget.

In the past, the conservation district has mentioned alternatives as being the county to allow a property tax to be imposed or there has been the threat of litigation.

Last year, the agency filed suit but no resolution has occurred in Bullitt Circuit Court.

Bullitt Fiscal Court was presented a check for $7,500 from a state grant it secured for the annual junk clean up day. That grant was approved because money was approved in the conservation district’s budget.

Under the 2013-14 budget, the conservation district has requested $108,984 from the county.

Administrator Cindy Badder said the agency has an audit done every five years by the state conservation officials.

The agency, which recently had to move to new quarters in Mount Washington due to the relocation of the Natural Resources District and the Farm Services agency, is eligible for state grants in areas such as dead animal removal and junk cleanup.

Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh inquired about the agency’s budget for meals and its library support.

Badder said the district provides the school libraries with videos on things such as conservation and environmental issues. Booklets are also provided.

The only meals are when directors attend meetings.

District president Spud Skidmore said the agency has been able to receive grants over the past few years, supplied free trees to 65 families and will educate about 300 students at a Farm Day observance.

A state loan assisted with the purchase of the new office facility, said Skidmore.

A question over the health insurance cost by Ashbaugh was explained as Badder said she is the lone employee and the $6,000 figure was for retirement. She does not receive health insurance.

Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts said that her budget, which will be presented to the magistrates in early May will suggest keeping the funding amount the same as this year — $75,000.

Bullitt Fiscal Court voted unanimously to take the matter under advisement.

The next meeting of Bullitt Fiscal Court will be on Tuesday, May 7, at 9:30 a.m. at the courthouse. The public is invited to attend.