• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

Court approves extending MTB tax break

MEMBERS OF BOY SCOUT TROOP 14 held a decommissioning ceremony for 45 flags that were dropped off at the county courthouse since mid-June. Scout Master Don Hawkins said at their next meeting involving fire, the blue field and stripes will be removed from the flags and they’ll be “respectfully retired.” From left are Don Hawkins, James Hawkins, Landon Oxley, A.J. Russell, Aaron Standley and Nathan Jackson. (Photo by John McGary)

Woodford Fiscal Court Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution extending a .5 percent payroll tax break for More Than A Bakery as the company plans to hire an additional 35 full-time workers.

The Versailles City Council passed a verbal resolution to that effect last week, and is expected to make it official at its meeting next week.

At the Nov. 6 council meeting, Woodford Economic Development Authority Chair John Soper said the company will increase its total investment from $57.1 million to $77.1 million, fulltime jobs from 310 to 345, and average hourly compensation from $22 to $24 per hour.

The resolution passed by the court modifies a 2016 resolution allowing the company to keep .5 percent of the 1.5 percent payroll tax paid to the county for a period of 10 years. The tax break, which is contingent on meeting hiring goals, could begin in March 2020.

$7 million target

Treasurer Sabra Garmon began the meeting by announcing a healthy monthly budget balance: $6,852,520.68, well above the balance this time last year. More than $1.2 million of that is from a recent property tax payment from the sheriff’s department, she said.

Garmon told the court that Judge-Executive John Coyle wants to have a $7 million balance when he leaves office at the end of the year, and advised magistrates and department heads to “Just say no” on spending.

Coyle jokingly thanked her for her editorial – and the good report.

The next department head to speak was EMS Director Freeman Bailey, who rather sheepishly asked the court’s approval to seek bids on new heart monitors for ambulances. A motion to that effect passed 8 to 0.

Emergency Management

Woodford Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler also asked the court for money, and the debate over which line item the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe should come from took up several minutes. County governments must operate under a 65-35 rule, which prevents them from spending more than 65 percent of their budget during the first six months of the fiscal year, which begins July 1. Magistrates Duncan Gardiner (Dist. 6), Gerald Dotson (Dist. 5), Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) and Ken Reed (Dist. 4) asked a variety of questions about the three vehicles belonging to the EM department and other matters.

Chandler said all three vehicles have more than 125,000 miles on them and are all “hand-me-downs” from other governmental entities.

He said a state grant would reimburse the county for half of the $43,186.28 state-contracted cost of the truck and emergency equipment.

After about 15 minutes, Reed made a motion to allow Chandler to buy the vehicle if Garman determines the purchase won’t push the state grants line item past 65 percent. Penalties for violating the 65-35 rule, which is designed to prevent politicians from spending heavily before November elections, are steep, and can involve jail time.

Chandler also reported that the Kentucky Emergency Management division has awarded a $30,880 performance grant to his department, which will pay part of the salaries for him and his three deputies.

Zone change

The court heard first reading of a zone change from A-1 (agricultural) to A-4 (small community) for a 2.142-acre tract off Clifton Road. The measure was recommended by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission.

Election battle?

At the end of the meeting, County Attorney Alan George told the court that a qualified write-in candidate for the 5th District constable position told him he’d written his name on the ballot, but election officials told him the machine did not show his signature.

The candidate, whom George did not name, can file for a recount and if so, must post a bond with Woodford Circuit Court. The matter shouldn’t affect the Nov. 19 certification of county races, George said.

The position of constable is unpaid.

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