Kay previews budget cuts; court approves 911 fee
Judge-Executive James Kay gave Woodford Fiscal Court a preview of his proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, saying his choices were painful but financially responsible. Fiscal year ‘21 begins July 1. Kay said with payroll taxes plummeting due to the COVID-19-related shutdown businesses, revenue projections show a decrease of nearly $2 million and that his budget will feature spending cuts and other savings of nearly $1 million. Kay said payroll and net profits taxes account for nearly half of county revenues. In a news release issued shortly before the meeting, he said nearly 2,000 county residents have filed for unemployment as a result of coronavirus-related closings and that the downturn will cost the county about $500,000 in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. Kay will present his proposed budget to the court for a first reading at the May 12 meeting with a final vote in June. 911 service fee passes The court became the third government in the county to unanimously pass an ordinance adding a 911 service fee to property tax bills in the unincorporated areas of the county. The action sets the stage for a new interlocal agreement between the county and two cities, the creation of a 911 Board, and the end of a $3.50 monthly fee on landline fees that once funded the entire 911 program. As an increasing number of people have “cut the cord” and only use cell phones, revenue from the landline fee has dropped in recent years, leaving the county and City of Versailles to pay program costs from their general budgets. (For the first time, the City of Midway will be a part of the 911 interlocal agreement, but residents of that city with landlines, like all county residents, are paying the $3.50 monthly fee.) The annual 911 service fee will be $59 for each residential address (including apartments); $59 for public service properties (including churches) and bourbon barrel warehouses; $118 for businesses with less than 50,000 square feet of gross floor space; $350 for businesses with more than 50,000 square feet of gross floor space; $225 for public school buildings; $540 for government buildings; and $1,350 for private universities. A public hearing to discuss the 911 service fee was held prior to the regular meeting. Energy efficiency down payment The court voted unanimously to allow Kay to make a down payment of between $425,000 and $475,629.40 to Perfection Group for the new HVAC system in the courthouse. Kay said last week, the boiler went out, and he’d like to get the system installed before the June primary election, as the courthouse is a precinct location. Treasurer Sabra Garmon said a May 13 bond hearing with the Department of Local Government should lead to favorable rates, and that money from the bonds should arrive in the first or second week of June. Polo Run The court voted unanimously for a motion directing County Attorney Alan George to draft an ordinance allowing the county to approve a zone change recommended by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission involving Polo Run subdivision. The zoning map amendment would allow 11 rural residential lots on 45 acres in the Troy Pike subdivision. Projecting signs The court unanimously approved an ordinance dealing with projecting signs recommended by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission. The ordinance allows wall signs of a maximum of 24 square feet and portable signs of a height not greater than five feet and width not greater than three feet less than 10 feet from the business door during business hours in B-1 districts. In B-2 districts, projecting signs with nine feet of clearance above the sidewalk and not more than five feet from the building will be allowed, with other limitations. It also amends present law to remove the outward limitation of projecting signs suspended from or supported by a building or similar structure. EMS The court voted unanimously to approve a $248.80 contract between Emergency Medical Services with Windstream for monthly cable, phone and high-speed Internet service. The court also unanimously approved a motion declaring an emergency in order to allow a vote on EMS Director Freeman Bailey’s request to pay Jack Kain Ford $41,000 for a 2020 Ford Expedition to replace one he said is rusting and unsafe to drive. That vote also passed 8 to 0. Salaries The court unanimously approved a motion freezing the salaries of the assistant county attorney and deputy coroner while the pay of other county employees is evaluated. Early in the meeting, a motion to approve the termination of a part-time county employee for COVID-19-related budget reasons passed unanimously. Kay said there may be more to come.