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County will start charging fees on bad checks, cards

Fiscal court votes to stop absorbing check, card fees

Letcher County will begin charging customers for returned checks and debit card overdrafts used to pay county garbage bills.

The fiscal court voted unanimously this week to levy the charges. Judge/Executive Terry Adams explained that most of the overdrafts came from returned checks for sanitation fees and debit charges for sanitation customers with autopay. The debit overdraft charges occur when a charge is entered on an account without sufficient funds to cover the fee and a small overdraft fee is automatically billed to the sanitation department, aside from the overdraft fee billed to the customer by the bank.

Adams said that the county doesn’t want to make excessive fees from the charges, but it does want to get back the money it is billed for the overdrafts.

The court also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs to provide space for a veterans affairs’ service representative to meet with veterans to help them with various issues including medical, PTSD, funding, and other issues.

The office will be located on the lower floor of the Courthouse Annex below the Sheriff ’s Department. The veterans’ representative will meet with veterans on the fourth Tuesday of every month between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Second District Magistrate Sherry Sexton reported on the Senior Citizens meeting that was held before the regular court meeting. Sexton said the Senior Citizens Department had served 502 meals in September, and served 52 that day. She also said that 14 senior citizens receive meals through Fed Ex, in a program where a 14-day supply of food is delivered directly to their home. She also said the Senior Citizens Center needs a computer work station to help seniors find important information online.

The Senior Citizens Halloween Party will be held on October 30 at the Letcher County Recreation Center. First District Magistrate Jack Banks added that the department has a program that pays caregivers 40 hours a week to take care of the elderly. October is Elderly Abuse Awareness Month.

Sexton reported that a School Safety Grant will provide $130,000 for a School Safety Coordinator and safety equipment. The grant is a joint effort between the fiscal court, the Kentucky River Area Development District, and Letcher County Schools.

The court welcomed Hannah Boggs, a junior at Letcher Central High, as the county school’s student representative. Jenkins Independent Schools will have a student representative on the court next semester. The student representatives can take part in discussions but cannot vote on court business.

The court voted unanimously to contract with Letcher County construction company Greg Hale LLC to repair damage done by bad weather at Morgan Lane on the Neon side of Rockhouse Mountain. Judge Adams said a state allocation of $120,000 will pay for most of the work, and that the county does not have the equipment that is necessary to do the job.

The court also voted unanimously to approve a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that will pay the balance on a new dump truck for the Letcher County Road Department. Insurance on the old truck, which was damaged on the job, will pay the rest.

With the help of the fiscal court, Letcher Fire and Rescue is getting back on its feet after a period of bad financial news. The court has already taken the first step toward securing funding for the Letcher Fire and Rescue Department by approving the first reading of an ordinance for a lease agreement to facilitate the repayment of $324,000 in loans that were entered into by the previous fire department administration. The lease will be administered by the Kentucky Association of Counties Leasing Trust. The second reading will take place at the next court meeting. The fire department already has the money and has paid off the original note, reducing the amount it has to pay each month.

Letcher Fire and Rescue Board member Harry Collins told the court this is the only lease it will have to enter into because the board has taken other steps to address repairs on the fire station. He added that the department raised over $3,500 in about five hours in a fundraiser it held recently. Collins said the board is meeting often and people in the department’s service area are putting their trust in the fire department.

Letcher County Jailer Burt Slone reported that the jail had a surprise inspection this month and mostly minor issues have to be fixed, such as a malfunctioning ice machine. He said the jail received a good rating on the inspection and he has a plan of action to address the issues that mostly concern minor repairs, although he said the hood system in the jail’s kitchen will have to be repaired or replaced. Slone said he has been able to pay a pharmacy technician out of receipts from Commissary Funds to make up inmates’ medicine. The jail usually houses approximately 135 inmates a month.

Judge Adams told the court the Letcher County Sheriff ’s department has been having Internet issues and said he had suggested the sheriff ’s department connect to the same broadband provider the offices in the courthouse use. It will cost $1,900 to expend service to the Courthouse Annex and the county can also connect the Emergency Management Department to it. Savings from including the departments in the county’s service will cover the cost of moving the line.

The court voted to appoint the Letcher County Emergency Management Director to the Regional 911 Board.

Bank balances for county agencies as of September 30

•General Fund: $622,154.11

•Road and Bridge Fund: $1,509,899.16

•Jail Fund: $68,681.70

•LGEA Fund: $561,066.84

•Senior Citizens Fund: $228.73

•Forestry Fund: $18,364.20

Total of all Funds: $2,770,394.74

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