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Fiscal court accepts $982,342 in COVID funds into budget


The Letcher County Fiscal Court approved a budget amendment this week that will allow it to accept $982,342 from the Federal Grants COVID Relief Fund.

The money is to reimburse the county for money it has already had to spend as a result of COVID-19. In addition, the county is expecting to receive $4 million as part of the American Rescue Act, which was approved by Congress in March.

The relief fund is to make up for money expended and revenue lost as a result of the pandemic. The money from the American Rescue Act is intended to stimulate the economy.

In other business, the court has asked the Letcher County Broadband Board to examine proposals that are the result of a request for proposals that was prepared by the Kentucky River Area Development District to provide countywide broadband coverage. At the May meeting, board members said they had just received the documents back from KRADD the day of the meeting and had not had time to properly examine it. Judge/Executive Terry Adams said the board will determine who gets the bid.

Fiscal Court members also voted to accept the draft of the Dig Once Policy. The policy results from a plan the Broadband Board submitted to allow it to include its own conduit with county water lines as they are being installed. The Dig Once policy will save money by laying the conduit as the lines are dug and save additional money by avoiding fees to hang lines on already installed electrical poles.

The court voted unanimously for County Attorney Jamie Hatton to join other municipalities in settling a lawsuit against major pharmaceutical companies that made and sold opiates including in Letcher County. Hatton said the suit will be settled by June 30 and he expects the county to recoup some of the money the opiate crisis has cost the county.

In addition, the court took the following actions at the meeting:

• Learned that Letcher County will host another Road Rally on county side roads this August. The rally will run along the full length of the Little Shepherd Trail and the Southeast Haul Road, and on Defeated Creek Road from Highway 1103 to the new bridge. Judge Adams announced the rally, which will be held August 6 and 7, and said that the roads will be closed for the duration of the rally, but not all day. Starting times have not been announced.

• Presented a certificate to honor Jenkins Elementary School student Kimber Collins, who finished first in the NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program) National

Championships. Collins ranked first of 164 girls competing in the Elementary Division and 23rd of 759 girls competing in the NASP World Championship.

• Re-approved the Letcher County Administrative Code and approved the Ethics Code for another year.

• Voted to re-appoint Diane Adams and Fred Webb to the Board of Directors of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District and to replace Billy Stamper on the board with Terry Perkins. Stamper’s work has prevented him from being able to attend meetings.

• Voted to postpone accepting the tax rates of the Letcher County Health Department until the next regular meeting.

• Approved two new policies for the Letcher County Jail. Letcher County Jailer Bert Slone said one policy clarifies the inmate grievance policy and the other regards use of social media by jail employees. Slone also thanked the court for getting a van for the jail to use for transporting inmates who are working outside the jail. The van came from the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council. Slone said that inmates have returned to outside work in a limited capacity and that the inmates are working cutting brush and weed-eating. He said they are happy to be outside again and to have something to do.

• Heard a report on the Jail Commissary Fund, which had a cash balance of $161,048.15 as of June 1. Total receipts for June were $36,442.42 and total expenditures were $34,418.94. This left the fund with a balance of $163,071.63 at the end of June.

• Went into executive session to discuss litigation at 7:03 and emerged at 8:19. When they came out, Judge Adams reported that no action had been taken.

Bank balance recap for county agencies as of May 31, 2021

General Fund $1,050,779.13

Road and Bridge Fund $50,748.45

Jail Fund $183,170.12

LGEA Fund $620,098.07

Senior Citizens Fund $229.90

Forestry Fund $14,072.20

Total of al l funds $1,918,997.87

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