The Letcher County Fiscal Court has formally adopted its budget for Fiscal Year 2016-17.
Letcher Judge/Executive Jim Ward said the budget’s overall amount is exactly the same as the budget it had voted to approve at a meeting in May. The balanced budget, approved unanimously during a special meeting, calls for expenditures and receipts of $7,980,705, and is $1,586,869 lower than last year’s $9,567,565 budget.
Last month, Ward told the court the county would probably receive about $2.7 million less than it did last year from all sources. During the course of the fiscal year, the court was forced to modify several programs, including closing all the county’s existing Senior Citizens Centers, and centralizing the program into one at the Letcher County Recreation Center.
The court also discontinued the county’s recycling program — which was saved when the City of Whitesburg took it over — and raised the fee for garbage pick-up by $3 per month for household garbage.
The court also voted unanimously to approve a “standing order” so that recurring monthly bills such as electric bills, fuel bills and others can be paid on a timely basis rather than waiting until the court meets on the regularly scheduled third Monday of the month. The purpose of the standing order is to make sure that bills are paid before they incur late fees.
In other business, the court voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance to allow the outstanding balance for the loan that was taken to finance the Letcher County Recreation Center to be re-financed in order to take advantage of significantly lower interest rates. At last week’s regular court meeting, representatives of the Kentucky Association of Counties, which holds the loan, approached the court and asked that the loan be refinanced, saying that it will save the county $28,500 a year, or $688,000 over the entire life of the loan.
Following the adjournment of the special meeting, Ward called a Local Government Economic Assistance hearing into session to hear public comment on the county’s acceptance of the Municipal Road Aid agreement between Letcher County and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The agreement will allow the county to accept up to $1,165,123.94, from the Cabinet, with an initial distribution of $678,102, and two subsequent smaller distributions for improvements to county roads. No public comments were offered and the meeting was adjourned.