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Fiscal court offers COVID fund help to businesses here


Small businesses in Letcher County will be eligible for business relief grants up to $5,000 to aid in their recovery from damages incurred through COVID-19.

The grants are available through the overall Small Business Relief Program that will allocate a total $110,000 through the general operating fund of the Letcher County Fiscal Court. The grants were added to the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, Economic Security (CARES) Act. An application for funding must be completed and submitted to the Letcher Fiscal Court by the close of business (4:30 p.m.) on March 5.

The relief program grant will be awarded to qualified businesses only, with a minimum amount of assistance of $1,000 and a maximum amount of $5,000. Recovery funds will be awarded to successful applicants for paid expenses that have occurred between March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Proof of payments is required.

The applications will be available at the courthouse office of Judge/Executive Terry Adams. Applications should be returned to Judge Adams’s office in a sealed envelope or mailed to the following address: Small Business Relief, Letcher County Fiscal Court, 156 Main Street, Suite 107, Whitesburg, KY 41858.

Requests for further information, or any questions, should be addressed to D.J. Frazier, Letcher County Treasurer, at djfrazier@ letchercounty.ky.gov or by calling 606-633-2129. Applicants will be notified if funding will be provided and the amount that will be awarded.

The grants were announced at the February 15 meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court to extend support to small businesses in an effort for businesses to thrive and continue to boost the economic growth of Letcher County. Frazier and Adams both urged small businesses with COVID-19 losses to request a grant packet.The packet answers questions about eligibility for a grant, includes an application, and provides directions for applying.

In other business, Sheriff Mickey Stines presented the court with a check for $43,000 as part of his annual payment of excess fees for 2020.The amount represents gross receipts of $ 786,337.55 against total disbursements of $737,809.95. The total excess was $48,527.60. Stines retained $5,527.60 pending the audit and presented the remainder, $43,000 to the fiscal court.

Stines asked that the check be applied to insurance and retirement costs the sheriff ’s department will be required to pay until tax receipts start coming in, and the court approved his request. Stines also told the court he has hired one new deputy who will attend the police academy soon. He said the department has cut corners on spending whenever possible and that deputies are wearing secondhand uniforms. Stines added that almost all the department’s expenditures have gone to replace worn out equipment.

The court examined bids for several projects for which it had advertised. Adams said he is currently working with engineers on bid specs to replace the cooling tower on the county courthouse. Adams added that Advance Systems X, the only bidder for the control board for entry systems for the Letcher County Jail, reported that the system was obsolete and will have to be upgraded.The cost is $38,900 and the subject was tabled for further discussion and examination of the entry system.

The court received proposals for rehabilitating the Oven Fork Senior Citizens Center and bids for leasing the property, including a discount on rent for the costs to rehabilitate the building. The court received three proposals, one from Betty Cusack, one from Barbara Kilburn, and another from Ernie and Tiffany Scott.The court formed a committee composed ofThird District Magistrate Maverick Cook, First District Magistrate Bennie McCall, and Judge/ Executive Terry Adams.The committee will meet and examine each bid closely and return to the court with recommendations.

The court conducted the second reading for re- financing the loan agreements on the Letcher County Courthouse and the Letcher County Recreation Center. Financing on both buildings is administered through the Kentucky Association of Counties. Recently, KACO representatives advised the court that by refinancing each loan at the current lower interest rates, the county can realize a substantial savings.The court conducted thefirst reading on resolutions to refinance both loans at the January meeting. County Attorney Jamie Hatton conducted the second reading of each resolution and the court approved them, making them official.

The court conducted the second reading to an amendment to the Letcher County Administrative Code that raises the amount of expenditures that require a competitive bid for a contract or materials from $20,000 to $30,000. Expenditures of less than $30,000 are not subject to competitive bidding.

Letcher County Jailer Bert Slone reported that the Letcher County Jail Commissary Fund started the year with a balance of $116,980.69 and had receipts for January in the amount of $45,260.50. Total funds available were $162,241.19. Expenditures for the month totaled $33,138.34 and the Commissary Fund Finished the month with $129,102.85.

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