The Mountain Eagle
Whitesburg KY
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New federal funds add $4.18 million to county budget

The 2021-22 budget for Letcher County has been increased by over $4 million, although the extra funds won’t be deposited until they are released by the federal government.

The money comes from the American Rescue Plan and will add $4,180,072 to county funds. It must be spent on “applicable categories,” as defined in the Rescue Plan.

The Rescue Plan funding increases the total budget to $11,673,354. The original budget, which was approved at the April 19 Fiscal Court meeting, was $7,441,610.

In her reading of the budget summary to the Judge/Executive Terry Adams and the county’s five magistrates, Letcher County Treasurer Doris Jean Frazier said the county will have until the end of 2024 to spend the funds. Frazier said the court could receive the first of the funding this month. It will be probably be earmarked for infrastructure, she said, but the precise guidelines for which the money can be used has not yet been provided.

The money means more than a third of the county’s budget this year will be made up of money appropriated by the federal government since January 20. That amount does not include the infrastructure bill currently being debated in Congress, or the $1,400 per person stimulus checks that were part of the American Rescue Plan, which was put together by the Biden Administration. It also does not include other money which could benefit the county but is being allocated to the state.

Frazier said at the meeting that because federal money is involved in the budget, reporting standards will be changed so that several smaller funds that would generally be grouped together will be listed separately in the budget.The judge and magistrates voted unanimously to approve the budget.They will vote again at the next meeting to make it official.

The court also voted to amend the 2020–2021 budget to increase the receipts of the Road Fund by the amount of $241,105.55.The funds were allocated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

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