Whitesburg KY

Some county offices are reopening now; courts to start June 1

Letcher County is taking a step to return to normal this week as several offices re-open in the Letcher County Courthouse after being closed for two months because of the coronavirus.

At the virtual meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court on Monday evening, Judge/Executive Terry Adams announced that his office would re-open on Wednesday, as would the sanitation billing office, the Property Valuation Administrator’s Office, and the County Court Clerk’s Office.

Letcher Circuit Court Clerk and Driver’s License Office, the Circuit Judge’s office and District Judge’s office will remain closed until June 1. Those offices are under an order from the Kentucky Supreme Court.

Adams said that county parks and the Letcher County Recreation Center will not re-open until a later date, and added that he will work with Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s office to determine how to reopen recreation facilities safely. The meeting was available through the Letcher County Broadband Board’s Facebook Page and on ZOOM. Adams told the court he hopes to hold the June meeting live in the county courtroom.

In other business, Letcher County Treasurer Doris Jean Frazier presented the $7,272,058 budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. She said it was as much as the county could do with lowered revenues, some caused by the COVID-19 virus shutdowns. The budget is balanced with revenues and expenditures both projected at $7,272,058.10. It is slightly lower than last year’s $7,420,324.72 budget, and Frazier said that while the revenues have been affected by the shutdown, there is still enough to pay all the county’s debts and allow for the annual lease of a new Mack Truck. She said she was uncertain about the amount of mineral severance taxes that would be returned to the coal counties, but that she hoped it would be increased. Adams said he plans to hold the second reading of the budget at the regular June meeting, but will hold a special meeting if it is necessary.

The court addressed another item that was reduced due to the shutdown. Judge Adams told the court that the Kentucky Department of Transportation’s Road Aid Agreement with Letcher County was reduced from $1,226,236.01 to $1,075,736.31. The reduction is the result of a lower return from the state gasoline tax than was originally projected. The gasoline tax pays for roadwork in Kentucky and the reduced travel since the shutdown caused the lower return. The court voted unanimously to accept the agreement.

Frazier presented the health insurance recommendation for county employees to the court. She said it is from the court’s current provider, through the Kentucky Association of Counties. She said it is basically the same package as last year. Frazier told the court the cost for the package has increased by 6.59 percent and the county’s cost for individual employees increased from $480.18 per month to $511.84. However, she said the deductible is slightly less.

Frazier said that employees still have a “buy-up” option, in which they can add additional coverage at their own expense. The package includes vision insurance and employee paid dental.

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