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County workers get raise after all

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Magistrates have said no to increase since March.

By Calen McKinney

County employees will get 3 percent raises next fiscal year, though magistrates have said for the past three months that the county can't afford it.

At Tuesday night's regular Taylor Fiscal Court meeting, five of the county's six magistrates voted to give the raise.

The issue of raises has been discussed at three meetings of the Court's Budgets, Audits and Personnel Committee this year. At each, the consensus has been that the county can't afford to give raises next fiscal year.

However, at the meeting on Tuesday, Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers asked magistrates to consider four changes to the proposed 2011-2012 budget, one of which was raises for county employees.

First, he said, Campbellsville Renaissance has asked for an increase in its contribution from the county.

The county contributed $5,000 this year, Rogers said, but had been contributing $10,000. Rogers asked magistrates to again contribute $10,000.

Donna Logsdon, Renaissance director, had requested a $15,000 increase from the County and an $8,000 increase from the city, for a total of $40,000. The city contributes $12,000 and increased that amount to $15,000 for next fiscal year.

Magistrate Richard Phillips made a motion to do that. Magistrate Matt Pendleton seconded the motion, which was approved by a vote of 5-1. Magistrate John Gaines cast the lone "no" vote.

Next, Rogers said, Taylor Regional Hospital has asked the county to help pay for a feasibility study for a local YMCA.

Magistrate James Jones said he believes a YMCA would be great for the area and made a motion to contribute $5,000. Magistrate Ed Gorin seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.

The city agreed to contribute $5,000 to the cost of the study at its regular meeting last week. The total cost of the study is $30,000. Donations from area businesses have also been solicited to help pay the cost.

Next, Rogers asked magistrates if they want to consider giving county employees raises next fiscal year.

Gorin said he has been told that the county will be receiving more than $60,000 back from its insurance policy this fiscal year. In light of that, he said he believes giving a 3 percent raise is a good idea.

He said he recently attended a jail conference and learned more about the hard work done by the employees at the Taylor County Detention Center.

"They're a great bunch of people," he said. "I would like to give them more."

Gorin made a motion to approve the 3 percent raises, which Jones seconded. Before a vote, however, Gaines said it wasn't long ago that magistrates said the county couldn't afford to give any raises.

Phillips said the county's employees have saved money through their insurance program. As a result, he said, he sees the county getting money back from that and then giving it to employees in the form of raises as a reward.

Last month, the proposed 2011-2012 budget contained no raises.

At a meeting in March, the Committee discussed a one-half or 1 percent raise, but magistrates agreed that the county couldn't afford that. During another meeting in March, a 1.5 percent raise was discussed, though no action was taken.

On Wednesday, Rogers said a 3 percent raise will cost the county about $55,000.

County employees also received a 3 percent raise this fiscal year.

Lastly, Rogers told magistrates that he has received a request from NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, for financial help.

He said the group meets at the Taylor County Courthouse. The county has not contributed money to the group in the past, and Gaines said he believes contributing $500 to the group would be a good start.

Pendleton asked if there are any grants available for the group. A representative from the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, who attended the meeting, was asked to research that possibility.

Gaines made a motion to give the group $500, which Jones seconded.

Before a vote, Phillips said he believes NAMI provides a good service to the community. However, he said, the county should be careful contributing to a civic group because other groups could also ask for help.

"If we're gonna give to one, we've got to give to them all," he said. "We are a government agency. Like I said, I think it's like opening a Pandora's box."

Gaines said he agrees with Phillips, though he and Jones voted "yes" to making the $500 contribution. The other four magistrates voted "no," and the issue was defeated.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, Rogers announced that a special court meeting will be Tuesday, June 30 at 9 a.m. at the Taylor County Courthouse to have second reading of the 2011-2012 budget. The meeting is open to the public.

 

Interlocal agreement

County Attorney John Bertram told the Court that he has received a draft of the new interlocal agreement from City Attorney John Miller.

Bertram said the agreement states that the city and county will equally pay the shortfalls of Rescue and E-911. The agreement anticipates that the deficit will be $1.3 million, with the county paying the city $650,000 a year as it currently does.

At the end of each fiscal year, Bertram said, the agreement calls for shortfalls in the E-911 and Rescue budgets to be calculated and divided. At that point, the county could have to pay the city more or receive money back based on the $650,000 payment.

Rogers said he is requesting that the Rescue and E-911 income and expenses be taken out of two separate checking accounts, so it will be known exactly where the money to provide each service goes.

Rogers said Phillips and Gorin will serve on the joint board that will be formed to discuss the inner workings of Campbellsville/Taylor County Rescue and Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911.

The Campbellsville City Council hasn't named its representatives on the Board. Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young has signed the new agreement.