Fiscal court agenda includes discussion about employee pay raise

Posted July 26, 2017 at 9:02 am

Clinton County Fiscal Court covered a lot of territory, including road issues, county equipment, county employee pay increases and more during its regular meeting last Thursday, July 20, which ended in verbal flares about county employees’ pay increases.

All members were present except magistrate Patty Guinn, who was absent due to a family medical emergency.

The court first dealt with routine issues, including acknowledging receipt of the monthly, quarterly and annual treasurer’s report, approved fund transfers, all on unanimous votes, and approved claims and bills on a 3-2 vote, with magistrates Ricky Craig and Mickey Riddle voting no, saying they still believed work-release inmates should be brought back to the jail to eat lunch. Magistrates Terry Buster, Johnny Russell and Hershell Key voted in favor.

The court also voted to accept the Clinton County Health District tax rate and the annual Clinton County Industrial Development Authority budget.

Road material bids were then opened with two each being received on rock and tile.

As in years past, the court voted to approve all local bids, with the county to use all vendors on an even basis. The two bids submitted and approved for gravel were Albany Quarry and Gaddie-Shamrock and on tile, Potter’s Ace Hardware and Albany Building Supply.

Brett England, with the drug testing company Premiere Toxicology of Russell Springs, who also has a regional office in Albany, made a presentation to the court.

England said the company would do a 12 panel test of county employees at $31 per test. Emergency Services Director Lonnie Scott also acknowledged the company did good work and due to its close proximity and ties with Clinton County, he basically recommended it for employee drug testing and the court approved the company by unanimous vote.

The court also voted unanimously to approve second reading of the county road ordinance, as well as approving three separate resolutions for state road aid funding, including municipal road aid, FLEX funds and discretionary road aid funding for the coming year, all on separate motions.

Clinton County Judge/Executive Richard Armstrong also noted to the court that with the changes being made at the state level pertaining to discretionary funding, it appears in the future the state will only fund county road repairs that are in the most desperate need of repairs.

Judge Armstrong then discussed some county road equipment he would like to sell online, as well as some new equipment he would like to use the proceeds for to help with purchasing newer equipment.

Armstrong recommended declaring a Case backhoe, an older Crown Vic, a Dodge service truck and two graders as surplus. He said he had been looking at a newer backhoe costing $18,000 and would like to purchase a new grader to replace the older two. He also added no new equipment would be purchased unless the older equipment was sold and the new equipment assured.

Magistrate Hershell Key made the motion to declare the equipment surplus, which passed by a 4-1 vote with magistrate Craig voting no.

The court then voted unanimously, on a motion by magistrate Riddle, to retain D-Track as the county’s home incarceration device/service provider, with an annual amount for the services not to exceed $20,000 per year.

Also by unanimous vote, court members approved a resolution with the Lake Cumberland Area Development District in support of the region’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. That plan, which is required to be updated every five years detailing each county’s responses in case of emergency or disaster, has to be in place in order to provide for federal assistance in the event of an actual natural disaster or other emergency declaration.

EMS Director Scott also noted that three new tornado sirens have been purchased and put in place through Homeland Security funds and grant applications for three additional sirens have been applied for, which would see those sirens placed in strategic areas that covered the most territory and homes.

Clinton County Deputy County Clerk Diane Elmore then presented the court for a check in the amount of $3,412 in excess fees from the county clerk. This was the second installment, with the clerk’s office turning over in excess of $12,000 in excess fees to the county.

Things became a bit contentious and heated during discussion of a 25 cent per hour raise for county employees, across the board, recommended by judge Armstrong. A motion was made by magistrate Buster, seconded by magistrate Key to grant the increase, effective August 1.

The vote to approve was 3-2 with magistrate Johnny Russell also voting yes and magistrates Riddle and Craig voting no.

Magistrate Craig contended that the county had increased payments for county employees’ insurance and there was then a conflict of opinion on what had been stated between some magistrates and assistant administrator Penny Jo Stearns on actual insurance costs to the county.

Stearns explained that the insurance carrier waived a possible three percent increase in individual rates in exchange for the county offering employees a $25,000 life insurance policy, which she says offsets the proposed three percent increase.

Craig had contended that according to his calculations, the county would be paying around $26,000 to $27,000 a year for employee insurance and with the cost of the quarter rate increase would cost the county around $33,000.

Judge Armstrong said he would rather give money to the employees who had earned it, as well as offering the life insurance.

Some verbal exchange occurred between the magistrate and judge prior to the roll call vote being taken.

The judge/executive’s office also forwarded a synopsis of the insurance rate premium figures to the Clinton County News late last week. The cost to the county monthly for health insurance in 2016-17 was $20,518.80 for health and vision. The renewal quote for 2017-18 monthly is $21,248.40 for health and vision. Humana offered the county could keep the same rate if it opted to add life insurance to the policy at a cost of $21,101.55 monthly.

There was no vote taken on the county employee insurance.

The final action of the court was to approve a request from James M. Guffey that the county gravel and maintain a bus turnaround in the Cave Springs area where a family with children now reside. Magistrate Buster, whose road is in his district, made the motion to maintain the bus turnaround, which passed by unanimous vote.

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for August 17 at 5 p.m. and is open to the general public.