Fiscal court meets, budget and IDA issues discussed at length

Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Clinton Fiscal Court held its second meeting of the year, and first regular session of 2013, last Thursday evening, January 17 and all members were present for the one-hour meeting, which included a 40-minute closed session on personnel.

On separate motions, the court first approved the monthly and quarterly treasurer’s reports and a list of fund transfers. Treasurer Dallas Sidwell noted that all transfers this month were expenditures only, or moving funds from one code to another to meet the budget.

Three members were then appointed, upon recommendations by Judge/Executive Lyle Huff, to the IDA (Industrial Development Authority) Board, including the reappointments Glenn Ray Smith and Randy Speck for three-year terms and a new member to fill a vacancy, that being Chrystal Irwin for a two-year term on the board.

Judge Huff also went on record as saying since there was a feeling among court members that board members (on all appointed boards) needed to be changed occasionally to get new input and ideas, that he would no longer appoint anyone to any board past two terms before recommending they be switched out.

During the discussion on appointment of board members, a magistrate inquired about a rumor that IDA members were receiving a stipend, or some type of expense allowance per month. Judge Huff said he had talked to one of the board’s members who had indicated the board could be entitled to a monthly expense account.

Charlette Koger told the Clinton County News on Friday afternoon following the court meeting that to her knowledge, no Industrial Authority Board member was receiving any type of monthly allowance.

Another board member contacted after the meeting in regards to the issue also said they had never received any compensation or monthly allowance of any type and the only thing a board member may be entitled to might be out-of-pocket reimbursement. For example, if a board member spent their own money on Industrial Authority business such as attempting to attract industry or promote the county, they could submit receipts for the money they spent out-of-pocket and get that amount back.

In other court meeting related business, County Clerk Sheila Braswell-Booher addressed the court on the issue of this year’s county clerk’s office budget.

Booher, in presenting the 2013 budget for approval, said her office covered all of its own personal expenses from office supplies, books, paper, pens, etc. She also noted that a couple of her full-time employees had health insurance elsewhere, which would help result in savings to the county budget.

Following a brief discussion, a motion was made by Magistrate Mickey Riddle to approve the county clerk’s office budget for the coming year, with the motion passing by unanimous vote.

Judge Huff then presented the sheriff’s office budget, noting it was about $2,500 more than last year.

Sheriff Rick Riddle noted that most of that extra expense was the higher price of gas and fuel. While questioned about the sheriff’s salary and number of personnel in the department, it was noted that the county paid the sheriff’s salary and his office personnel, which totals only three other than the sheriff himself, through fees.

The office collects four percent of the total county tax collections to help operate the office from year-to-year.

In both cases with the county clerk’s and sheriff’s office budget, any excess fees collected during a year are returned to the county.

Magistrate Patty Guinn made a motion to approve the sheriff’s office budget as presented, which passed 5-0 with Magistrate Riddle abstaining.

Sheriff Riddle then presented the county with an excess fees check in the amount of $15,075.

Also, in relation to his office, the sheriff noted the current console in the office was in bad shape and had been written up twice by the insurance company for electrical hazards. He requested he be allowed to purchase a new console for $7,500.00. A motion to allow the purchase was made by Magistrate Terry Buster and again passed 5-0 with Magistrate Riddle abstaining.

Judge Huff then briefly discussed county employee health insurance with the court members. He said the magistrates should begin thinking about the issue from now through early February, when it is expected to be discussed at a conference that court members will apparently be attending.

Employee health insurance, which is a major expenditure to the county government and has been a topic of discussion in months and years past, is expected to again go up this year and the policy renewal comes up in March.

The court then voted to enter into executive session to discuss personnel, with both Jailer Gene Ferrill and Director of Emergency Services Lonnie Scott (at different times) being present in the closed portion of the meeting.

After voting to go back into open session, judge Huff announced no action taken and the meeting was adjourned.

The judge also presented a recent press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District pertaining to the Wolf Creek Dam repair project.

The letter, from Joanne Mann, Executive Assistant/Congressional Liaison with the Nashville District, reads, for the most part:

“The Nashville District Corps is ahead of schedule and making plans to raise Lake Cumberland this spring as Wolf Creek Foundation Remediation Project nears completion. The barrier wall is currently on track to be completed by the early spring of 2013, which is significantly ahead of the previously planned completion date in December 2013. The barrier wall is the most critical component of the dam safety project and will have to be completed prior to raising the lake level. This is a great news story for the Corps, the Region and the Nation.”

The next regular meeting of Clinton Fiscal Court is scheduled for Thursday, February 21 at 5 p.m. at the courthouse and is open to the general public.