News Column

Revenues falling for jail, E-911 operations

May 28, 2014

Richmond Register, Ky.

May 28--RICHMOND -- Growing financial pressures on jail and E-911 operations are reflected in the proposed county budget for which Madison Fiscal Court heard the first reading Tuesday morning.

However, the general fund budget will shrink by $911,000 for the coming year, and revenue from real estate taxes will rise by $50,000, an increase of just under 1.6 percent.

Revenue from housing state prisoners in the jail is expected to drop by $150,000.

However, the county probably won't realize all the revenue from housing state prisoners -- $700,000 -- budgeted for the current year, Treasurer Glenna Baker said after the meeting. The new budget forecasts $550,000 from this source.

Jail operation will pull $1.2 million from the county general fund in 2014-15, about $175,000 more than this year, a comparison of the two budgets shows.

A proposal by Jailer Doug Thomas and Judge/Executive Kent Clark to construct a medium-security facility administered by the jailer to earn revenue by housing state prisoners has not been acted on.

The facility was proposed for the Miller Building site next to the jail.

The diminishing number of landline phones in the county is reflected in the $38,000 decline in the E-911 tax on landlines. Money from a similar tax on cell phones is expected to remain unchanged.

The general fund's $911,000 decline reflects the wrapping up of three state-funded road projects that were channeled through the general fund, Baker explained.

Those were reconstruction of the Barnes Mill Road approach to Poosey Ridge, the road to White Hall State Historic Site and the Wilderness Trail Road off the Martin Bypass in Richmond that provides alternate access to Glenn Marshall Elementary School and B. Michael Caudill Middle School.

The road fund will rise only slightly in the coming year, $10,783, to just over $3.6 million.

The federally funded Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program with a budget of more than $18.1 million, nearly $3 million more than the county general fund, is budgeted for $661,126 less in the coming year.

Next year's overall county budget will total more than $42 million, about $1.54 million less than this year.

"We think it's a good budget," Clark said. "We cut where we could cut. I don't think we've ever wasted any money whatsoever."

All five members of fiscal court voted affirmatively without comment for the budget's first reading.

Second reading is scheduled for the June 10 fiscal court meeting, 9:30 a.m. at the county courthouse, 101 W. Main St., Richmond.

The court also approved the $28,000 payroll for the election workers and the CSEPP incident plan for specific events.

The court heard from Jeff Rubin, director of the Berea-based Body Recall physical fitness program, who asked that the three local governments work together to make the county more "elderly friendly."

Madison County is ranked 18th in Kentucky as the best place for older residents, he said. Oldham County, a suburb of Louisville, is ranked first.

The county needs more primary caregivers for the elderly, Rubin said, as well as age-friendly ambassadors. Other needs include more age-friendly technology classes, age-smart employment rewards to give employers incentive to hire older workers.

The 85-plus age group is America's fastest-growing population segment, Rubin said.


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Source: Richmond Register (KY)

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