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No major surprises in budget

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By Brandon Mattingly

County officials met last month to discuss the budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and while it appears there will be alterations from last year’s budget, major changes shouldn’t be expected when the spending plan is finalized this summer.

Less than two weeks after the first reading of the proposed budget, Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles, the magistrates and other officials are still early in the process with plenty of time to make changes, but the foundation for the upcoming budget has been set.

The total general fund, as of April’s budget workshop, is projected for $3,351,172, putting it $36,900 below last year’s mark. The grand total of all funds for 2013-14—general, road, jail, local government energy audit (LGEA), looks to be in the vicinity of $5,765,569, up from $5,657,984 for the current year.

The general fund, for now, will not have the support of $40,000 in federal grants, as it did last year, but a big increase in state funds should help provide balance. After $58,000 was projected last year for the current budget, the county expects $114,000 in state grants in the upcoming year.

Grants include a $36,000 CMRS (commercial movie radio services) grant for 911 services, a $34,000 Kentucky Pride grant, a $21,000 litter abatement grant, a $10,000 ambulance grant, a $3,000 tire grant for solid waste and $10,000 for the remainder of the Lincoln National Scenic Byway grant.

The road department is on track for a potential $152,885 increase from last year—$1,964,097 total — thanks in large part to $419,775 in state grants, up from $250,000 in the last budget.

Grant money for the road department includes a FD39 grant with $177,000 remaining following construction on Lick Skillet Road, $133,600 in the state 80/20 bridge construction program and $109,175 in flexible funding for road repairs.

The road department is also expecting $150,730 in payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for work on the Grundy Home Road bridge.

The jail fund won’t see major change from last year, but may still have an increased budget of $11,700, with almost all additional funds going toward protection to persons and property (adult). The juvenile fund remains unchanged.

As of now, the LGEA fund will see a decrease from $90,000 in the current year to $75,000, and a $5,100 Communicare grant will not be available this year.

County employees could also see a slight increase in salary in 2013-14. The cost of living increase, which is automatically offered to employees, has been set at 1.74 percent. Settles suggested at last month’s budget workshop to offer elected officials the standard increase, while offering other county employees a two percent pay bump. Since emergency medical services and the road department have seen separate pay increases recently, it was also suggested to offer a 50-cent pay increase — in lieu of, not in addition to, the 1.74 percent increase— to non-elected employees outside of those two areas.

Further action and alterations to the budget will be made over the next two months at fiscal court.

The next regular scheduled meeting is Monday at 9 a.m.