Financial challenges, opportunities ahead for Boyle, Danville

Published 2:44 pm Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Mary Conley said she sees a lot of financial challenges coming up in 2019. “But, I have to add, there’s always some good things that turn out with challenges.”

As county treasurer and deputy judge-executive, the state of the Boyle County Detention Center is definitely in the forefront of her mind.

“I know everyone is talking about building a new facility. I firmly believe there are options out there we still need to look at to move our community forward, in a safe, productive way.” Conley said there’s still a lot of discussion to be had.

Email newsletter signup

“And I’m real excited about what’s going to come from that. The dollar amounts — the fiscal court cannot absorb it alone,” she said in reference to the cost of a new facility. “There’s some major challenges with that whole ball of wax.”

Another important topic to her “is something my good friend (Magistrate) John Caywood brings up — he talks about generating revenue.”


Conley said as a body, the fiscal court could look more closely at countywide services, like 911, “that we can look at streamlining and possibly make it more efficient and beneficial to the taxpayer.”

She said it’s all about creating a balanced approach.

“And another challenge — I’ll go back to what my friend, Dickie Mayes, our (former) magistrate in the western portion (of the county) says — it’s important to get the 911 agreement back on track. I think there’s some discussions that need to be had … open and honest conversations about 911 services.”

Another priority is the courthouse — “It’s splitting at the seams. We have to literally look for closets to build offices if we want to expand staff … put staff in one room and records in another office,” Conley said.

The Administrative Office of the Courts had been building new county judicial centers around the state. But “they’ve stopped doing that. They’re not efficient, not taxpayer friendly. The last group were actually expansions to existing buildings.”

Conley said there’s a county priority list, and so far, “Boyle has not surfaced onto that list, so it’ll be many years, maybe even 10, before we ever see an expansion.”

Because of that, “we need to start looking into where we’ll move into and how we’ll manage that space,” she said.

After the challenges have been overcome, then comes the exciting part of putting the plans into play, Conley said.

“The world around us grows and changes every day, and we have to, too. Or at least look at ways of keeping up. A lot of them don’t have to be expensive, just creative thinking,” she said.

Where finances are concerned, Conley said she’s “definitely not going to dispute that we’re in good shape,” as a county. But, she said expenses are growing faster than the revenue base.

The ever-looming retirement issue surrounding pensions and employers’ required contributions do have Conley concerned about the future.

“I’m not really quite sure where all of this will land,” she said. “Everything’s so muddy right now.”


Danville City Manager Ron Scott rated the new central fire station on Main Street as his No. 1 impactful item for 2019.

“We’ve secured financing for the project … through a bond issue, with $8.5 million set aside to meet all of the costs …” Scott said. “It’s very exciting to consider how this new facility can be designed to best meet and serve the needs of our community for the next 50 years.”

As far as recent disagreements over parks and recreation between Danville and Boyle County, Scott said he sees opportunity in “how to provide programs to maintain and improve quality of life for our residents, as well as provide sports opportunities to contribute to our local economy — this will be a topic of conversation.”

He said part of that discussion will relate to the need to replace the aging Bunny Davis Pool and Recreational Complex.


“Consistent with the recommendations contained in the Danville Master Park Plan Report, the city recently acquired what’s commonly known as ‘the fairgrounds’ to have land available adjacent to Millennium Park for potential uses as outlined” in the report, he said. “… Also in order to build a local access road to the new $30 million middle school to be constructed adjacent to Cunningham Way.”

The cost of the new road will be “provided by the Boyle County School District,” he said.

A goal is to focus on how the city can best assist in the promotion of business growth — “both downtown and in other sectors through our joint efforts with the Heart of Danville through Develop Danville.”

In addition to the city and county’s endorsement of Opportunity Zones — a community development program in the Jobs Act of 2017 — the city also will consider implementing a tax increment financing (TIF) district, earmarking future property tax revenues to finance infrastructure improvements.

“After the area is determined … the city commission will consider earmarking a portion of the city’s tax receipts (property and occupational) generated within the TIF district by the new business activity to pay for the development costs associated with business improvements made in the TIF district,” Scott said. “This is an exciting topic to discuss and if approved, should all have a positive effect to spur economic development.”

Scott said as 2019 progresses, Baby Boomers will continue to retire and Millennials will become more and more important to the workforce.

“I am excited about leading our effort to comprehensively review compensation and benefits provided to all workers in the year ahead, and in having those discussions with our city commission,” he said.

This “examination,” as well as decisions reached by city commission during this year’s budget talks, will hopefully result in “greater opportunities for employment of millennials  — who now make up over 50 percent of the available workforce,” Scott said.

At the end of the day, Danville must be competitive in attracting and keeping talent necessary to provide essential services to residents, he said.

“As we communicate the opportunities of local government jobs, I believe millennials will decide they indeed like working in local government, in order to ‘make a difference.’ That’s why I started working in local government, more than 35 years ago.”