Boyle finalizes next budget, with a few changes

Published 7:39 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Boyle County Fiscal Court approved a second reading of its 2019-20 budget Tuesday, finalizing its financial plan for the next 12 months.

Items of discussion and changes made prior to final approval were:

• Main Street Perryville director salary: Magistrate Tom Ellis made the motion to reduce a raise planned for Main Street Perryville Director Vicki Goode from $5,000 to $1,000, and it was passed unanimously, but not without a vigorous debate first.

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Boyle County has long funded the Main Street Perryville director’s salary, though for many years, the funding was indirect — it came out of what the county contributed to the Economic Development Partnership. A proposal in the budget after the first reading was to give Goode a $5,000 bump due to her effectiveness and not receiving a substantial raise in recent years.

Ellis acknowledged a prior warning from Boyle County Treasurer Mary Conley that the increase was coming without offsetting revenue and at a time when many groups of county employees are seeking more pay as well.

“I am painfully aware of all the salary issues,” said Ellis, who represents the county district that includes Perryville.

Magistrate Ronnie Short seconded Ellis’ motion to reduce the raise to $1,000, but Magistrate John Caywood seemed incredulous that any increase be left in.

“Where is Perryville?” Caywood asked. “I had to beg last year to get $1,000 from the City of Perryville to put into their Main Street. They had no skin in the game. Where are they now, today?”

“Because of that director, at least half a dozen buildings … have not fallen to collapse and ruin, but very significantly brought back,” Ellis said. “… Hopefully Main Street is stabilized now and they have sought funds elsewhere and not come to us.”

“Tom, it’s called Perryville Main Street. … I say this with all due respect to the City of Perryville — I say this very respectfully, but I question: Have they stepped up to the plate significantly? We have covered a lot of their expense that carries their name and she (Goode) has done a very fine job.”

After further debate, Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said he understood Caywood’s perspective.

“I hear you and I do agree with you,” Hunt said. “… I plan to work with Magistrate Ellis in expressing the court’s concerns that they (Perryville) have adequate participation in their future.”

Magistrate Jason Cullen said he thinks it makes sense to show support for Goode and what Main Street Perryville has done by giving Goode the $1,000 raise this time — “but going forward, we really need … to have (the City of Perryville) embrace some more of these expenses. It can’t be both ways — it can’t be that they brought in a lot of business over here but they don’t have money to fund. So we need to find that common ground.”

Cullen noted the county decided to give the Heart of Danville Main Street program $0 “because we considered that to be more of the City of Danville’s responsibility.”

• EMS salaries: The fiscal court approved including $18,000 to give Boyle County EMS part-time personnel a $2 per hour raise, and keeping another $18,000 in reserve, making it possible to increase by another $2 per hour.

Many magistrates had balked at a proposed $4 an hour raise brought to them by EMS Director Mike Rogers earlier in the budgeting process. Rogers told them then and again on Tuesday that other EMS agencies around Boyle are paying part-time employees as much as $5 an hour more, which means it’s next to impossible for Boyle to get part-time workers. That results in Boyle’s full-time EMS employees working huge amounts of overtime, creating substantial extra cost.

Cullen said Tuesday he likes keeping half the potential raise in reserve because it allows the county to ease into the raises rather than making such a significant jump all at once.

• Constitution Square roof repairs: The court voted to use approximately $7,000 that will become available in December from the Constitution Square endowment to help begin replacing roofs in the historic park. It will be the first time the county has used a disbursement from the endowment, instead of putting the disbursement back into the endowment to further increase its size.

The entire budget discussion Tuesday took close to an hour of the fiscal court’s 150-minute meeting. Toward the end of the discussion, Magistrate Phil Sammons expressed frustration at the meandering discussion and lengthy debates.

“I think we’ve got a lot of magistrates practicing to be Baptist preachers,” he said.