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Fiscal court news — March 6 meeting

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By Tracy Harris

County purchases land in Buckner

Oldham County officials have signed a contract to purchase the former Oldham County Lumber on Quality Place in Buckner.

The land recently became available and was identified by Judge-Executive David Voegele and Deputy Judge-Executive John Black as a potential location for the new road department facility.

The road and recycling departments are currently being relocated because the state transportation cabinet purchased the existing property for the Ky. 393 widening and realignment project.

Bids for all-new facilities on Ky. 146 near King’s Lane came in 72 percent over-budget when received in February.

County officials hoped to spend $2 million on the project, although architectural estimates came closer to $3 million. Bids for the project were all more than $5 million. Voegele said the lumber company property wasn’t available when planning for the new facilities began but is happy about the new deal.

The county is paying $650,000 for the property, which includes a 21,000-square-foot building and 5.25 acres of land. It was was appraised at $1.4 million.

KYTC paid the county $1.4 million for the current facility property on Ky. 393.

Voegele said renovations will have to be completed to make the building usable but it is not yet known how much those renovations will cost. It is also not decided where the new recycling center will be located.

Magistrates agree, however, that the lumber company purchase will save the county a considerable amount of money.

Magistrates vote to accept raise

County magistrates will receive a 1 percent raise in 2012 after voting to accept the figure at Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting.

State officials previously approved a 2.96 percent cost of living adjustment for county officials.

Magistrate Wayne Theiss, finance committee chair, recommended the magistrates only accept a 1 percent increase, keeping in line with the committee’s recommendation to other county agencies.

Three magistrates voted against the raise and said they did not believe they should accept any raise at all.

Magistrate JD Sparks said he feels well-compensated for his position and doesn’t believe a raise is fair when not all county employees received the 1 percent raise this year. Sparks said he intends to donate his raise to charity.

Magistrate Michael Logsdon said many people in the county and across the country are still facing tough economic times. Turning down the raise is a matter of principle, he said.

While magistrates Kevin Eldridge and Bob Dye agree that they are well-compensated, both felt taking the raise showed solidarity between the magistrates and other county employees. 

Eldridge said employees worry if the magistrates don’t accept a raise, county employees will be expected to not accept them in the future — something Eldridge said is not true.

Magistrates Robert Leslie, Sparks and Logsdon voted against the raise. All others voted for it. County officials including the judge-executive, jailer, sheriff, clerk and coroner all receive the 2.96 percent raise automatically.

Clerk, sheriff turn over excess fees

The county clerk and sheriff turned over their excess fees for 2011 to fiscal court Tuesday.

Sheriff Steve Sparrow announced an excess of $111,216 and Clerk Julie Barr announced 339,294.

Magistrate Michael Logsdon said he said the excess fees show the efficiency of both departments and good cooperation with fiscal court.

In other counties, officials will sometimes try to spend all the money in their budget and turn over less excess, he said. Any fees collected that are greater than the office’s budgeted amount are returned to fiscal court annually.