Knott County Fiscal Court votes down budget proposal

HINDMAN, Ky. (WYMT) - An eleventh-hour attempt to get Knott County on the path toward financial stability has failed. The fiscal court voted Friday to strike down key provisions of a balanced budget proposal. Magistrates say they took issue with a proposed occupational tax, as well as a payroll reduction plan that would lay off some county workers.

The Knott County Fiscal Court held a special meeting Friday in an attempt to give first reading to a budget proposal. The measure failed in a vote of 2 to 1.

"We're willing to negotiate, but we're not willing to accept the ones that they've got specifically, we feel like we can do better in other areas," said District 1 Magistrate Jamie Mosley.

While magistrates had hoped some sort of deal could be reached, ultimately they voted to turn down certain key provisions of the spending plan, including an occupational tax and a payroll reduction plan.

They say an occupational tax would only raise a fraction of the deficit by the June 30th deadline. As for the possibility of laying off county workers...

"A lot of them got layed of last season last year. The most ones that they had on there, they had never been layed off," said Mosley, "so I felt like you know hey, the ones who a layoff before, you need to try to split it up. They got to make a living too."

The magistrates say the main problem is what they call the continued influence of Judge-Executive Randy Thompson, who is in federal prison.

"There has to be some rules put in place to where that we're more accountable of the spending, instead of it just being at the judge's discretion in how the monies are spent," said District 4 Magistrate Calvin Waddles.

Now that the budget deal has failed, magistrates say they plan to contact the Department of Local Government and ask for help in breaking up the stalemate.

The D.L.G. has warned the fiscal court it risks facing contempt of court and jail time if it fails to balance its budget by June 30th, the end of the fiscal year.

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