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UPDATE: Floyd Fiscal Court facing possible state takeover

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - UPDATE 12/20/13:

The Floyd County Fiscal Court met again Friday trying to figure out a budget mess and keep the state from taking over.

They are desperate for answers, some blaming a loss in coal severance funds others blaming mismanagement.

But one thing is clear: The Floyd County Fiscal Court is running out of time.

"If they don't take these steps this court will be removed and the state will take over. If the state takes over I promise you, we've seen it happen in other places, everything will get cut," said County Attorney Keith Bartley.

Tempers have ignited over the past week, and as public comments were made Friday it was evident what many want.

"We can find solutions to these problems without fighting amongst ourselves without being made a spectacle on TV, on social media. That's all this has become, and it's a shame," said Alan Rose at the podium.

The court buckled down deciding layoffs are not necessary yet.

They voted to sell the Martin Community Center and surplus vehicles.

On the list of possible cuts was asking fee offices like the sheriff's office to pay for their own health insurance plans, but the court said they know that means the sheriff's office will probably be forced to have several layoffs.

That did not sit well with some folks in the audience.

"You think we should pay for your mistakes and all these law enforcement officers be laid off for it?" asked Pam Blackburn with the sheriff's office.

"I'm not saying that, I'm not saying that," replied Judge Executive R.D. 'Doc' Marshall.

That vote was put off.

But one thing was still on several minds: What went wrong?

Sheriff John K. Blackburn took it upon himself to ask.

"I think, John, to simply answer that it's expenses," said Marshall.

Expenses, said the judge, that kept coming with no increase in revenue.

Leaving them with tough choices to make.

They have also decided to contract out the jail's food services, saving an estimated $70,000 per year.

They voted to cut county employee overtime unless it is an emergency.

On Wednesday the court voted to park all county vehicles and shut off county cell phones.

The court called for another special meeting on December 30.

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ORIGINAL STORY 12/18/13:

There is a grim picture of the Floyd County budget.

The Fiscal Court recently learned they are hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and state officials met with them Wednesday warning of a possible takeover.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the Floyd County Fiscal Court's budget is like a ticking bomb.

"We are at a low point with coal severance money. It is gradually disappearing," said Floyd County Judge Executive R.D. 'Doc' Marshall.

The court learned in a heated meeting last week that they have to make up for nearly $500,000 dollars.

"The county judge-executive and the county's treasurer met with the magistrates and myself, clerk, sheriff's department and basically said at this point the county would be completely insolvent by February or March of 2013," said Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley.

Representatives from the Department for Local Government were at Wednesday's meeting basically warning the Fiscal Court to figure it out by the next fiscal year or the state will take over.

"I've been quite outspoken about it. In my opinion it's total mismanagement of the county judge's office," said Bartley.

But no matter where the fault lies something has to be done, including probable layoffs of county employees.

County officials decided Wednesday to park all county vehicles and shut off all county cell phones.

They voted to hold other items until the regular scheduled meeting Friday.

"You cannot have, go from a $17 million budget down to a 15 and continue spending at the 17 level," said Marshall.

Now the Fiscal Court is left scrambling to find something to do before they lose all control.

The end of this budget year is June 30, 2014.


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