By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
Whitley County plans to save some cash.
The decision was reached Tuesday during the regular December meeting of the Whitley County Fiscal Court.
Currently, the largest debt load held by the county is the new jail and the old post office. Judge Executive Pat White, Jr. said with interest rates so low, it could save the county as much as $1.7 million over the life of the loans if they refinance these debts now.
Representatives from two companies made presentations during the meeting: Dwight Salsbury, with Ross, Sinclaire and Associates, based in Cincinnati with offices in Kentucky, and Michael George and Lonnie Campbell, with Civic Finance Advisors, based in Lexington.
The representatives outlined refinancing possibilities for the Fiscal Court, leaving the final decision in the hands of county magistrates.
One requirement needed was an ordinance outlining the court’s plans. Salsbury said he was not prepared with an ordinance.
County Treasurer Jeffrey Gray voiced his approval of the refinance. “I recommend to the court to definitely refinance,” he said. “(We need to) try to improve as much cash flow as we possibly can.”
Second District Magistrate David Myers said members of the finance committee were all behind refinancing, but was not as concerned of cash flow. “I know cash flow is a problem,” he said. “But it’s always a problem.
“We represent the taxpayers,” Myers continued. “(We have) the opportunity to show them we are genuine about saving them money.”
The cash flow problem, according to Gray, stemmed from elections not budgeted, which occurred during the current fiscal year. He explained that each election costs the county approximately $50,000 and that only $10,000 gets reimbursed from the state government.
“The cash flow problem is more dire than you understand,” White said to Myers. “We had seven elections over a year and only anticipated two.”
Once discussion wound down, Fuson motioned to accept one refinancing option offered by Civic Finance Advisors, which would ultimately save the county $1.7 million for the duration of the loan. It would also have the approximate $400,000 debt for the old post office paid off by 2016.
White seconded Fuson’s motion. The court was unanimous in its decision. George said a “realistic timeline” has the full refinancing process beginning in February 2013 and taking two weeks to complete.
In other Fiscal Court action:
— The Whitley County Sheriff’s Department budget was approved unanimously Tuesday. Chief Deputy Sheriff Kenny Fuson was on hand to answer budget questions from court magistrates. White asked about the possibility to add audio and/or video equipment to the sheriff’s department arsenal “to protect the county from liability.”
Fuson explained it costs approximately $3,000 per patrol car to retrofit it with current audio/video equipment, and “there’s no way we can do it out of our current budget.”
White offered a $65 digital video recorder solution, which Fuson said the department currently has but they find it “unreliable.”
White said “it was worth looking into” to amend the budget to accommodate some of these expenses.
Fuson said there are currently no grant monies to pursue for this equipment, and Myers wondered if the court had any avenues to pursue grant funding.
White motioned to approve the sheriff department budget, with a second from Myers.
— Two county residents were appointed to three-year terms on the Whitley County Cooperative Extension Council after the terms of Bessie Siler and Ed Farmer end on Dec. 31. The new members are Lorene Bowling and Barry Arnett, both of Williamsburg. White motioned to approve the new appointees, with a second from Fuson. The court was unanimous in its decision.
— Buc Road will be widened after a unanimous decision by the Whitley County Fiscal Court Tuesday.
A petition was brought forth to the court to widen a portion of the roadway. “There’s a bad curve halfway up the hill,” Wells said. White added there was already a guard rail placed in the same area of the roadway. “Everyone on the road is excited,” he said. Wells motioned for the widening, with a second from Fuson.
— Two roads in the county officially received their new names. Johnny Philpot Road and Johnny Philpot Spur Road are now B & G Road and Kerr Court, respectively. In two separate actions, Wells twice made the motion to finalize each change, with two seconds from Fuson. The court was unanimous in both decisions.
— A 1987 Chevrolet van will be sent to the scrapyard after no one bid on the vehicle. Wells motioned for the action, with a second from Brown. The court was unanimous in its decision.
— A second reading of a new ordinance concerning carrying concealed weapons on government property was unanimously approved by the court Tuesday. The new ordinance also repeals an old ordinance. According to White, the new ordinance follows general rules already established. “It falls back on the normal rules of carrying concealed weapons on government property,” he said.
Brown motioned for approval, with a second from Fuson.