COLA adjustment added to Lewis budget

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]

VANCEBURG — Cost of living increases and the addition of a road to the county road system were on the agenda at Lewis County Fiscal Court Monday.

The court discussed the increased cost of living in the county. Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel said the county has been able to compensate employees with salary increases for several years. According to Ruckel, the consumer price index has increased this year.

“This year the CPI was 2.1 (percent) and we typically try to do the CPI as our cost of living increase,” Ruckel said.

Changes to employees’ salaries as a result of the cost of living increase has an effect on the county’s budget, a change Ruckel thinks will be difficult.

“We were worried about giving a raise there in the beginning because the budget was so tight, but after we crunched some numbers and looked at it again we were able to do it,” he said. “It’s just not the CPI that we have to increase, because any time that someone’s salary goes up, then you also have retirement and all of the other benefits that are affected as well.”

During the meeting, the court approved full-time salary employees to receive the 2.1 increase, with a quarter raise for those who receive an hourly rate. Ruckel said this change will not negatively impact the county budget.

Another topic of discussion was the inclusion of May Hollow Road into the county road system. Ruckel said residents of the road came to the fiscal court around six months ago to ask the county to adopt the road.

“We have certain regulation that we have to follow,” Ruckel said. “(The residents) have all helped us follow those, they had to dot things on their own — the land owners — to be able to bring it up to where we could look at it to make sure it follows under our regulations.”

The court approved drawing up rights of way for the road and collaborating with land owners to continue to work toward adopting May Hollow Road. Once part of the road system, the county will maintain the road while receiving additional funds from the state to compensate for the added expenses.

In other business, Wendy Mitchell of the County 911 dispatch center is moved from part-time to full-time employment, Curtis Brewer of the Lewis County Detention Center will also be moved from part-time to full-time and John Campbell will be set for part-time employment at the Detention Center.

The adult detention agreement with Rowan County Fiscal Court was re-approved, which allows the transfer of inmates from Lewis County Detention Center to Rowan County Detention Center, should Lewis County become overcrowded.

An amendment was made to the Central Kentucky 911 agreement, which the network will take in additional costs from the services it receives from other agencies, since Lewis County belongs to the network. The added costs are not expected to affect the budget.

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]