Come July, Kentucky Capital Development Corp. may have to temporarily shut its doors.
In March, President/CEO Terri Bradshaw presented KCDC’s proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget.
Should city and county governments continue to fund the Kentucky Capital Development Corp. at current levels in the coming fiscal year?
County ordinance requires KCDC to submit a budget proposal for approval by April 1.
On March 26, Bradshaw hoped the fiscal court would vote to approve the budget, which is a continuation of the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Each year, the city and county split the cost of funding KCDC by contributing $115,000 each.
Bradshaw said the total proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year is $232,000. The extra $2,000 not covered by the city and county comes from interest.
In March, Magistrate Sherry Sebastian said she would like to wait until she had a chance to hear the rest of the county departments' budgetary needs.
County Attorney Rick Sparks urged the court to vote to approve the budget.
“This court is going to cause these agencies a huge amount of trouble,” Sparks said. “... By continuing to kick the can and pass this down to the end, this lack of action is going to have serious ramifications in this agency and this court. If there’s a problem with (the budget), then fix the problem.”
Judge-Executive Huston Wells agreed with Sparks.
“I think it would be totally unfair to any agency, including our own, because we were late in deciding or we decided at the last minute on a budget that they had to wait a month to get their paycheck,” Wells said. “I don’t think that’s fair, especially to an agency that we have to rely on to bring businesses in to make our community grow.”
Bradshaw said in order for KCDC’s board to approve a budget in time for the next fiscal year, she needed the court’s approval by the court’s May 15 meeting.
If the court had any changes it wanted made to the budget, she would need to know that as soon as possible so the changes could be made and Bradshaw could represent the budget before the May 15 deadline.
Wells decided KCDC’s proposed budget would be brought to a vote on May 15. However, that didn’t happen.
During Friday’s Franklin County Fiscal Court meeting, magistrates again decided to postpone approving KCDC’s budget.
While discussing the next steps in the planning and approval process for the county’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget as a whole, Wells reminded the court that it still needed to vote on KCDC’s budget.
Magistrate Lambert Moore said he was ready to vote on it.
Sebastian again said she would rather vote on it at the same time as the whole budget since she does not want to put one entity over the entire county budget.
Magistrate Scotty Tracy agreed.
Bradshaw said KCDC’s next board meeting is Tuesday and the board needs the budget approved by the county by then in order for the KCDC board to approve the budget in time for the next fiscal year.
If the budget isn’t approved by then, KCDC would have to shut down and the three people on KCDC’s payroll would have to go seek unemployment benefits.
“The problem with that is that we are self-insured, which means we are required to pay our unemployment insurance claims,” Bradshaw told The State Journal after the fiscal court meeting. “They do not come from the unemployment insurance trust.”
Bradshaw also told the court that during the meeting.
This isn’t the first time a delay in approving the budget caused issues for KCDC. Wells and Bradshaw mentioned the court put KCDC in this same situation last year.
“As I mentioned during the meeting, last year they did not approve our budget allotment until the last week of June,” Bradshaw said. “Therefore, because of our requirements for scheduling special meetings and the need to have the new amount approved by the KCDC board, then approved by the city and county, we did not get a budget approved until late July.
“I asked staff to work during that time, without the ability to pay them, with good faith that they would be paid later. They did. Considering the circumstances with the pandemic, I will not ask them to do that again this year.”
During the meeting, Bradshaw told the court she wouldn’t ask her staff to work unpaid.
“KCDC is an important entity in our community and we can’t afford for them to shut down for a month,” Wells told the court.
After discussing the issue for nearly 30 minutes, and debating whether to vote on KCDC’s budget at the May 22 fiscal court budget meeting, no decision was made.
“I’m tired of dealing with this,” Wells said. “Terri, I apologize to you, and I apologize to your board and all of that. I’m sorry that this has to be so difficult. I was hoping it wasn’t going to be difficult."
After the meeting, Bradshaw told The State Journal that closing KCDC’s office for any amount of time would be bad for the community.
“To stop us from working for any amount of time at all, during a crisis of this proportion, would delay the community’s ability to assist employers as they get back to work and recruit new employers to replace permanently lost jobs,” Bradshaw said. “I know it seems that everything has come to a standstill, but I assure you it has not. We are actively working on two projects right now that would provide hundreds of jobs to our community and tens of billions of dollars of investment.”
The Franklin County Fiscal Court will meet next Friday at 11 a.m. for a special meeting on the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. The court is expected to do a first reading on the proposed budget during that meeting.
The meeting will be streamed on Frankfort Plant Board Cable 10 and on the Franklin County Fiscal Court page at facebook.com/fcfcky