SHEPHERDSVILLE – Jerry Summers can sleep a little better these nights.

            Yes, the primary election may have been part of what kept him up at night.

            But, for the Bullitt County Judge/Executive, knowing that you have the money to do what local government needs to do is the biggest part of those restful nights.

            The 2022-23 proposed budget has over $47.6 million  in appropriations, up over $8 million from the current fiscal year.

            Part of that is due to nearly $8 million in American Relief Program Act funds. But a whole part of the difference this coming fiscal year will be that the county has no debt.

            Thanks to a decision several years ago by Bullitt Fiscal Court, to double the 5 percent insurance premium surcharge, the $26 million in debt has been eliminated.

            That gives county leaders around $3 million to spend annually in its general fund. At the same time, when July 1 rolls around, the county has done as promised – it will roll back the surcharge to the original 5 percent rate, set over 20 years ago.

            “We can provide more services,” Summers said of the budget.

            With conservative projections on the expected revenue, county finance officer Keith Griffee is pleased that his goal of having a $4 million reserve account has become reality after eight years of hoping.

            The carryover is budgeted at $500,000 but Griffee said that could be even more when the books close at the end of June.

            Across the board, county employees will see a $1 per hour pay increase, according to Summers.

            Directors will earn at least $50,000 with most getting higher increases. Griffee said there has been a desire over the years to make the local supervisors more comparable with surrounding counties.

            Elected officials have salaries governed by cost-of-living increases and based on the years in service.

            The general fund will have a budget of $18.4 million.

            In the county judge’s office, the biggest change will be $248,000 set aside for computer software. Summers said the county is working on a system where all the departments are connected with access to needed information.

            He believes that the software will help not only the staff but also the public in eliminating some of the need to visit various offices for things like permits.

            In the sheriff’s budget from the county, a total of $1.2 million in salaries will be allocated, an increase of $240,000.

            Summers said this is an opportunity to help sheriff Walter Sholar increase pay to help recruit and to retain deputies.

            The magistrates who begin their next term on Jan. 1, 2023, will see the first pay increase in over 40 years. Magistrates will each earn $25,000 annually, up from the $!6,000 currently being paid.

            In the planning and zoning budget, pay increases are planned for those serving on the two commissions. There is also $40,000 set aside for a consultant to work on the upcoming revision of the comprehensive land-use plan, which must be reapproved or revised every five years.

            Any concerns of the past years for the economic development authority should be erased.

            In the current budget, Griffee’s role as community development director will be part of the $217,000 appropriations. Consultant Bob Fouts would remain in that role.

            There would also be an administrative assistant and the office would continue to lease space in the Porter Building on South Buckman Street.

            The agency does not have a full-time executive director, a role which is filled currently by Fouts.

            For EMS and Emergency Management, money is being appropriated to expand the building on Salt Well Road. Summers said that with the expanding services provided by EMS, additional space is needed.

            Realignment has been done in the code enforcement department with planning director Felicia Harper serving as the leader of both agencies.

            A replacement will be sought for Jim Bozeman, who recently resigned.

            Money is also set aside for a consulting engineer, which was contracted earlier this year. Summers said it would be vital that the county hire someone with proper certification to do inspections on all types of structures.

            Those who visit the animal shelter on Highway 245 know that improvements are needed. Summers said $250,000 was placed into the budget for renovations of the current facility. That could advance into building a whole new structure.

            Funding remains in the budget for several agencies.

            The commitment of $38,000 remains for the Multipurpose CAA, which is housed in a county facility on Frank E. Simon Avenue. Other appropriations will be made to the KRDA ($10,000), Bullitt County History Museum ($6,500), Bullitt County Housing First ($10,000) and the Turnaround Center ($15,000).

            Summers acknowledged that some of those grants were lower than in the past years; however, the county provided a building for Housing First and a vehicle and other items for the Turnaround Center.

            The biggest winner in the general fund will be parks and recreation.

            After several years of being closed, Summers said a contractor has been able to outline needed repairs to reopen the Maryville Pool.

            The budget sets aside $1.4 million for pool work, improvements at the park in Pioneer Village, $70,000 for work on the ball fields behind Roby Elementary and work on the interchange of Interstate 65 and Highway 245.

            The reserve account will be $4 million, an increase of the prior mark of $200,000.

            “That has to do with the judge wanting us to have that type of reserve,” said Griffee.

            “It makes us more secure,” said Summers. “We have the money to get through a disaster until federal help arrives.”

            “I sleep better now,” added Summers.

            Aside from the general fund, money is available for needed items in other departments.

            In the road department, there is a desire to purchase or to lease six dump trucks. It will take up to two years to get the dump trucks if they are ordered today.

            The jail budget, which is prepared by jailer Paul Watkins and turned into fiscal court, will have only a slight increase over the current plan.

            Griffee said Watkins worked to include salary increases for deputies. But there was no increase in the number of employees, which must be approved by fiscal court.

            The jail budget is set at just over $5.4 million for 2022-23, including all the fringe benefits.

            The EMS budget of $7.6 million will be an increase of around $750,000.

            Unlike the past, there are now separate directors for EMS and Emergency Management.

            This added a new line item in EMS. Due to the increasing staff, paramedic and EMT pay coffers increased by $150,000 over the current budget.

            There is also $873,000 set aside for vehicles and ambulances. Summers said the plan is to purchase four ambulances, two to be delivered in the fall and the other two delivered next spring.

            Summers hopes to continue to see the partnership with JCTC and the Bullitt County Public School System to have students take the EMT certification courses. So far, four graduates are with the EMS staff and he hopes to have more come on board this summer.

            Having homegrown EMTs and paramedics will be a key to the long-term success of the EMS program, said Summers.

            Central dispatch, which is under the supervision of the sheriff’s office, will see pay increases for dispatchers. Summers said that this competitive nature for talent is the same as other county departments.

            He also hopes that the career-path program with Bullitt East High will get off the ground in the coming school year.

            The ARPA funds have been  placed in a separate account. The county has $7.9 million anticipated for the 2022-23 budget cycle.

            While there is room to breathe, Summers said that any of the ARPA projects are one-time appropriations. Normal local funding will take care of the day-to-day operations of the county.

            Bullitt Fiscal Court had the first reading of the budget on June 7. And the expected vote on the final reading is set for June 21. State department of local government officials will approve the proposed document before a final vote is taken.

            The new budget will take effect on July 1.