Barren County Courthouse, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. (Grace Ramey/

GLASGOW – Barren County Judge-Executive Micheal Hale told magistrates this week that fiscal court needs to keep a close eye on the county’s 2020-21 budget, which totals $14.9 million. The county’s 2019-20 budget was $15.5 million.

“We need to watch any and all expenditures,” he said Tuesday. “I’m going on record to say right now folks we don’t need a tax increase. We need to live within our means. And I feel strongly that we have the court to make that happen.”

He also told fiscal court that the administrative committee will be keeping a close eye on the county’s 2020-21 budget. The committee will be meeting in mid-August to review July invoices.

Barren County Clerk Helena Birdwell spoke to fiscal court about amending her office’s 2020-21 budget and said the reason for amending it is because of a decrease in revenues.

Gov. Andy Beshear has allowed the deadline for renewing motor vehicle registrations to be extended to Oct. 1, and because of that extension, plus others, Birdwell said her office’s revenues are down.

“It’s not that we’re not going to get the money. It’s just that it’s not here yet,” she said.

Birdwell had $11.6 million in total projected revenues, but asked that her budget be amended down to $11.4 million. Her budget is off by about $18,000 from where it was this same time in 2019, she said.

The registrations on more than 1,900 motor vehicles in Barren County were supposed to have been renewed in March but still have not been renewed because of the deadline extension.

“That is hurting our budget,” Birdwell said.

There is no penalty for paying late, she said.

“If your taxes were due in March and you paid them in July, it is going to be the exact same amount that it was in March,” she said.

Because of the deadline extensions, Birdwell said her office’s budget numbers were off a little.

“It’s not bad, but our numbers were off enough (that) we needed to do an amendment. We feel strongly that we will make this up when we get through these extensions that the governor currently has in place,” Birdwell said, adding she hopes to be able to recoup the loss in revenue by the next quarter.

Fiscal court agreed to amend Birdwell’s budget.

Earlier in the meeting, fiscal court agreed to pay all claims as presented for the month of June, except for four.

Those four claims were submitted for payment by the Barren County Detention Center totaling $3,425 and were for food prep supplies, overnight stays and training from 2019.

Magistrate Tim Coomer brought the claims to fiscal court’s attention when reviewing the county’s bills for June prior to approval. He asked Jailer Aaron Bennett to provide an explanation.

“It was an oversight,” Bennett said.

County Treasurer Denise Riddle provided further explanation and said the claims were initially paid with funds from the jail’s commissary fund but actually were supposed to have been paid with funds from the jail fund.

“The jail commissary (fund) is asking for reimbursement from the jail fund,” Riddle said, adding the mistake was realized by the jail’s bookkeepers when reviewing financial records.

Hale stressed that the bills were from 2019 and should have been paid with funds from the county’s 2019-20 budget and not the 2020-21 budget.

“Today, I’m not prepared to pay a 2019 bill,” he said. “That’s where I’m at.”

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