Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

February 26, 2014

Olive Hill Council, mayor spar over utility profits

Feb. 26, 2014 — Budget talks dominated the discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting of Olive Hill City Council.

Members of Council sparred with one another about how the utility agency’s profits from the past fiscal year should be spent.

At the beginning of the meeting, the city’s audit report was presented and it was revealed that the utility system posted a $102,000 profit during the past fiscal year.

Under state law, those funds can be transferred to the city’s general fund for unrestricted use.

Mayor Kenny Fankell then presented a budget amendment to transfer slightly more than $60,000 from the utility fund to the general fund in order to make up for budget cuts earlier in the year.

“We’ve had the worst winter in years and the street department is $8,000 in the hole. We need to put this money back from where we took it earlier,” said Fankell.

Council member Glenn Meade disagreed with that proposal, recommending the money be reinvested into the city’s aging electric infrastructure.

“If you keep pushing the limits of this system, you’re going to wind up having a catastrophe and the entire city will be without electricity,” said Meade. “We need to bring reliability to our utilities.”

Council member Randy Tackett also spoke in opposition of transferring the money from the utility company to the general fund.

“We set a budget and we have to stick to it. You can’t spend money that you don’t have” he said.

Tackett, Meade and Enoch Hicks voted against the budget amendment, while Matt Kiser, Allen Stapleton and Jerry Callihan voted in favor of it.

Fankell was unable to break the tie, however, because the budget amendment was presented as an emergency ordinance. Emergency measures require a two-thirds majority vote of the City Council in order to pass.

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