Big wins for counties in the state budget
The various state budget bills made their way to final passage this week. Legislators worked until the final moments of Wednesday to pass their priority bills by midnight in order to preserve their ability to override vetoes for any bills the Governor rejects after legislators leave for veto recess until April 13.
The Executive Branch Budget (HB 1) is one where the partnership between counties and the state is recognized and strengthened as evidenced by the investments made in counties. Your conversations with legislators are critical in educating legislators on needs and challenges, and ultimately getting bills passed. This is by far the most robust state budget seen in many years.
The state budget is currently awaiting a signature or veto by the governor, or he can choose to take no action, and it becomes law within ten days. The final two days of the session are April 13 and 14. Stay tuned to kaco.org for a breakdown of all budget-related bills as they are passed.
- $500,000 in FY23 and $250,000 in FY24 support the establishment of the Outlier Audit Assistance Program:
- A sheriff or county clerk audit exceeding 150% of the state average of the preceding fiscal year audit cost for its type would be eligible for the “outlier” fund to help cover their audit costs.
- Reduces the cost to counties for all county clerk and sheriff audits from 100 percent to 50 percent for FY23 and FY24 and appropriates $2.25 million in each year to cover the increased cost to the Auditor’s office.
- $4.00 increase in the per diem reimbursement rate for housing state inmates in the county jail, from the current $31.34 per day to $35.34.
- $15 million in FY23 for jail arraignment equipment grants through the Department for Local Government (DLG). Requires DLG to coordinate with the Kentucky Jailer's Association to implement a statewide video arraignment system within county jails that is compatible with technology used by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
- $250 million in FY23 from the State’s portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for a Drinking Water and Wastewater Grant program, which will be allocated to each county based on population.
- $10 million in FY23 from the general fund to establish the Water Management Assistance Fund to provide assistance for capital and non-capital expenses of governmental entities that provide drinking water and wastewater services to the public.
- $35 million in FY23 from the State’s portion of ARPA for regional water supply infrastructure projects related to the Ford Blue Oval SK Battery Park in Hardin County, to be distributed to the county fiscal courts for regional transmission water supply lines:
- $5,000,000 for Bullitt County Fiscal Court;
- $10,000,000 for Hardin County Fiscal Court;
- $10,000,000 for Meade County Fiscal Court; and
- $10,000,000 for Nelson County Fiscal Court
- $1.1 million in FY23 and FY24 to establish an Office for Broadband under the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. HB 315 establishes the Office for Broadband with a focus on unserved and underserved projects, and makes improvements to the Broadband Deployment Fund.
- $25 million in FY24 for grants to county clerks for e-recording.
- $12.5 million in both FY23 and FY24 for grants to county clerks to purchase election equipment.
Court Security Officers
- An increase in the court security reimbursement rate to $15/hr. To be eligible for this enhanced rate, deputies providing services must be paid at least $10/hour. If deputies are paid less than $10/hr, the reimbursement rate will default to the statutory rate of $8/hr.
- $549,800 in FY23 and FY24 for the Rocket Docket program.
- $1.9 million in FY23 and FY24 for retirement costs.
- $2.9 million in FY23 and $3.0 million in FY24 for additional positions.
- $75,000 in FY23 and FY24 for expert witnesses.
- Salary increment for County Attorneys based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
- $1.3 million in FY23 and $1.4 million in FY24 for the Rocket Docket program.
- $2.4 million in FY23 and FY24 for additional positions.
- $643,200 in FY23 and $547,100 in FY24 for the conversion of four part-time Commonwealth's Attorneys to full-time status.
- Salary increment for Commonwealth’s Attorneys based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
- $8.5 million in FY23 and FY24 for an aerial mapping project.
- $3.1 million in FY24 to purchase computers, tablets, scanners, and other technical equipment needed to modernize the county property valuation offices.
- $1.6 million in FY23 and FY24 to support the continuation of mandatory services.
- Salary increment for PVAs based on the same increment provided for eligible state employees, an 8 percent increase effective July 1, 2022.
- $100 million in FY23 to support approved development projects under the Kentucky Product Development Initiative which will be allocated to each county based on population, with Jefferson County’s share discounted by 50 percent.
- HB745 establishes the program.
- The allocation by county shall serve as a funding cap for all projects within that county, and no county’s share shall be reallocated unless by express authority of the General Assembly.
Coal and Mineral Severance
- LGEA: $34.8 million in FY2023 and $35.2 million in FY2024.
- LGEDF: $37.4 million in FY23 and $39.8 million in FY2024.
- Returns 100% of coal receipts to coal counties
Area Development Districts
- Increased funding for the Joint Funding Administration Program in support of the area development districts to $3.9 million in FY23 and FY24. Previous budgets appropriated $1.9 million each year.
- $250,000 in FY23 and FY24 for Area Development Districts to match the increased Appalachian Regional Commission grants.
- $250,000 in FY23 and FY24 for Area Development Districts to match the increased Delta Regional Authority grants.
State Medical Examiner
- $7.5 million in FY23 and FY24 to support the operations of the Office of the Kentucky State Medical Examiner.
- $3.7 million in FY23 and FY24 to support additional positions within the Office of the Kentucky State Medical Examiner and provide salary increases for forensic autopsy technicians, medical examiners, and the Chief Medical Examiner.
- This funding will prevent unfunded mandates from being pushed down to the Coroner’s office.
- $150 million in bond funds in FY24 for improvement to state parks, contingent on the Department of Parks’ submission and approval by the General Assembly of a comprehensive statewide proposal which must be presented to the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue by December 1, 2022.
- The proposal must include:
- Recommendations for private and/or local government partnerships;
- Detailed financial information regarding return on investment resulting from partnerships;
- A 50 percent match of the state contribution from private and/or local government partners; and
- Detailed plans for broadband deployment/connectivity in Parks that are unserved or underserved as defined in KRS 224A.011.
- The proposal may also include a plan of action regarding disposal of property to local governments.
Other Provisions Affecting Counties
- One time allocations for Community Development Projects listed on pages 11-13 of the bill.
- $455,000 in FY23 and FY24 to support capital improvement grants to the Local Agricultural Fair Aid Program. This is an increase of $155,000 per year.