CATLETTSBURG Essential workers and volunteer first-responders in Boyd County will receive a bonus using American Rescue Plan Act funds this year and next year.

After some heated discussion and debate, the county commission settled on a $1,000 take-home bonus for employees of the county, sheriff’s department, detention center, emergency services, ambulance services, 911, health department and volunteers of unincorporated fire departments. 

The volunteer fire departments will each receive a check along with the recommendation that each department doles out the money evenly to its volunteers, but ultimately it’s up to each individual department on how it’s disbursed.

The final motion actually entails $1,265.50 per person — after social security, Medicare, federal and state taxes, and retirement are subtracted, that’s $1,000 apiece. 

Boyd County will receive about $4.5 million through ARPA this year and another $4.5 million next year. The bonuses will occur again next year, according to the motion.

The initial motion was $1,000 before anything was taken out. Commissioner Larry Brown objected, much to the surprise of Judge-Executive Eric Chaney.

Brown urged Commissioner Keith Watts to amend the motion to $2,573 — which would allow each to bring home an extra $2,000.

“When I spoke to you yesterday, you were very excited about this,” Chaney said to Brown. “You were very excited about the $1,000, you were very excited that we were going above and beyond what other counties have done across the nation. … I wish this was something you would’ve brought to my attention yesterday. That’s why I brief everybody on this stuff before we move forward. You’re asking for a $1,573 increase.”

Chaney later confronted Brown further as he tried to calculate how it would affect the total allotment. 

“You have no idea how much this is going to cost, yet you want to propose an increase that we already had set in a court meeting when it could’ve been handled on a phone call,” Chaney said.

At $1,265.50, the total ARPA funds used for these bonuses will be close to $630,000.

Alcohol fee

Although Brown opposed, the second reading of the alcohol regulatory fee ordinance was passed.

Brown questioned if the 3% regulatory fee was even permitted under KRS 243.075, but County Attorney Phil Hedrick provided clarification from the back row of the fiscal courtroom. 

“It’s a difficult statute to read and understand,” he acknowledged. 

Essentially, the fee is only enforced in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Updates, bids

After the commission approved two bids for work on the Boyd County Convention and Arts Center, County Administrator Justin Pruitt provided details about the project. The bids were for exterior painting ($46,000) and “getting back to a more polished look” on the floor (Tri-State Floor Covering; $67,200).

Scott Noel, of Summit Engineering, supplied updates on upcoming bids for a few projects.

Summit Engineering reviewed final markups on plans for the animal shelter. Noel said they plan to advertise for bids Oct. 25, and open bidding on Nov. 16. The same dates apply to road department renovation.

As for the new convention center at Camp Landing, the initial bid package “came out so that we can do the exterior improvements and then turn around and focus on the interior.”

The farmers market — also set for placement on the Camp Landing property — will be ready to advertise for bidding Nov. 8, he said, and open on Nov. 30.

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat in unincorporated Boyd County areas — basically everywhere aside from Catlettsburg and Ashland — is set for Saturday, Oct. 30, from 6-8 p.m. Chaney conducted a poll on social media to arrive at that date.

Both Ashland’s and Catlettsburg’s Trick or Treat will be Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Other business

The Boyd County Fiscal Court also approved the hiring of Jason Boyd and Gary Ray Dean full-time to the road department, and approved the reappointment of Rick Tackett to the Sanitation District No. 2 board.

Chaney also raved about the county’s road workers, specifically their production since getting a paver in August. They’ve repaired 30 roads using 2,000 tons of asphalt since then. 

“There’s a lot of roadwork that has taken place, and none of this counts FEMA work,” he said.


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