Sep. 28—KNOX COUNTY — Knox County Detention Center employees spoke out and the Knox County Fiscal Court listened, as during Wednesday's meeting, the court approved pay raises for those working at the detention center.
Earlier this year, staff at the detention center went public with a letter asking for pay increases, citing an increase in work duties following the opening of the new detention center. In their letter, the staff said new hires brought on to help curb that demand were brought on at a rate "nearly lower than any job in the county."
During a previous fiscal court meeting, Knox County Jailer Mary Hammons told the court part-time guards at the detention center made $9.38 an hour. She said at that time all but four of the 28 full-time guards at the jail made $11 hour. The other four — lieutenants and captains at the jail — made $12 an hour.
On Wednesday, the court approved giving all full-time employees at the detention center a $1 an hour pay raise and all part-time employees a 62 cent an hour pay raise. 18 full-time senior employees will receive an additional $1 an hour pay raise. The remaining full-time employees will be eligible for the additional dollar per hour after completing six months of service in their positions.
"Full-time personnel will be capped at 33 employees, part-time personnel at 10," noted Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell. "Knox County Detention Center agrees to compensate the Knox County Fiscal Court $15,000 per month from the commissary account to cover medical costs."
After the meeting, Judge Mitchell told The Times-Tribune that during the first year of the new Knox County Detention Center being opened, county officials had to make assumptions on what the jail's budget should be. He said they were fairly close as $969,000 had been budgeted for the jail's for payroll. This year he said that figure was increased to $1.1 million.
"But I looked at it and valued it after that first quarter, they were depleting it to where it wasn't going to stay within budget," he said, noting how overtime claims had eaten into the largest majority of that funding. "We can actually stay within budget now," he added.
The fiscal court later approved setting this year's real property tax rate at 10.9 cents per $100 of assessed value and the personal property tax rate at 24.42 cents. They also approved a motor vehicle tax rate and the watercraft tax rate of 14 cents per $100 of assessed value.
"I will note on here, we've not taken an increase in over, I think it's 23 years," commented Mitchell.
The court then acknowledged tax rates set in special-tax districts established by each entity's individual boards, starting with the ambulance service taxing district, which set its real property tax rate at 4.9 cents, personal property tax rate at 10 cents, and motor vehicle and water craft tax rates at 6.64 cents.
The county library's tax rates remained unchanged from last year with its real property tax rate set at 8.9 cents. The personal property tax rate will remain at 20 cents, while the motor vehicle and watercraft tax rates remained at 2.4 cents. The Knox County Extension Service's tax rates also remained unchanged from last year, set at a real property tax rate of 3.5 cents, a personal property tax rate at 7.89 cents, and motor vehicle and watercraft tax rates at 2.24.
The county's health department set its real property, personal property, motor vehicle tax rate and watercraft rates all at 4 cents per $100 of assessed value, the rate it was set to previously. The Knox County School District has set its real property tax rate at 52.4 cents, and the personal property tax rate is set at 52.8 cents, both a decrease from last year's rates.The school district's motor vehicle tax rate was set to 50.2. There is no watercraft tax rate set by the school district.
The Artemus Fire Department district set a real property tax rate of 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The hospital's taxing district set a 7 cent per $100 of assessed value tax rate for the real property rate, the personal property rate, the motor vehicle rate, and the watercraft rate. Knox County's soil conservation taxing district set a 2.2 cent per $100 of assessed value tax rate on real property.
In other county news, the fiscal court approved:
-County trick or treat hours for Saturday, October 30, for 5:30 p.m. — 7 p.m.
-The county attorney's delinquent tax report for the month of August in the amount of $124,528.61.
-Closing the Knox County Courthouse Friday, October 8, due to the Daniel Boone Festival, which is scheduled to take place in downtown Barbourville the week of Oct. 3-9.
-An agreement with the Center for Rural Development for a project on KY-1527, in an effort to provide fiber internet services to the area. The court also approved a bid for the project from OnPoint Broadband in the amount of $249,600.
-Resolution 20210922-01, a county road aid agreement between the Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department of Rural and Municipal Aid and the Knox County Fiscal Court, and Judge Mitchell to sign any documents related to the agreement.
-Resolution 20210922-02 authorizing the county to the file for the Kentucky Local Government Economic Development Fund (LGEDF) House Bill 192 project proposal grant application for industrial access improvements. If awarded, the funds will be used to build an access road near TCO, LLC located on the Corbin bypass.
-Resolution 20210922-03, which adopts a memorandum of agreement between the Knox County Fiscal Court and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Department of Highways in the amount of $43,000 for emergency waterline repairs. Mitchell said the broken water line was located on KY-225 and was damaged in a cleanup effort.
-A bid from DWB Builders Inc. in the amount of $233,000 for a metal framed building to be placed at the county's new road department facility.
-A motion acknowledging a proclamation previously signed by Judge Mitchell proclaiming Tuesday, October 19 as "Kentucky Women in Agriculture Day."
Kentucky is home to more than 40,000 female farmers that make up nearly one-fourth of all farm operations in the commonwealth.