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Fiscal court considers joining city to use CARES Act funds to help local businesses

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 — Nelson Fiscal Court and the City of Bardstown are considering taking some of the federal COVID-19 relief funds each will receive to create a new grant program aimed at helping businesses in the city and county that have been impacted by the shutdown of their businesses due to the pandemic.

DEAN WATTS

Judge Executive Dean Watts said the county is eligible to receive about $1.5 million in CARES Act funding. Watts said he and Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton have been discussing taking $150,000 from their respective CARES Act funding and pooling it in an effort to provide grant money to city and county businesses affected by the pandemic.

The county can’t use the CARES Act funding for budgeted expenses, he explained. The money is aimed at reimbursing local governments for the expenses they have incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money could be used, for example, to pay for the overtime required by the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office to monitor the county’s first COVID-19 patient who initially refused to quarantine at home.

Watts said he is waiting for additional clarification about the flexibility of the use of the funds.

The magistrates approved a resolution Tuesday authorizing Watts to apply for the CARES Act funding.

SAMANTHA BRADY

TOURISM BUDGET. Fiscal court approved the tourist commission’s proposed 2020-21 budget, which featured cuts across the board due to decreased revenue from the county’s hotel and restaurant taxes.

The budget included a cut of $332,000 in advertising and market costs, a cut that Samantha Brady, tourism director, said “were a little hard to swallow, but necessary.”

In April, the hotel tax receipts were down by 85 percent; restaurant tax revenue was down by 45 percent. With so many unknowns regarding tourism moving forward, Brady said she felt it prudent to present a conservative budget.

If revenues improve through the coming budget yet, Brady said the extra income will be used for additional tourism advertising.

EMA/EMS REPORT. EMA Director Joe Prewitt advised the court that the ambulance serivce has distributed 45,700 masks and 712 gallons of hand sanitizer to 142 local businesses. The supplies were part of the joint city-county effort to provide supplies to businesses needing these items prior to re-opening in accordance to Gov. Andy Beshears “Safe at Work” guidelines.

Including the supplies that have been distributed to first-responders, healthcare workers, and essential businesses since the start of the pandemic, the county’s EMA office has given out 158,135 masks and 1,035 gallons of hand sanitizer.

AMBULANCE REPAIRS. An ambulance operated by Nelson County EMS was returning recently from Louisville with the engine threw a rod. The court authorized the estimated cost of $7,778 to have American Tire replace the engine with a remanufactured one.

Prewitt also said that EMS received private donations to cover the cost of green EMS-logo t-shirts. The EMS crews have the option of wearing the green t-shirts in honor of Kentuckians who have died due to the COVID-19 virus.

In other business, the court:

— approved low bidders to supply the county with materials like rock, pipe, concrete and asphalt paving. The cost of asphalt is about 13 percent lower now than last year, County Engineer Brad Spalding told the court.

— approved the appointment of David Avis to the Property Assessment Appeals Board

— landfill manager John Greenwell said the county’s recycling program will start again once the Guthrie Opportunity Center’s recycling operation opens back up.

NEXT UP. Nelson Fiscal Court will next meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, 2020. Watts said he is currently planning to hold that meeting in the fiscal courtroom on the second floor of the Old Courthouse.

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