CJ

Pulaski County Fiscal Court took the first steps Tuesday in adding new fees and court costs to civil and criminal cases heard in Pulaski County Circuit and District courts.

Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley oversaw the first reading of a new ordinance that would allow the county to collect fees on court cases for the purpose of paying for expenses of the facilities.

Kelley said one of the reasons for the new fees would be to raise money to make repairs to the older courthouse.

Tacking on the new fees could result in an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 in revenue, based on the number of court cases, Kelley said.

The fees could have been enacted from the time since the Pulaski County Judicial Center was built, but they haven’t been collected before now.

Kelley estimated that the county may have lost out on $400,000 over they years because the fees had not been approved by fiscal court.

“With the uncertainty in our county right now, I want to go ahead and enact these.” he said.

If approved, the ordinance would add between $10 and $25 to court costs and filing fees. The most expensive additions are $25 fees added to court costs in civil cases in Circuit Court, court costs to the defendant in Circuit Court criminal cases, and filing fees in civil cases appealed from Circuit Court to the Court of Appeals.

A second reading of the ordinance is scheduled for a later meeting.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, magistrates passed a resolution in support of legislation that is in front of the Kentucky General Assembly that would enact road fund stabilization.

The state of Kentucky collects tax based on the wholesale price of gasoline. When the price drops, as it has done over the past few months, the state loses out on funds that are allocated to maintain roadways.

“For every penny the price goes down, the state loses $30 million in revenue,” Kelley said.

The resolution means that Pulaski County approves of the attempt to create a “floor,” or a fixed rate for the lowest amount of revenue collected through sales, so that the state won’t lose out on money that it says would be vital for road safety.

Kelly said that the county has already lost 20 percent of the funding for road aid from the state. Supporting the stabilization is an attempt at preventing more loss.

Several counties across the state have already passed similar resolutions  supporting the legislation.

In other road safety business, Kelley said he “couldn’t be more pleased” with the way the road department and other emergency personnel handled the storms that swept through the area in the past month.

“These guys were risking their lives to make sure the roads stayed clear, and we need to be more grateful,” Kelley said. “Your road may not be cleared right away, but we’re working on it.”

Kelley said that salt may melt the ice, but it destroys the road surfaces, so workers had to gage how much to put on roads.

Kelley also recognized the work put in by the police, fire, emergency crews and volunteers during the winter weather.

Also recognized during the Fiscal Court meeting was the Southwestern High School Cheerleaders for bringing home a national title from the Universal Cheerleading Association championships.

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