Before approving the purchase of a 2007 Chevrolet truck for the Harlan County Recycling Center in a recent special called meeting, magistrates questioned what funds were being used for the purchase.
Harlan County Solid Waste Supervisor Lakis Mavinidis approached members of the Harlan Fiscal Court asking them to purchase the truck from Creech Chevrolet, in Harlan, for the amount of $15,999.
Mavinidis said he preferred to purchase locally so the vehicle may be serviced easily and it would “save the county money on towing bills” should anything happen to the vehicle.
Magistrates David Kennedy and Jim Roddy questioned where the funds would be coming from to pay for the vehicle. Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop couldn’t specifically say where the funds would come from, but told them it was “found money.”
“I thought Carolyn (Smith) cleaned out all the coal severance money,” said Kennedy. “This purchase is not listed on the agenda, so I don’t think we can do anything on this.”
Grieshop said the purchase would be listed under various reports and coal severance funds would be used for the purchase. He added the purchase is under $20,000 and he has the authority to make the purchase without the court’s approval.
“I just wanted to hear from you guys on this,” said Grieshop.
Harlan County Treasurer Ryan Creech asked if the purchase could be added to the county bills and purchased through that avenue.
“I just want to know where the money is coming from — we need to know,” said magistrate Jim Roddy. “You’re saying coal severance — whose coal severance? Why don’t we go get Carolyn and see where the money is coming from.”
Grieshop said “it wouldn’t do any good to go get Smith because she would have to go back through files and find where she found the money.”
“She found it part out of this and part out of that,” said Grieshop. “It’s not General Fund money.”
Kennedy said it was his understanding the coal severance park fund “was cleaned out” and there was no coal severance money left in that fund. He added the county is looking at purchasing brick dust for the Little League Baseball fields from coal severance park funds, which will run about $2,500 to $2,600.
“That money is gone, so when that comes up next month — or now, for buying that where are we going to be able to find money for that and that kind of stuff that will come in?” asked Kennedy. “I’m alright with buying this truck if Carolyn knows where the money is coming from.”
After a short break, Creech went to Smith’s office, who is Grieshop’s administrative assistant, and returned telling the court Smith told him the county “received approximately $13,000 in a House Bill Project.” He said Smith set aside $7,952 from those funds to purchase a lawn mower to cut grass at parks, which left a balance of $5,087.37. He suggested the remaining funds be used to help with the purchase of the truck, along with funds from the solid waste’s budget to pay the remaining balance.
Mavinidis informed the court he had “checked his numbers” and found that he has approximately $20,000 in his equipment and repairs account. He added he doesn’t foresee any large equipment purchases in the near future so this money could be used to help pay the balance on the purchase of the truck.
The court first approved adding the purchase of the truck into the county’s bills and then a motion was approved to pay the county’s bills.
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