Thefifth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government was held on Wednesday, November 16, 2005, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Damon Thayer, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Damon Thayer, Co-Chair; Representative Steve Riggs, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, and Ernie Harris; Representatives Mike Denham, David Floyd, Derrick Graham, Jimmy Higdon, Charlie Hoffman, Dennis Keene, Stan Lee, Thomas M McKee, Reginald K Meeks, Brad Montell, David Osborne, Arnold Simpson, Ancel Smith, and Jim Wayne.
Guests: Vince Lang, Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association; Bert May, Neil Hackworth, Jerry Deaton, Phil Huddleston, and Craig Maffet, Kentucky League of Cities; Richard Tanner, Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association; Bill May, Kentucky Sheriffs' Association; John Aubrey, Jefferson County Sheriff; Jerry Wagoner, Fleming County Sheriff; Dick Surrells, Kenton County Sheriff's Office; Kristen Webb and Angele Robinson, Finance and Administration Cabinet; Wade Helm, City of LaGrange; Les Russell, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office; Sam Crawford and Tony Sholar, Kentucky Farm Bureau; Ron Wolf, Louisville Metro Government; and David Thompson, Kentucky Press Association.
LRC Staff: Jamie Franklin, Donna Gaines, Mark Mitchell, Joe Pinczewski-Lee, Alex Barber, Donna Holiday, Ann Cheek, Tom Willis, and Cheryl Walters.
Upon the motion of Representative Simpson, seconded by Representative Graham, the minutes of the October 6, 2005 were approved.
Senator Thayer announced that this would be the committee's last meeting of the interim.
The first order of business was discussion of a bill proposal regarding public notice for local governments. Senator Thayer told members that a bill failed to pass the 2005 session relating to Kentucky's public notice advertising laws. He stated that the various groups were asked to get together and come back with another bill. Senator Thayer then introduced Mr. David Thompson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Press Association (KPA); Mr. Richard Tanner, Executive Director of the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association (KMCA); Mr. Bert May, Kentucky League of Cities; and Mr. Vince Lang, Executive Director of the Kentucky County Judge/Executive Association (KCJEA).
Mr. Thompson told the committee that recommended changes to the local government public notice statutes include: decreasing the number of times the county's delinquent tax list must be published; specifying a lower print point-size for published advertisements; a clarification of the advertising rates which my be required of local governments; the requirement of a 30-day notice to local governments for any advertising rate increases; a clarification of the composition of the list of vendors which must be published by local governments; and an increase from $3 to $5 as the amount which the sheriff or fiscal court may add to each delinquent tax bill each time it is published to help defray the cost of publication.
Mr. Tanner told the committee that these changes will keep people informed and will save the taxpayers money.
Representative Lee asked if there had been any calculations done on how much this will save the local governments. Mr. Tanner replied that it will save the counties approximately $1 million per year.
Mr. May echoed Mr. Tanner remarks. He said that most importantly, the public will be notified but at a reduced cost to local governments.
Mr. Lang stated that in addition to the notices, copies of audits and other information will be provided, upon request, free of charge. He added that all parties concerned worked together to come up with these proposed changes.
Representative McKee commended the groups for working together. He asked if the member newspapers will be made aware of these proposed changes. Mr. Thompson replied that the newspapers have already been notified of these changes.
Senator Thayer commented that this proposal was much better than the previous bill.
The next item of business was discussion of proposed legislative changes to the sheriffs' fee collection statutes. Representative Riggs explained that the bill that was passed during the 2005 session changed the wrong fee. He then introduced Mr. Bill May, Executive Director of the Kentucky Sheriffs' Association (KSA), Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey, Co-Chair of the KSA's legislative committee; Fleming County Sheriff Jerry Wagoner, and Dick Searles, Comptroller for the Kenton County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. May told the committee that the KSA would like to increase the amount of fees which can be collected by the sheriff for the serving of process. He noted that he has suggested to the KSA to have one comprehensive fee. Mr. May then referred to Sheriff Aubrey to discuss the legislative changes in detail.
Sheriff Aubrey told the committee that the KSA is proposing to raise the process fee from $20 to $40. He noted that this fee change will only affect those who use the process. Sheriff Aubrey stated that the service of process is the largest cost to the sheriff's office. He added that it is a large unfunded mandate to sheriffs and local governments. Sheriff Aubrey said the KSA also wants to raise the inspection fee on out of state vehicles from $5 to $15.
Representative Lee commented that there is a huge backlog of unserved papers. He wondered if additional people would be hired to help with the backlog.
Representative Wayne asked if the Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from writing a COLA provision so the KSA will not have to come back each time they want to raise a fee. Mr. May said he didn't think the Constitution prohibits the General Assembly from writing a COLA provision. Representative Wayne suggested that a COLA provision be added to this bill.
Senator Harris pointed out that the Program Review Committee has been reviewing this issue and will have recommendations. Mr. May replied that he is aware of that and will appreciate their recommendations.
Mr. Searles explained that a lot of warrants are unservable because the people are from out of town and sheriffs do not have correct addresses for them.
Representative Riggs commented that sheriffs should let it be known how many times they attempt to serve the warrants.
Representative Denham stated that rural areas have a serious budgetary problem regarding sheriffs serving papers and that the committee needs to look at giving them some latitude.
Senator Thayer suggested that the KSA urge it members to work with Representative Riggs on this issue.
Representative Montell asked if constables can be used to serve papers. Mr. May said some counties use constables to serve papers.
Representative Montell stated that he was unclear on what fee was raised last time. Sheriff Aubrey said the service of process fee in misdemeanor cases was raised from $10 to $30.
Senator Gibson commented that there should be another alternative for smaller counties besides vehicle inspection fees.
Representative Wayne suggested that the KSA tighten up their presentation to show numbers.
The last item of business was review of Kentucky Administrative Regulation 109 KAR 11:021. Senator Thayer recognized Ms. Kristen Webb and Ms. Angela Robinson with the Finance and Administration Cabinet (FAC).
Ms. Webb explained that 109 KAR 11:021 is repealing 109 KAR 11:020, which relates to the reimbursement to law enforcement officers of certain expenses. She pointed out that a reorganization bill transferred this regulation from the Governor's Office for Local Development (GOLD) to FAC. Ms. Webb noted that this regulation has been in place since 1942.
There being no questions or further discussion, Senator Thayer moved, seconded by Representative Wayne, to approve 109 KAR 11:021 as submitted. The motion passed by voice vote.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.