Operational changes made by Casey extension board

June 17, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - A tighter budget has forced the Casey County District Extension Board to put a tighter rein on spending and to keep better records to show how money is spent.

Before bills are paid, extension service agents must make requests for funds before purchases are made, then present a receipt for the amount spent, Fred Harper, board treasurer, said. Then bills are paid.

"We want to account for every dollar," said Harper. "We have to have requests for funds prior to an event. Everything has to be accompanied by receipts."

Harper said the board will have closer control with its operation but since he's been on the board, the extension service has "never been short changed by the district board."


This came about after the extension board said it could not afford a full-time 4-H agent and wanted to hire an extension assistance to work with 4-H on a part-time basis. After hearing complaints from the public and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, which wanted to keep the 4-H agent, the board agreed to keep the third agent, with some changes in operations.

Board wants UK to hire agricultural agent

The local extension board apparently agreed to keep the third agent if UK will step up its process to hire an agricultural agent to fill a 10-month vacancy and to increase it's share of expenses. Former ag agent Tommy Yankey left the office in October.

The board wants an agent with experience to work with diverse farm programs in the county. Unlike other counties where tobacco and beef cattle are the main products, Casey has farmers involved in a variety of farm programs. Many produce various vegetable and fruit crops and also different types of livestock including goats and alpacas.

"We need a jack of all trades, not just someone who can work with tobacco and cattle," said Tracey Rodenbach, secretary.

In response to a letter from Carol Benson, 5th District director, the local board agreed to pay each agent $1,500 annually for travel expenses. This amount will come from the annual contribution from the county Board of Education, if the budget is approved. The amount was cut in half from past years.

The board of education donates $8,400 for extension with $5,400 for agent salaries going directly to UK, and the other $3,000 going for travel expenses. This will be split equally among the three agents. The local board also will donate $1,500 for expenses.

Harper said after the $1,500 is spent by each agent, the local board will be responsible for additional funds for expenses.

He said the local board also provides money for salaries. It pays the salary and benefits for the extension secretary and $20,000 base salary for the 4-H agent.

$112,000 in savings for construction of new building

The Extension District Board has a balance of $2,972 in the operating account and $112,000 in a savings account set aside for construction of a new multipurpose building, Harper told the board at its Wednesday afternoon meeting. He also said $9,000 is kept in reserves for retirement and benefits for the extension secretary, which is required by the UK Cooperative Extension Service.

The board also agreed to hire Lester Anderson to do the concrete footers for the new multipurpose structure. He was chosen from three estimates on the work.

Chairman John Gosser said that work should be done as soon as possible because the building materials have arrived and need to be put in place.

A vote on board member Gerri Phillippe's motion to start the building as soon as possible and hire Anderson to do the work was unanimous.

The board also discussed using a large screen for presenting programs and making the interior suitable so the screen can be seen by participants without having lights interfering with the picture.

Harper said the building will be constructed so the extension service can get the most use of it. He said plumbing and utility lines can be placed elsewhere.

Ricky Cannon, board member, suggested getting the building up and the roof on before deciding on the interior work.

Debbie Shepherd, agent for family and consumer services, said the security system update has been finished. She said deadbolts have been installed on doors. Only those given permission by the board and Benson can enter the building after hours.

The next extension board meeting is scheduled 1 p.m. July 21.

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