Clerk & Fiscal Court appear headed to Court over '21 budget
“I am not cutting anybody…gloves are off!” Becky Curtis
Anyone who has ever attended a trial will tell you it initiates with the bailiff or other court officer opening court with, “All Rise!” “All Rise,” are words present Breathitt County Court Clerk, Becky Curtis, promises may be shortly heard ringing out across a local courtroom over the present budget dispute between her office and Magistrates Ray Moore, Donnie Bush, and Ellis Tincher.
Beck Curtis tells the Times-Voice she has submitted a budget for her office that is the same as what the Fiscal Court approved for 2020. “We asked for the same exact amount of money in our budget proposal for 2021 as what was approved (by them), after redactions, in 2020,” Curtis told the newspaper. “Curiously, they want to take away a bunch of money from the previous year’s money they were fine with approving.”
Here is why this matters. If the amount of funding the Fiscal Court has indicated it will permit for the County Clerk were to stand “as is,” Curtis would have to reduce both staff and hours of operation. “I have three (3) full-time employees and one (1) part-time employee working now. If they get to do what they want, we will have to cut to one (1) full-time employee and one (1) part-time employee. This impacts families. We are talking about the difference between friends and families being able to eat.”
That is not all either. “It would deprive two (2) of our workers benefits, including health insurance and retirement. We are in the middle of a global health crises, both in-county and worldwide. Why would we be cutting people’s health insurance in the middle of it?”
Becky stressed to the newspaper her office isn’t looking for handouts. “We earn,” said Becky Curtis, “when our money gets cut, they are taking away from us money we have earned for schools, the extension office, the health department, the library, and the county’s ongoing conservation efforts; you know, the stuff which makes us a community,” Curtis argues. “The Fiscal Court doesn’t give us anything. We provide them money, not the other way around.”
“Reducing staff reduces income, people aren’t going to stand in line a couple hours for renewals, transfers, and the like. Both their money and they will just go elsewhere.”
So, you may wonder just what Becky Curtis plans to do about it. Well, she told the Times-Voice she is taking the Fiscal Court…to court!
“The Clerk’s Association has provided me with legal representation. Unlike some others around here, my representation isn’t costing county taxpayers anything.”
Ms. Curtis is confident the Court will see it in her office’s favor. “I have been told to run the office ‘as is’ while this matter is being resolved,” said Curtis. “I am not cutting anybody. I won’t stand for it, gloves are off.”