The Kentucky Association of Counties

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COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR COUNTY LEADERS

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The Kentucky Association of Counties

KACo Board holds virtual meeting to discuss COVID-19 strategies and innovative solutions

By Gracie Lagadinos
On April 30, the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) held a special-called virtual KACo Board meeting to discuss county efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

KACo President and Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore began the meeting by asking each of the affiliate groups to share obstacles they’re facing and innovative solutions to fighting COVID-19 in their communities. Some of the comments are highlighted below. 

Criminal Justice

On March 12, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice Minton issued an order that limited courtrooms to essential cases. Due to many judicial proceedings being postponed as a result of COVID-19, county attorneys, commonwealth’s attorneys and circuit court clerks expressed concern when these proceedings resume. Some prosecutors are granting amnesty to reduce caseloads while others are still holding preliminary hearings and arraignments remotely. However, each jurisdiction may use its own discretion when brainstorming ideas to reduce caseloads. 

Fiscal Courts

Although COVID-19 has altered many aspects of day-to-day life, a global pandemic does not stop a county from functioning and providing services and resources for its residents. Many Fiscal Courts have adopted holding their meetings via Facebook Live, Zoom and YouTube. While holding meetings virtually may be an adjustment, it allows the public to easily and safely be part of the discussion. 

Tax/Fee Collection

County clerks and sheriffs explained that there has been a drastic decrease in fee collection in the past several weeks due to many fee services being limited. In addition, property valuation administrators noted that the Department of Revenue delayed the property tax calendar for 60 days, which might affect county budgets long-term. 

Primary Election Update

The County Clerks Association highlighted the changes to the 2020 primary election, which include changing the primary election date to June 23, allowing mail-in absentee voting, and issuing regulations for the election to ensure public safety and election security. More information regarding the 2020 primary election can be found here. 

Innovative Solutions

During the meeting, Board members shared innovative solutions to protect the health of the public and employees, maintain efficiency and to continue serving the people in their communities. Several members said that they are having their offices professionally deep-cleaned in addition to providing masks, sanitizer and plexiglass shields. In addition, some sheriff’s offices are installing Ring Doorbells to allow residents to ring the doorbell outside of their office, let the office know what services they need, then to determine whether the service can be conducted remotely. Ring doorbells send audio and video to a phone, more easily allowing remote interaction with the public.