MARSHALL COUNTY, KY — The Marshall County Fiscal Court passed the first reading of a new electric meter fee ordinance Wednesday. The fee is to fund the county's E-911 center's $1.9 million budget.
We've been following the legal battle between local electric companies and the fiscal court on how these fees will be collected.
At Wednesday's meeting, the fiscal court spent more time reading its new ordinance than they did discussing the changes.
Marshall County Judge Executive Kevin Neal asked County Attorney Jason Darnall: "Did you want to explain the ordinance?" Darnall replied: "I mean, there was a few changes in there from the old one, so we are just doing a reboot."
The new ordinance now includes more room for the power companies to potentially receive extra money to compensate them for collecting the $7 fee for 911 services. The companies must petition this fiscal court for additional money, and it will decide if the power companies need more than 3% of the 911 fees collected to cover the billing.
The vice president of human resources and communications for Jackson Purchase Energy, Scott Adair, said they still oppose collecting the fee.
"There is multiple ways the county can collect that fee on their own," said Adair. "They can put that on the PVA bill, in our opinion."
The ordinance said a previous Kentucky court of appeals case, City of Lancaster v. Garrad County, gives the county the legal right to collect fees on utility meters.
Adair said paying four different electric companies will cost the taxpayers.
"It means that our consumer electric bills are going to go up," he said.
The federal lawsuit against the fiscal court still stands.
Darnall said the agreement between the fiscal court and the power companies to not bill customers yet still stands. Darnall also said he's advised the fiscal court not to speak about the new ordinance, because it's directly connected to the pending civil suit.