KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear provided his weekly Team Kentucky update on the efforts in eastern Kentucky following historic flooding, and noting that the state is now moving from the emergency phase into the stabilization phase.
The governor also updated Kentuckians on new economic development projects, a surplus in the general fund, the ongoing decline in gas prices and COVID-19. Here’s a look at what was discussed during this week’s Team Kentucky update.
The governor said there are now 38 confirmed fatalities in five counties, due to the loss of Aaron “Mick” Crawford, a Knott County High School student who died after assisting with cleanup efforts in the area. KSP are still reporting two missing people being searched for after the flooding: Vanessa Baker, 60, and Nancy Cundiff, 29.
“I see our response to this flooding in three phases: emergency, stabilization and rebuilding,” said Gov. Beshear. “This was the most devastating and deadly flooding our commonwealth has experienced in my lifetime. But the good news is, we are likely out of the emergency phase of responding to this disaster. Now we move into the stabilization phase, and then we can start rebuilding.”
Economic development update
Governor Beshear highlighted four economic development projects on Thursday that are investing over $38 million and creating 259 jobs.
Earlier this week, the governor announced Bluegrass Supply Chain Services LLC (BSC) will locate a new operation in Warren County with a $25 million investment creating 110 full-time jobs. He also announced Skilcraft LLC’s expansion in Boone County, will invest $8.4 million to create 14 jobs for local residents.
On Thursday, Beshear announced STOBER Drives Inc., a producer of gearbox and servo motors, will expand operations in Maysville with a $5 million investment that will create 35 full-time jobs. The governor and Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman also welcomed the opening of Ellie Diagnostics LLC’s laboratory as leaders at the full-service veterinary wellness and diagnostic services provider held the grand opening of the company’s national hub, which is expected to create up to 100 full-time jobs.
General fund surplus
The Office of State Budget Director announced on Wednesday that Kentucky’s general fund receipts for July totaled almost $1.08 billion, a 9.7% increase compared to the July 2021 receipts. Governor Beshear says this is the fifth consecutive month in which collections have exceeded $1 billion.
“I don’t think we have ever seen five consecutive months, or even two consecutive months, with over $1 billion in receipts,” Gov. Beshear said. “The increase in revenue proves that Kentucky’s economy remains strong, with payrolls increasing and consumers continuing to make purchases.”
Gas prices continue to decline
The governor highlighted the news that gas prices have dropped by 77 cents over the last month in the commonwealth. The average price for gas in Kentucky is almost 40 cents below the national average of $3.99 according to AAA.
Governor Beshear noted that most Kentucky counties have a COVID-19 community level that is medium or high. However, there are nine counties with a community level that is low.
Although the number of Kentuckians hospitalized or in the ICU for COVID-19 has increased over the past several weeks, hospitalizations remain much lower than what was observed during other surges.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Governor Beshear recognized everyone who has donated to the Team Kentucky Flood Relief Fund as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars. He also recognized corporate and community partners who have donated more than $10,000 to the fund:
- HCA Healthcare – $100,000
- New York Life – $100,000
- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield – $50,000
- Brown-Forman – $30,000
- Chevron – $25,000
- The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels – $25,000
- Duke Energy – $12,500
“These are just a couple of groups that have stepped up and we wanted to make sure that we acknowledge them and anyone else who wants to help. The fund is fully transparent, and every dollar is going to help,” Gov. Beshear said.