LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2013) — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer today presented a check for $1.65 million to Kentucky State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach for deposit into the commonwealth’s General Fund.
The amount represents proceeds from the auction of equipment from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s former motor fuel and pesticide testing laboratory. Comer closed the lab earlier this year after finding that it was hemorrhaging some $900,000 per year.
“Taxpayer dollars are a sacred trust, and my administration is dedicated to spending them wisely and giving back where appropriate,” the commissioner said.
Comer said he was inspired by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to conduct a check presentation to demonstrate proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars and show in concrete terms how Comer has turned the department around in less than two years. Comer asked Paul to join him for the check presentation.
In accepting the check on behalf of the commonwealth, Hollenbach said: “Good financial stewardship of public resources is important at every level of government. The return of this money symbolically turns a lemon into lemonade. On behalf of the citizens of the commonwealth, I say, ‘Thank you.’”
Comer closed the fuel lab in March, terminated all but one of the employees who staffed the lab, and privatized the state’s motor fuel testing, saving the state treasury an estimated $600,000 a year. At his request, the state Finance and Administration Cabinet auctioned the lab equipment in September, recovering $2.14 million in the two-day sale — more than the original value of the equipment.