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Columbia Mayor's Report: State of the City 2021

By Mayor Pamela Hoots

Mayor's Report: State of the City 2021 -- We have been fortunate this year to have several (and, I mean several) good things happen for our community.

Parks and Recreation

1. We have signed the Memorandum Agreement with the Commonwealth of Kentucky on the Land and Water Conservation grant. This grant is for a splash pad at the City Park on Fairgrounds Street. The grant is for $113,900.00. It is matching at 50%, which does include some in-kind in that amount.

2. We have signed the agreement with Lindsey Wilson College for additional usage around the track at the City Park at the Fairgrounds. We plan on a walking trail. Thanks to LWC for working with us on this project.

3. We have done additional field toppings, gravel and road work, electrical work, at the Little League Park.

4. Our 2nd annual Drive-Through Christmas was a success this year. Thank you so much to all who participated.

5. The committee for the new park (Burkesville Street) has met; and, we will be issuing a request for bids for the Phase I of the new park.

6. We received a grant from ARC Flex Funding for $4375.00. Grant amount was $3500.00 and in-kind match was $875.00. (This was for a preliminary design for the new park).

7. We renamed the roadside park, "Columbia Veterans Memorial Park," in honor of all veterans in our community.

Gas Department

1. We now have a GPS System in place in the Gas Department. Steven Baker and Jerry Watson are coordinating this project. We currently already have around 125 valves on the system.

2. We have completed an additional eighteen taps for new customers on gas this year.

3. We have applied for a gas extension to Milltown Church Road. This was for $1,895,000. Normally gas extensions are not available for any grant funding. This was a one-time possibility. It is still in process. Grant would be possible for a portion and the remainder under USDA funding for loan agreement.

Economic Development

1. Plans are finalized for the Community Development Block Grant of $1,000,000. It will be used for procurement of the Majestic Yachts building.

We are also incurring a loan of $525,000. For the same property. This $1,500,000 will be paid to the city in a lease agreement from the manufacturing company. The $1,000,000 is required to go into an account to be utilized for economic development in the city. Synergy Food Group is currently accepting applications; working on some renovation for their needs; and, plan a ribbon-cutting in early spring.

a. They are planning on hiring around up to ten the first of year; and, increase to 50 by the end of the first year. Applications are available at city hall; and, are picked up by Synergy to interview.

2. Dairy Queen celebrated one year in Columbia.

3. Kentucky Fried Chicken opened in July. Their business has been doing great.

4. Cookout is opening. They will be an addition to the Jamestown Street area.

Occupational Tax 2021

1 st quarter 2021 $270,642.32

1 st quarter 2020 $268,941.26

Increase: $1701.06

.1% increase in first quarter

2nd quarter 2021 $307,735.96

2nd quarter 2020 $276,130.35

Increase $31,605.61

10 % increase in 2nd quarter

3rd quarter 2021 $286,748.03

3rd quarter 2020 $249,876.09

Increase $36,871.94

12.5% in 3rd quarter increase

City Street Department

1. The USDA grant for the Columbia Maintenance Building Purchase project is completed. We had a closing on that property. The grant is for $125,000 and is a 50% matching. The sanitation, public works, and parks and recreation will be using that facility.

2. The City Street Department and Parks and Recreation have been doing work on the building that includes places for their supplies, tools, etc.

3. Around 400 loads of brush were picked up during the year.

4. Several tiles were installed.

Special Projects

1. The community participated in the "Planters on the Square," again. We thank everyone who adopted a planter.

2. The 2nd annual "Paint The Town," was held. Several had chalk drawings in the city. The Mayor sponsored prizes for the designated winners.

3. We did our 2nd annual "Truck It Up," in addition to several Food Truck Fridays. This helps with bringing business to the downtown area.

4. The 2nd annual Fall Decorating Contest was held. Prizes were sponsored by the Mayor.

5. We had many participating in bringing "Whoville" to downtown Columbia (and outside). Thank you to all the businesses that participated. So many children enjoyed it. Our appreciation to all who donated for new lights for downtown.

6. We did our 2nd annual "Letters to Santa" and they were responded to by our volunteers, Stacia and Amanda. Thank you to the Welding Class at Adair County High School for the mailbox.

7. We held our 2nd annual "Christmas In The Park," and appreciate all the businesses and individuals participating. Thank you to the Event Management Class at Lindsey Wilson College for sponsoring candy and popcorn, the Live Nativity Scene from Bloomington Chapel, and Pickett's Chapel for caroling.

8. New flags were procured for downtown area in memory of local veterans. We appreciate everyone who participated in this project.

9. We again did several projects for Summit Manor (a special place in the Mayor's heart). We did Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day.

10. We participated again in Malvina Farkle Day. This is one of my favorite days. Lindsey Wilson College students helped in projects throughout the town.

a. We had projects in downtown, at the roadside park on South Highway 55, at the Little League Park, at the City Park on Fairgrounds Street, and at the Trabue Russell House.

ABC Numbers

2020 Sales: $3,140,915.03 Fees: $138,978.45

2021 Sales: $3,114,906.03 Fees: $145,083.70

Note: The 2021 numbers are not inclusive of December. We are going to be up around 1% over last year in fees. We are probably going to be up around $30,000.00 in sales. Probably up around $10,000. In fees. Around 7.0% increase.

Police Department

1. The grant for the vehicle cameras and computers for the police department is progressing. We have received a letter from the USDA that the amount of $33,997.72 is agreeable to consideration of the approximate amount in a formal application. 75/25 match. This will be an approximate match of $11,350.00 for the city.

2. We made application through the KLC grant program for a grant for body cameras for city police (10 cameras). We received our maximum; with our cost to be around $3000. Approved.

3. The City Police Department received a grant of $2,000.00 from Walmart for their annual Christmas for Children.

4. We now have two officers trained in the DARE Program.

5. We sponsor three of the four SRO Officers at the Adair County School System.

Coronavirus State and Local Relief Funds

1. We received our first check for $596,123.63 for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. This is part one of two.

2. We have agreed to allocate $100,000 of that into a grant program for local businesses. Committee: Leon Lewis, Joe Willis, and Mary Beth Phelps.

3. This funding is restricted for specific uses.

COVID 19 Relief Fund

1. We received two payments: $103,636.00 and $333,358. We have made application for and received approval for an additional $34,531.00.

2. Our pavilion at the City Park on Fairgrounds Street was utilized as a drive-through testing site for a period of time.

Trabue Russell House

1. We have replaced outside doors and done some painting.

2. An anniversary activity was done in September. Thank you to the committee: Mary Anne Loy, Susan Loy, Mike Watson, and Richard Phelps. A great menu was on hand in conjunction with the period of the house and several toured.

a. The Lindsey Wilson College singers did a choral selection.

b. Mel Hankla was in attendance to sign and autograph his book.

3. Another activity was held during the "Christmas In Columbia." Santa Claus was there to greet children for around two hours (had about 25 children).

Children were read to during the activities; and, students from Lindsey Wilson College helped serve refreshments.

Funding received

Community Development Block Grant $1,000,000.00

Splash Pad (Land and Water) $113,900.00

Kentucky League of Cities Grant (cameras) $3,000.00

Walmart (funds for Christmas project-police) $2,000.00

USDA Community Facilities (Street Dept. Bldg.) $125,000.00

COVID Cares Funding $436,994.00

Rescue Fund $596,123.63

This story was posted on 2021-12-29 09:30:16
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