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City Council meeting, Monday, June 6, 2011 Report

In last night's Columbia City Council meeting
  • City faces tight budget, three options on pay raises. Regardless, expenses are expected to exceed revenues next year
  • Mayor Announces that Christian Life Center purchase a done deal
  • City to take new look at nuisance ordinance
  • City hears Audit Report
  • Clarissa Hart visits on behalf of LCADD
  • Heather Spoon reports on Energy Technology Career Academy; first biodiesel now being tested
  • City approves Municipal Aid coop program agreement
  • Councillor Waggener asks about letters, and visits from code enforcement officer
  • Jim Hadley commends street department
  • Robert Flowers says city workers doing splendid job
  • Councillor Parson calls for investigation into decline of Insurance Premium tax income

By Ed Waggener

The City Council heard a first reading of a budget for 2011-2012 for the City of Columbia which anticipates spending slightly more than it takes in, but which will still leave the budget carryover in a fairly strong position, with a general fund carry forward of $1,211,923.00, down from $1,358,230,28 if the city grants a 3% pay increase to the employees.

All three budgets would show lower revenues than expenses for the General Fund. But the picture is goodfor the garbage funds and gas departments, both of which will operate in the black with any of the raises, while the Municipal Aid Fund and LGEA Funds would be zeroed out in any scenario.

Mayor Harris had directed preparation of three budget summaries: one with a 3% increase, one with a 2%, and one with no increase in pay for the employees. All three budgets anticipate a slight deficit, with revenues less than expenses.

Because the budget has to be approved before June 30, 2011, the Mayor will call a special meeting to vote on the budget after giving Councillors time to assess voter feelings on the raises.

The City is investigating a curious decline in revenues from its insurance premium tax, which has trended down even in the face of major annexations. Councillor June Parson suggested the possibility of an audit to see why this is happening. She said that the city now gets approximately $240,000 insurance premium revenues less than it did earlier. Councillor Parson said the decline in revenues just doesn't make sense.

The Council is also looking at the donations it makes to other entites: These include budget amounts, for now, of $350 to the Center on Aging, $500 to the Food Bank, $1,000 for the Folklore Festival, $1,000 for Downtown Days, $5,000 to the Chamber of Commerce, and $5,000 to Renaissance Columbia.

Mayor Announces that Christian Life Center Purchase a done deal

Mayor Harris announced that the purchase of the Christian Life Center for use as a City Parks and Recreation and Senior Citizens Center is now complete.

New look at nuisance ordinances

Mayor Harris told the Council that the City needs a better ordinance to handle nuisance. He cited the need for ways to get property owners to spruce up property and means to have burned out houses razed. A committee to include the Mayor, City Councillor Jim Hadley, City Clerk Sonya Roy, and Officer Bill Bailey will review ordinances from other communities and needs for Columbia and work with City Attorney Marshall Loy to craft a new ordinance.

City hears Audit Report

Auditor John Taylor of Hendermann, Jessee and Co., gave a lengthy audit report and was rehired for another year.

Clarissa Hart of Lake Cumberland Area Development District visits

Clarissa Hart of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District came before the council to announce lower fees for Planning & Zoning training sessions for the Council, the possible availability of Homeland Security Grants, and offered to help the City in any way. She said the agency is only 15 minutes down the road. It's in Russell Springs, KY.

Councillor Linda Waggener asked about help with grants for sidewalks, particularly walkways needed between Lindsey Wilson College and the Lindsey Wilson Sports Park. Hart said that funding is scarce for sidewalk projects, but that the project Councillor Waggener envisions ought to be one which would qualify, were money available.

Councillor June Parson asked about the availability for help preparing the City's Comprehensive plans. Hart told her that their staff could help with that work.

Heather Spoon gives Energy update

Heather Spoon, Director of the Energy Career Technology Academy, with whom the city has partnered to become a model in energy conservation and use, told the Council that the ECTA has produced its first 40 gallons of biodiesel fuel, manufactured from waste vegetable oil, and that the product is now being tested to see if it is suitable for diesel engines Spoon is hoping that the ECTA produced biodiesel will one day fuel the city's diesel powered vehicles, but the Mayor is insisting on seeing how the fuel performs in less expensive vehicles.

She also announced that she is building 5 solar panels which will be attached to the roofs of five of the Lindsey Wilson College golf carts. These will be used to draw attention to solar as a source of power for the vehicles.

Spoon annonced the opening of Camp Energy for 4th-8th graders at Adair County High School this week, and she is setting up a working lunch for up to three of the Councillors to meet with her and with Dr. Betty Starr to review the work and goals of the ECTA.

Council approves resolution on approving Municipal Aid Coop Program Contract

The Council voted 6-0, on a motion by Jim Hadley, seconded by Robert Flowers, to approve and authorize the Mayor to sign a city resolution approving the Municipal Aid Coop Program. Under the program the city receives approximately $84,000 annually to maintain specified streets.

Councillors' Comments Segment:

Councillor Dean reports on Columbia/Adair Parks and Recreation

Councillor Dean said that the C/AC Parks and Recreation Board will meet Monday evening at 5pmCT, June 13, 2011, for its first session since acquiring the Christian Life Center. The group will consider names for the center, programs and schedules. Fundraising will also be on the agenda, and a work day for painting, mowing,and otherwise sprucing up the Center will be announced.

Linda Waggener asked to see records on Zone Permit reports

Councillor Linda Waggener asked for information on zoning citation, and activities of the Code Enforcement department and was told the information is available to the council. She said the concern was over letters which have gone to the builders of a new medical facility.

Robert Flowers commends city workers

Councillor Robert Flowers commended the staff of the city and said they are doing a splendid job.

Jim Hadley commended the Street Department

Councillor Jim Hadley commended the employees of the City Street Department.

June Parsons reiterates need for investigation into insurance premium decline

Also in the Councillors' Comment segment, Councillor June Parson followed up on the need for an investigation on why the insurance tax revenues declined.

The meeting was well attended with all Councillors: Craig Dean, Linda Waggener, Robert Flowers, Tony Grider, Jim Hadley, and June Parson, present; as were City Clerk Sonya Roy, City Attorney Marshall Loy, City Police Chief Jason Cross, Assistant City Clerk Jada Coomer, City Gas Superintendent Ron Cook, City Sanitation Superintendent Kenneth Dulin, City Planning & Zoning Commissioner Roy Radmacher, Clarissa Hart of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District, Heather Spoon of the Energy Technology Career Academy, and representatives of the media.

The meeting was adjourned by Robert Flowers, who at 7:05pmCT, uttered these immortal words, "In Memory and Honor of Joe Moore, I move we adjourn." And so they did.End of Columbia City Council Report for June 6, 2011
The Columbia City Council holds its regular monthly meeting each first Monday at 6:00pmCT in City Hall, 116 Campbellsville ST, Columbia, KY. The meetings are open to the public. Mayor Mark D. Harris.. Councillors Craig Dean, Linda Waggener, Jim Hadley, Robert Flowers, Tony Grider, and June Parson. City Clerk Carolyn Edwards. City Attorney Marshall Loy. Assistant City Clerk Sonya Roy. City Police Chief Jason Cross. City Gas Superintendent Ron Cook. . City Sanitation Department Superintendent Kenneth Dulin. City Street Department Superintendent Donnie Rowe. City Events Planner Rhonda Loy.

This story was posted on 2011-06-07 08:03:49
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Pledge of Allegiance led by Grider Bros.

2011-06-07 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville ST, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener.
The Grider Brothers, Jacob, 7, and Jordan, 5, led the pledge of allegiance at the opening of the June 6, 2011 Columbia City Council meeting. Adults, from left, are Councillors Jim Hadley and June Parson, City Clerk Sonya Roy, and Mayor Mark D. Harris, who instituted the practice of saying the pledge each time the Council meets. On the right, Jordan looks for, and gets approval from their father, Councillor Tony Grider, far left, as the others return to their seats.

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