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Bardstown City Council: Changes net $50K in savings

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By Frank Johnson

At its first meeting with new mayor Bill Sheckles and new members Fred Hagan and Joe Buckman, Bardstown City Council began the year with good news when the city’s contractor for a project at the wastewater treatment plant announced he had made changes that would save nearly $50,000.

Ray Ihlenburg with O’Brien & Gere Engineering told the council about the adjustments to the project at its regular Tuesday meeting. Ihlenburg said the kind of stone and valves used in parts of the project had been changed, resulting in the reduced costs.

The $4.3 million undertaking began in July and will build a new clear well — a big storage tank for treated water — as well as add other improvements, such as updating the plant’s filters. It is expected to be finished this summer. 

Responding to a question from Hagan, Ihlenburg said the work in the change order had already been done and the project is scheduled to be finished next week.

On the first change order presented to the council for the project, Ihlenburg said his company is committed to keeping costs under control.

“Our goal is to get the job done within the budget,” he said.

The council then voted unanimously to approve the change order.

Appointment draws disagreement

The council made two appointments to open spots on the Joint City-County Planning Commission, but the decision lacked the full support of its members. In a summary motion, the council voted to appoint Crystal Brady to serve Hagan’s unexpired term on the planning commission and Mark Mathis was reappointed to a four-year term.

Council member Tommy Reed abstained from voting on the motion and said in an interview Thursday that he did so because he had “lingering questions” concerning Brady, a candidate in the 2010 city council election.

Reed said after talking with Brady and doing some research, he confirmed that she had not previously served on any civic, church or service committees. Given the duties of the commission, Reed said he would have liked to see someone with more previous involvement in local government and organizations.

“I thought she did not have the experience for me to confirm the mayor’s decision,” Reed said, adding that if he had thought Brady was “definitely” not capable of serving on the commission, he would have voted no.

Also reached Thursday, Sheckles voiced full confidence in his choice to appoint Brady, adding, “We all have to start somewhere.”

“I want someone who is interested and eager to serve,” Sheckles said, describing Brady as someone who has a genuine interest in the community and wants to make a difference. “I think she will make a good member, and a breath of fresh air is good sometimes.”

He also said if Reed did not think Brady was a good candidate for the commission, he should have voted no. An abstaining vote is only intended for circumstances in which there is a conflict of interest, Sheckles said. 

Planning and zoning issues

Hagan informed the council that he was conducting research to gather information on the permitting and late fee structure of the Joint City-County Planning Commission. Planning regulations were a hot topic during the fall election, and Hagan said he was talking to the commission staff about how the regulations work.

Although he didn’t have anything to report that evening, Hagan reminded the council that any changes to the regulations would have to go through all the legislative bodies subject to them, which would be a lengthy process.

“I will be putting some ideas together and putting them to the planning commissioners,” he said.

Closed session

The city council went into closed session at the end of the night to discuss the future acquisition or sale of real property. After the session, the council reconvened and voted to give Sheckles the authority to negotiate the price of easements needed for a sewer line project.

The city has signed an agreement with Bloomfield to start taking the smaller community’s sewage. Sheckles said Bardstown needs to build a new line to connect to a sewer line extending from Bloomfield.

The planned sewer line would cut across private property in several areas, so Sheckles will negotiate a price for purchasing easements in those places.

In other news:

• The council approved a recommendation from the Development Review Board to allow David Wheatley to demolish an existing garage and build a new one on property at 1235 Springfield Road. Although the garage will be for residential use, the request for the demolition came through the DRB and the city council because the property is zoned B-3 business, Sheckles said.

• The council appointed members to serve on the city government’s various committees. The committees are safety, finance, long-term planning, electric and cable TV, water and sewer, cemetery, recreation, street and garbage, annexation, housing, and transportation planning. For a full listing of these appointments, view this article on www.kystandard.com.

• Several city employees were recognized for their years of service. Jason Ellis has been with the Bardstown Police Department for five years while Mark Hufford at the wastewater treatment plant and Kevin Russell at public works have 10 years each with the city. However, Donna Paschal outpaced all the others, celebrating her 35th anniversary at the recreation department.

“She told me last night she is on her third generation of kids who are troublemakers,” Sheckles said.

• Sheckles read proclamations declaring Jan. 7-14 Flaget Memorial Hospital Week in honor of the hospital’s 60th anniversary and Jan. 14 Phyllis Mattingly Day in honor of Mattingly’s 40 years as Nelson County Clerk. Mattingly retired from the post at the end of 2010.