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Columbia City council report: Mon 1 May 2017 regular session

  • City Council approves needle exchange program for Adair County
  • Gas refunds issue appears to be nearing closure
  • City Police Department near to achieving accredited status
  • Sidewalk question raised toward possible new City Parks Commission
  • PRIDE Cleanup effort lauded
  • Barbara Armitage reports on FM2, record Square Meals participation

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By Ed Waggener

The regular session of Columbia City Council on Monday, May 1, 2017, was one of the most deliberative and decisive meetings of the Columbia City Council, as the the city got stayed focused on confronting and combatting drug problems, adopted what appears to be a fair conclusion to the gas department's overcharges, and is now ready to put a major part of the city's budget into sidewalks.

Council approves Needle Exchange program

In a 5-0 vote, with one council member absent, the city of Columbia gave its support the Lake Cumberland District Health Department initiative for a syringe exchange program at the Adair County Health Department. Mayor Curtis Hardwick, who was absent attending a meeting on behalf of the city, sent a message relayed by City Clerk Rhonda Loy that he favored approving the resolution of support.

The reason behind the decision was to help stop the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV, diseases that are soaring out of control because of the rise in heroin use.

Dr. Rick Miles presented state slides developed to document research and statistics that show how serious the drug related disease problem is in Kentucky.

Drug overdose deaths in Ky are way above average in the nation. Adair County is 93rd in the nation in Hepatitis C.

His statistics also showed that once needle exchange programs are put in place the disease growth rates begin to level out.

The program is on the Adair County Fiscal Court agenda for Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 6pmCT in the Adair Courthouse Annex, 424 Public Square, Columbia, KY. That will be the third and final approval phase for the Adair County program to begin.

CPD Chief Jason Cross echoed Dr. Miles' information. He said the drug problem is worse than it's ever been here.

Barbara Armitage speaks to the Council

Barbara Armitage thanked the Council for its part in the successful re-launch of the Farmers Market on the Square. She said that, thanks to the council, electricity is readily available with no need to continuously monitor breaker boxes.

Armitage said that a record number of diners chose the Square Meals Cafe. "We fed 153 people on Saturday," she said. Armitage said that volunteers are badly needed at FM2, and that the market now has an opening for one part time worker, for eight hours for the only paid position FM2 has.

She also announced that two donors have provided a microwave and an electric range to the kitchen in the basement of City Hall, which will be used both by Farmers Market on the Square and is available for others authorized to use the facility.

Gas refunds, letters approved to those due refunds

The council voted, on a motion by Council Members Craig Dean, with a second by Craig Lasley, to approve a letter which will be sent to all customers who are due a refund but who may have moved from the city.

The vote to approve was unanimous, with Council Members Pam Hoots, Linda Waggener and Ronald Rogers joining in the voice affirmation.

The council also approved dollar amounts and time frame for the money to be set aside for possible refunds, on a motion by Council Member Linda Waggener, with a second by Craig Lasley.

City Gas Department Office Manager Ann-Marie Austin gave the figure of $15,661.49 being left to distribute. After an exhaustive examination, those who have moved and/or haven't asked for a refund totals $14,572.89, leaving $1,088.60 to refund to local customers who have already been receiving refunds - in the form of discounts on their gas bills.

After a period of one year, any money remaining will be turned over the the Kentucky State Treasurer, along with a list of the names of claimants who could still receive refunds in the Treasury Department's unclaimed property department.

The action is seen as "above and beyond" what is normally done in such instances, Ann Marie Austin, gas department manager, said after the meeting.

City Police nears qualification for accreditation

City Police Chief Jason Cross told the council that his department is nearing completion of audits which will make the department an accredited one. He said that this certification might come as early as the end of 2017. It will mean, he said, that new standards have been met, and monetarily, it will mean approximately 10% less cost for insurance.

PAM HOOTS: Council Member Pam Hoots thanked everyone for the Countywide PRIDE Cleanup effort on Saturday,April 29, 2017, and also commended J.O.Y Ministries for their day of service. She backed the initiatives on sidewalks, and also commented on the number of Grandparents in Adair County who are raising grandkids. She mentioned having had a citizen's call about an issue on Tutt Street, involving a resident's complaint about tires and old car and truck parts being a problem. She initiated Chief Cross' comments on the department's efforts on certification.

CRAIG DEAN: Asked about repairs on the now-city owned Joe Johnson Little League Park. About minor repairs and major ones. Presiding Councilman Ron Rogers suggested that the council await the guidance of Mayor Hardwick, after his return from the meeting he is attending. Dean also said that the city needs to address a runoff problem created by the last paving project on Bramblett Street. He endorsed the ideas presented by Mary Ann Loy to improve the safety and usability of Columbia's Sidewalks. Dean suggested that a "substantial amount" for Sidewalks be included in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year Budget.

CRAIG LASLEY: Raised a question from a constituent who had complained of a dog problem on a dead end street.

RONALD ROGERS: Echoed appreciation for the work done by Mary Ann Loy. He said that Sidewalks should have "all the support possible." He also mentioned the need for a concrete pad at the City Property on Minor Street, which could be used to wash city trucks, particulary those of the sanitation department.

LINDA WAGGENER: Praised the Columbia sidewalk research and communications being led by Mary Ann Loy and asked fellow council members to consider incorporating sidewalks into Parks and Recreation so that it has a permanent home in the city budget. She said that with sidewalks being fundamental to getting people moving -- which the health department is promoting -- the city should continuously work at making the sidewalks safe and well maintained. She is the city appointee to the city/county board established to oversee only the Jim Blair Park. If the city/county P&R Board were to manage any other parks in the county it would require a commitment to share responsibility. For that reason she said she felt a city P&R entity is needed, and recommended sidewalks be part of it.
Routine matters, minutes of three meetings approved routinely
The Council routinely and unanimously approved the minutes of the April 3, 2017, regular session, the April 6, 2017, special called meeting, and the April 20, 2017, Special called meeting.

Meeting well attended

The meeting was well attended with Council Members Craig Dean, Linda Waggener, Ron Rogers, Pam Hoots, and Craig Lasley present; as well as City Clerk Rhonda Loy, Police Chief Jason Cross, City Gas Department Clerk Ann-Marie Austin, FM2 Coordinator Barbara Armitage, Lake Cumberland Area Health Department Educator Jelaine Harlow, Dr. Rick Miles, and others speaking in favor of the Needle Exchange program. Lake Cumberland Area Development's Judy Keltner, Robert Montgomery, Meredith Corbin, who spoke in favor of the needle exchange program and Shannon Sexton, President of PAC, and president of Stateline Steel; and members of the media.

End of Report for City Council Regular Session, Monday, May 1, 2017.
COLUMBlA CITY COUNCIL holds its regular monthly meeting each first Monday at 6pmCT in City Hall, 116 Campbellsville ST, Columbia, KY. The meetings are open to the public. Mayor Curtis Hardwick. Councillors Craig Dean, Linda Waggener, Dr. Ron Rogers, Pam Hoots, Craig Lasley, and Mark Harris. City Clerk Rhonda Loy. City Attorney Marshall Loy. City Police Chief Jason Cross. City Gas Superintendent Ron Cook. City Sanitation Department Superintendent O'Shaughnesy Frazier. City Street Department Superintendent Donnie Rowe

This story was posted on 2017-05-02 07:08:53
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Dr. Rick Miles makes compelling needle exhange argument

2017-05-02 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, .
Dr. Rick Miles, the legendary house-call M.D., standing, presented statistics on the need for a syringe exchange program to the Columbia City Council last night, Monday, May 2, 2017. In a community primed to take action, presentation may have been only the decisive tipping point, but it worked. The Columbia City Council voted unanimously, on a motion by City Council Member Linda Waggener, and a second from Craig Dean, to approve Dr. Miles' request for approval for the Adair County Health Department to begin a needle exchange here. Adair Fiscal Court, from most reports, is poised to give its ok to the program. Listening, around the council table, are, clockwise, Council Members Pam Hoots and Craig Dean, City Clerk Rhonda Loy, Council Member Ron Rogers, presiding in the absence of Mayor Curtis Hardwick; City Attorney Marshall Loy, and Council Members Linda Waggener and Craig Lasley. Mayor Curtis sent a message of support for the vote. - EW

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Dr. Ron Rogers presided over productive Council meeting

2017-05-02 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, .
City Council Member Dr. Ron Rogers was elected by fellow council members to preside at the Monday, May 1, 2017, regular session of the Columbia City Council, which approved a Syringe Exchange Program as recommended by the Lake Cumberland Area Health Department, voiced unanimous and enthusiastic resolve to make Sidewalks a significant part of the 2017-18 budget, and approved actions to get the gas department overcharge refund complete. Dr. Rogers isn't new to running meetings. He is a former president of the Kentucky Chiropractic Association, a job where his knowledge of parliamentary procedures was essential. -EW

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