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Columbia City Council Meeting Tue 05 Sep 2017 - REPORT

In the Tue 5 Sep 2017 Columbia City Council Meeting:
  • Council approves raise in gas profit margin, which coupled with an anticipated decrease in wholesale cost of natural will result in lower bills for customers
  • Council approves settlment by mutual consent agreement with former gas supplier, PEAK (Public Energy Authority of Kentucky)
  • Council hears request for $5,000 funding for Downtown Days Committee, but delays action on request
  • Council delays action on request for additional $2,000 funding for Columbia/Adair County Airport
  • Chief Cross: Department down an officer with retirement of veteran officer Sgt. Tracy McCarol; and down a crusier - but insurance will replace the cruiser

Click on headline for complete story with photo(s)

By Ed Waggener

The Columbia City Council received two requests for special funding at its special regular meeting, Tuesday, September 5, 2107.

Sticking to its standing rule not to grant any request during the meeting it is first requested, council deferred action on both: A request for $5,000 to help fund Downtown Days, presented in person by Chasity Yarberry, and a request for an additional stipend - $7,000.00 has already been approved - of $2,000 for the Columbia/Adair County Airport, which the city jointly owns with Adair County Fiscal Court.

Downtown Days Committee requests $5,000 from Council

The Downtown Days Committee, with Chasity Yarberry as spokesperson came before the council to request $5,000 in funding for the 14th Annual Downtown Days, which will kick off on Friday, October 13, 2017, with day long activities on Saturday, October 14, 2017.

Yarberry gave a breakdown of the finances for the 2016 Downtown Days, as a general guideline for the 2017 Downtown Days.

The figures show that the bulk of the funds come from solicitations from community sponsors, which, last year brought in $12,850.00. Vendors paid $6,305. The pageant brought in $995; kids' activities $995, the car show, $745; the 5K, $465. and other income totaled $23,190.

Expenses were by far heaviest in the cost of music events. The Main Concert performance cost $8,000; Sound and lights, $3,000; other music entertainment, $2,000; Electrician fees were $1,500; Signs were $1,405.75; the storage units for the modular Rusty Nail stage was $1,320.00. Other costs: Trophies, $900; Insurance $550.00. T-Shirts for Festival officials, $550; Pageant miscellaneous other than trophies, $260; Stage set up/miscellaneous, $360; Garbage cleanup, $300; Friday night DJ, $300; Advertisement, $309; Website, $250; Stamps, $70.

On a question by Council Member Dean, Festival Committee member Gina Baker said that the festival was beginning the year with just under $2,000 cash in the bank.

Yarberry said that the Saturday night concert headliner this year would feature Pam Tillis, the 1994 Female Vocalist of the Year.

Initially, Council Member Ronald Rogers moved to make the donation, and Council Member Mark Harris, seconded it. But they withdrew the motion after the council was reminded of it rule not to grant a donation request until a subsequent meeting. City Attorney Marshall, asked to elaborate on what might be done, said that the council could suspend the rule if all council members were in agreement. When Mayor Hardwick heard of the object of Council Member Craig Dean, which meant that the rule could not meet the unanimous approval threshhold, Council Members Rogers and and Harris withdrew their motion to fund the festival.

Mayor Hardwick said that the matter will likely be revisited at either a special called meeting.

The Downtown Committee includes Rhonda Loy, Chasity Yarberry, Jada Coomer, Ann Austin, Tiffany Collins, Gina Baker, Kasey Bardin, Katie Curry, and Andrea Vanarsdale.

New gas ordinance approved, on 5-1 vote

The council heard the second reading of Ordinance No. 610.74, an update of Ordinance No. 610.71, changing verbiage for customer billing and adding rate increase for gas fees and voted 5 to 1 to select the higher recommended amount for future billing.

All rates stay the same except for two amounts of increase from which to choose -- $2.90/MCF minimum vs $3.30/MCF -- a lengthy discussion surrounded reasons for the past incorrect billing and losses suffered from incorrect amounts billed. Councilmember Rogers pointed out, as an analogy, "The City has been providing customers with premium gas while only charging for regular gas." Mayor Hardwick said the good news is, softening the rate change, comes with the decrease in the cost of natural gas, which allows customers of the Columbia Gas Department to get lower gas bills this season.

In making the motion to vote for the recommended $3.30 per MCF, councilmember Waggener said she believed it was the right thing to do after having spent time with Ann Marie Austin, listening to recommendations from her experience and study, and then weighing the research which showed that we as a city have far fewer add-ons and fees - it sounds like with a small addition in income over our costs we can steadily improve equipment and service.

Councilmember Dean asked how long it had been before we'd increased gas rates. Superintendent Ronald Cook said it has been 12 years.

Councilmember Mark Harris seconded the motion and the vote was 5 to 1 to approve the ordinance.

Councilmember Pam Hoots voted against the increased rate. She said she understood the need for the raise to $2.90, however was concerned about going above that at this time.

Council approves Mutual Consent Agreement with PEAK

In another action related to the City of Columbia Gas Department, the council, on the recommendation of Mayor Hardwick, voted unanimously to enter a mutual consent agreement with PEAK (The Public Energy Authority of Kentucky), which stipulates that the City of Columbia and PEAK, the former supplier of natural gas with not end their association without legal action on either side.

On a motion by Council Member Ronald Rogers, with a second by Council Member Craig Dean, with Linda Waggener, Mark Harris, Craig Lasley, and Pam Hoots concurring, there was unanimous approval.

Minutes Approved

The Council unanimously approved the minutes of the August 7, 2017, regular meeting.

Airport requests additional $2,000; but matter is tabled

Mayor Hardwick presented a request from the Columbia/Adair County Airport Board for an addition $2,000, in addition to $7,000 already granted, but the matter was tabled pending more information, including whether Adair Fiscal Court will match the additional funding.

Police Chief Cross: Down a cruiser, down one officer

Columbia Police Chief Jason Cross, in addition to handing out The Columbia Police Department Activity Report for August 2017, also reported on two developments affecting his department.

The first, in answer to a question by Councilman Craig Dean, was about the loss of a Police Cruiser (See: Columbia PD faced night of mayhem - arrest two suspects) when a suspect allegedly stole a CPD Cruiser and later wreck it.

Chief Cross said that the cruiser is covered by insurance and that the carrier has agreed that the vehicle is totalled and will send a check. A new cruiser will be order as soon as possible, he said.



Council Comments

- Craig Dean - asked CPD Chief Jason Cross to report on the wrecked police car and followup from which brought up the aforementioned theft and wreck of Ofc Drew Conn's patrol car. Insurance is being checked out, the car is pretty much totalled.

- Linda Waggener - Gave a thank you to Ann Marie Austin, the gas department secretary, clarifying the financial situation and the terminology in the ordinance passed at Tuesday's meeting. Commended the work of Mary Ann Loy, and Chief Jason Cross, for the step toward pedestrian safety on Burkesville Street, on Sunday, September 3, 2017. Traffic cones were posted alerting motorists to worshippers crossing Burkesville Street from the Madison Square office complex to the Columbia United Methodist Church. Waggener noted that Council Member Pam Hoots would be chairing a Sidewalks Committee meeting at the Chamber building on Wednesday, September 06, and invited any council members to attend.

- Craig Lasley - Commended the city for the attractiveness of the flags on Labor Day, and asked for prayers for Hurricane Harvey victims and those in harms way in developing Atlantic storms.

- Ronald Rogers - Asked all to keep Houston and Florida in their prayers, and commended the city for the flags display. He also advised the council and the public that he is aware of the color of his lawn and that it was a procedure under the direction of his wife, Gale Rogers.

- Pam Hoots - Reported that things are happening in the sidewalk front, and that she would have a report subsequent to the Wednesday Sidewalk Committee meeting.

Hoots also said that she has been asked about the possibility for bars in the City and was told by ABC Commissioner Rhonda Loy and City Attorney Marshall Loy that bars could be opened in Columbia under the present state laws but that the cost for the license should be enough to be prohibitive. They also raised the idea that the city could act to prevent the establishment of bars here. (Adair County ABC Deputy Commissioner Shannon Sexton, who looked into the matter for the Adair County Fiscal court reported to the August Fiscal Court that local jurisdictions cannot write ordinances which would contradict state law, however.)

Mark Harris - Added that he had enjoyed the flags, too.
The meeting was well attended, with most of the seats in the council meeting room filled. In addition to Mayor Hardwick and the six council members - Craig Dean, Linda Waggener, Craig Lasley, Dr. Ronald Rogers, Pam Hoots, and Mark D. Harris - City Clerk Rhonda Loy, City Attorney Marshall Loy, City Police Chief Jason Cross, City Gas Superintendent Ron Cook, and his wife, Linda; members of te media, representatives of Constellation Energy, Barry & Mary Ann Loy, members of the Downtown Days Committee, City Planning & Zoning Commissioner Roy Rademacher, and others were present.

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 2017-09-06 17:16:43
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City Council 5 Sep 2017: One man welcoming committee



2017-09-06 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com.
Columbia City Council Member Dr. Ronald Rogers, standing, welcomed John Shearer Constellation Energy Company representatives, right, John Shearer, and back to camera, Brian Habacivch, to the Tuesday, September 5, 2017, meeting of the Columbia City Council. Constellation Energy is the Columbia Gas Department's new natural gas supplier. Shearer and Habacivch were here to answer questions about the gas markets and how services they will provide. Paired Photo. Clicking Read More accesses full account of another landmark meeting of City Council.

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Columbia City Council 05 Sep 2017: Mayor Hardwick leads pledge



2017-09-06 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener.
In the absence of a guest Pledge of Allegiance leader, Mayor Curtis Hardwick performed the duty. The scene was at the Tuesday, September 5, 2017 session. To the right of Mayor Hardwick is long time City Attorney Marshall Loy.

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Chasity Yarberry presents case for Downtown Days Funding



2017-09-06 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com.
Chasity Yarberry presented the case for the Downtown Days request for funding for the 2017 Downtown Days Festival, which will be held Friday, October 13, and Saturday, October 14, 2017. The Downtown Days Festival Committee is requesting $5,000 from the City. The council heard the request, but deferred action on it when reminded by Council Member Craig Lasley that there is a standing council rule that requests are not granted until a subsequent meeting after the presentation of the request. The matter will might be taken up in a special called meeting, possibly coinciding with another need. The Downtown Days Committee also includes Rhonda Loy, Jada Coomer, Ann Austin, Tiffany Collins, Gina Baker, Kasey Bardin, Katie Curry, and Andrea VanArsdale. - EW. Photo Tue 5 Sep 2017.

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Dr. Rogers adds slight twist to definition of expert



2017-09-07 - City Hall, 116 Campbellsville Street, Columbia, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com.
We all know "all experts are from 50 miles away," but Dr. Ronald Rogers, added the line (can't vouch for originality; there's an awful lot your humble scribe has never heared, and even more he hasn't seed, to paraphrase a great Grover Cleveland Gilpin story), and said that experts are "from 50 miles away and carrying a briefcase," when he recognized the carriers of this impressive pouch before the beginning of the Tuesday, September 5, 2017, regular meeting of the Columbia City Council. Paired Photo. Clicking Read More accesses full account of another landmark meeting of City Council.

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