City council approves equipment, unbudgeted parks expenses

SHELLEY BYRNE/The Mayfield Messenger

The Mayfield City Council discusses two ordinances during Monday evening's meeting. One closed a loophole for hotel room taxes that did not previously apply to people staying 30 days or longer. The other gave the city the ultimate authority on approving grave openings and closings in city-owned cemeteries that could be prevented by inclement weather.

The Mayfield City Council spent more than a quarter million dollars on capital expenditures Monday night with the end of the budget year fast approaching.

City Clerk Tamie Johnson recommended that department heads prioritize up to $300,000 in spending from surplus revenue in the general fund, according to items listed in the city's capital spending plan. The plan allows for equipment purchases but cannot be used on projects throughout the year.

The city's general fund had about $500,000 more in it this March as compared to last March, but Johnson recommended $200,000 be kept as a cushion in case of leaner financial times.

The council voted unanimously, 9-0, at Monday evening's meeting to approve $279,733 expenditures. Councilman Phil Myers absent. Approved purchases were:

• For the fire department, a Ford F250 backup rescue unit at $34,000, two Ford F250 trucks for the chief and assistant chief, up-fitting for the three trucks at a total of $19,500 and three sets of turnout gear for $8,325.

• For the police department, various safety equipment for $12,000, two Ford 150s plus up-fitting for $70,558, a drug incinerator with half to be paid by the Graves County Sheriff's Office for $2,300 and a Spy II Surveillance Box for $2,000.

• For public works, a Ford 450 with dump bed for $42,000 and a Scag Tiger Cat II 61-inch zero-turn mower for $9,050.

The city's 2018-19 fiscal year ends June 30, and capital expenditures are typical for the city either just before or just after the end of the year. In the 2017-18 budget year the city spent $427,280. In the 2016-17 year it spent roughly $394,000.

Council members also approved an unbudgeted $15,000 in expenses for the parks and recreation board, half of the projected $30,000 overage due to utility bills, councilman Nate Cox said. The board, which is jointly funded by the city and the county, is asking the county to pay the other half of the expenses.

The funding is for recurrent bills, with no lights yet repaired at the Mayfield-Graves County Ballparks, Cox said. He noted that expenses are projected to increase with the lights being replaced and more use of the facilities during warmer weather.

Budget projections had not been accurate, Cox said, and he and councilman Derrick Parrott both said the parks and recreation committee is working to get a better handle on projected revenue and expenses.

"We're not just blindly throwing money at a problem that's not getting fixed," Cox said immediately following the meeting.

The council also approved two ordinances on second reading, both also unanimously. One ordinance gives the city ultimate authority on when graves will be opened or closed at city-owned cemeteries, preventing damage during inclement weather. The other eliminates a loophole for hotel room taxes in which people staying longer than 30 days in a hotel or motel didn't have to pay the tax as part of their room rate.

The council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Kathy O'Nan to act as a representative in securing Kalleo Technologies for monthly information technology services. The ongoing monthly rate is $4,868, which includes email, virus protection, recovery services and other service fees. It also ensures someone is available at all times of the day or night if needed to respond to a problem, O'Nan said.

In business from the community, the council also heard an update from Jodie Hansen, project manager at Graves County Economic Development, regarding GenCanna's construction of a plant near Hickory.

The plant remains on schedule to open in the fall, although frequent and heavy spring rains have not been helpful, she said. She also reported on a recent trip to Denver, Colorado, where economic development officials spoke with several other people in the hemp industry.

Bryan Bert and Scott Lapinski of Teen Challenge, a residential, 12-month substance abuse treatment program with its current closest chapter in Webster County, also spoke to the council about the desire to find donated property in Paducah or Mayfield to open up a faith-based women's treatment program in the area. The 14-bed women's facility in Dixon has been full since the doors opened, Lapinski said. The program requires all participants without a high school diploma to obtain a GED and helps with improving employability skills and job placement services.

In other business, the council:

• Learned from Police Chief Nathan Kent and Fire & EMS Chief Jeremy Creason that Kentucky State Police plans to upgrade its radio system as soon as next year at the Hickory post and plans to offer agreements allowing other law agencies using its dispatching services to partner to build onto the system.

"It potentially could save us a lot of money and get us more than we'd hoped for," Kent said.

Kent also said he was no longer interested in the police department spending money to renovate the former Moseley Automotive adjacent to City Hall because of the projected repair expenses.

• Reminded people not to blow grass in the street when mowing. It violates a city ordinance and is dangerous for motorcycle riders. Councilwoman Jana Adams mentioned a recent wreck in which a Graves County motorcycle rider was killed in Marshall County and said she had not realized how dangerous grass could be on a road.

"Grass on a roadway is kind of like driving on ice for motorcyclists," Creason said.

• Heard from Public Works director Russ Brower that the next citywide limb pickup will be the first two weeks in June, with the first week for portions of the city south of Broadway and the second week for those sections north of Broadway.

• Heard an update from Wendy Baxter of Sullivan University that enrollment for the first quarter was higher than expected. The university recently opened a learning center at the Mayfield Shopping Plaza.

• Declared April National Child Abuse Prevention Month, at the same time recognizing the Graves County Child Advocacy Program for its work in the community.

• Honored Dr. Darren Stone as having the business of the month.