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City council approved a change order from contractor Walter Martin Excavating totaling $2,100 for the ongoing river walk project.
Heritage Engineering Project Manager David Eberenz said when the project initially went to bid, he did not have Kentucky Utilities’ layout for the light pole conduits, so he used KU’s details on the lights, which called for 18 inches of cover. Since then, KU has requested a different alignment and a 30-inch cover.
The change order also added about 60 lineal feet of 1 1/4 –inch conduit and 60 lineal feet of 1-inch conduit, which includes crossing under the parking lot from the Second Street pole to the river walk.
Councilman Robb Adams asked Eberenz if he foresees anything else he was not 100 percent sure about that would cause a change order? Eberenz said not that he is aware of. Everything else is pretty clear-cut, but he could not say 100 percent for certain there would be no more change orders.
After approving the change order, Councilman Dwight Louden brought up the discussion of paving the river walk near the Jefferson Community and Technical College parking lot as well. Mayor Gene McMurry said the Lehrmann’s owned the lot up to about two months ago, but now JCTC owns it and indicated the city could use the parking lot.
Louden said his original thought was to take part of the parking lot for the river walk and grass it. He said he would like to do this now rather than later because he did not want to mess up what had already been done later on, but not if it was cost prohibitive.
Eberenz said he did not have the numbers in front of him, but the alternate bid from the contractor was about $30,000, but did not include securing the riverbank. McMurry said the preliminary cost estimate to install concrete steps from the parking lot to the river walk was about $85,300, but that estimate had not been made on just securing the riverbank without the concrete.
Adams asked Eberenz how long council would have to make the decision before it would impede progress. Eberez said council was not impeding progress and agreed to bring figures to the next council meeting, April 28. He said he would also talk to Carrollton Public Works Supervisor Ronnie Knight for his thoughts about maintaining the slope behind the parking lot to the river walk.
Councilwoman Ann Deatherage asked where this extra money would come from. McMurry said the city has some carryover in next year’s budget available, but that council would get the estimate and then they could discuss it.
Council also voted to approve the trailhead signs for the river walk. There will be one on each end and will be backlit inside. The signs also allow for interchangeable banners that also will be backlit.
City employees eligible for tuition assistance
McMurry said a Carrollton police officer requested tuition reimbursement for him to attend college. Administrators contacted former city clerk/treasurer Becky Pyles, who said there was a resolution passed in the 1990s on this topic. Before hearing back from Pyles, McMurry asked Paul Combs, who writes the city’s personnel policy, to write a municipal order like Carrollton Utilities’ policy.
City clerk/treasurer Leatha Grimes said the tuition assistance program is included in the policy and procedures manual and would only need to be amended if council decided to change the policy to include other institutions besides JCTC. Pyles and retired Carrollton Police Lieutenant John See are the only employees who took advantage of the policy since about 2003, she said.
Grimes said JCTC probably would not offer any beneficial courses for police officers, noting that the officer was interested in taking correspondence or online courses at Eastern Kentucky University.
Council voted to approve Combs’ policy, including a minor word change and changing the grades “C” and “B” to 2.0 and 3.0, respectively.
The policy allows any city employee to participate in in-service training and/or educational programs that will enhance career development. The city will pay tuition and book costs for employees who enroll in job-related courses at an accredited university or college (limited to one of the six regional associations recognized by the Department of Education).
A maximum of two courses per semester (six courses per year) will be authorized, and all classes shall be attended during the employee’s non-working hours.
Employees participating in the program must remain employed by the city for 36 months afterward. If they are terminated before that time, they must repay the costs.
City will not pay for in-county travel
Council approved a municipal order updating the city’s policy and procedure manual regarding travel. Deatherage said she was the instigator of this, noting she had received several concerns over several months that the policy does not say in black and white that the city does not reimburse for local travel expenses. If we all turned in our local expenses, the cost to taxpayers “would be astronomical,” she said. However, they can deduct this from their personal income taxes as long it is well-documented.
Councilwoman Hayley Franklin said Carroll County Schools has a similar policy, meaning they will not reimburse for meals or travel unless it is overnight.
McMurry said he has been logging all of his travel and has been reimbursed for it.
After a lengthy discussion, council voted to not allow travel reimbursement for business within Carroll County. They also voted to increase the reimbursement per day when traveling on official business out of county from $30 per day to $40 per day. This has already been adopted by Carrollton Utilities. They also adopted the federal government standards regarding travel in high-cost areas.
Council did not discuss whether McMurry will be required to re-pay the city for his in-county travel expenses.
New mower breaks, council to buy another
McMurry said the Dixie Chopper lawn mower lasted “about 15 minutes” this season and broke. Carrollton Public Works’ old mower still works, but they will need a new one before the mowing season begins. Knight has about $8,400 in his budget for a new mower next fiscal year. McMurry said he and Grimes looked at Knight’s current budget and consulted him and found $11,575 in five line items that will be unused before the end of the fiscal year. Council approved moving the funds over to purchase a new mower at a cost of $8,249. City Attorney Ed James will be looking further into the issue.
Council addresses trolley issue
Deatherage said after reading two letters to the editor in The News-Democrat and talking to some of the trolley committee members, she wanted to address the trolley issue. She told them the major problem was lack of communication. She said McMurry asked her to be on the trolley committee, but she could not because she already had a meeting at the same time.
“They’ve worked hard,” she said of the committee.
McMurry said he told the committee that council wanted to know who was going to oversee the operation of the trolley and make sure that there are drivers. Adams said that he thought the general consensus was wanting to find out who else was going to subsidize the cost, such as businesses who wanted to have trolley stops. He said he believes they were saying that they had done some work and they wanted us to pay for it. Adams added that he thought the project had died after the initial meeting with council.
McMurry said the committee is definitely still pursuing it and that they had talked to Carrollton/Carroll County Tourism about it, but tourism was not interested. McMurry said the group is still trying to find someone to oversee and manage the project.
Court Street to be closed for First Fridays
Carrollton Main Street Manager Sam Burgess requested council close a portion of Court Street on June 6, Aug. 1 and Sept. 5 for the annual First Friday events. Council approved the request. There will not be a First Friday event in July because that is the Fourth of July and would conflict with the city’s event.
Department heads no longer attending meetings
Carrollton department heads are no longer required to attend the first city council meeting of the month. McMurry said after the meeting that council had decided that it was not necessary since they already receive their monthly reports.
April 25: Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County sponsors the annual Child Abuse Prevention Month event at 6:30 p.m. at the courthouse square. The free event will include inflatables, food, a magician and guest speaker Leigh Ann Roberts. It will conclude at 9 p.m. with a closing ceremony.