SALYERSVILLE – The Salyersville City Council met in regular session on Monday, February 20, discussing the budget and the status of the park.
As a formality, the council held the first reading of an ordinance setting the date and time for their regular meetings, which they agreed in January to keep the same as last year. The council unanimously voted to hold the regular monthly meetings on the third Monday each month at 7 p.m. All voted in favor of the ordinance except Tom Frazier, who was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.
For continuity of government, in case of a disaster, the council agreed to appoint Salyersville’s Emergency Management Director Paul Howard as the second in command in the event Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd was unavailable.
City Attorney Jeff Lovely explained to the council that council members cannot hold executive roles and the appointment is only for emergency situations.
Mayor Shepherd further noted that Howard, as the emergency management director, goes to all the meetings and trainings and would be the most logical choice for the position.
All city council members present voted in favor of appointing Howard as the second in command in an emergency situation.
The council also unanimously authorized Mayor Shepherd, Howard (who is also the city fire chief), and Salyersville Police Department Chief Matthew Watson to each be able to apply for state and federal surplus property purchases.
In his mayor’s report, Shepherd explained that the budget is tighter than last year, as they had expected, so they have been trying to spend less to compensate. Last year at this point in the fiscal year the city had taken in $872,778, he said, and spent $863,654. Currently, they have taken in $834,656 and spent $810,046, actually holding more of a profit this year as compared to the previous fiscal year.
With the majority of taxes already collected, Mayor Shepherd explained that the rest of the year will get tighter, but they knew that going into the year and have tried to plan accordingly.
With the fifth anniversary of the March 2, 2012 tornado coming up next week, Shepherd said he will meet with the county and see if they want do something in conjunction with the city to commemorate the anniversary. Nothing has officially been scheduled as of press time, but the Salyersville Independent will release any information regarding an event as soon as the details are released. For updates, check www.salyersvilleindependent.com or follow the Independent on Facebook or Twitter.
Shepherd said the two tornado shelters owned by the city are still located at Logan Corporation, however, there is a lease agreement with the Salyersville First Baptist Church to relocate one of the shelters to Dixie Avenue, and he has a few locations he is checking on for the other shelter. City Council Member Paul Burchell said he would have a crane in town in a couple of weeks to do work for him and that he could have them move the shelters.
In new business, the council discussed the status of the Ramey Memorial Park. A couple of members had heard reports of more graffiti on the bridge and playground equipment, so Shepherd said he would check on it, again, and have anything washed off that had been added since the last time city crews pressured washed graffiti.
Jeff Lovely, who also sits on the park board, updated the council on the park, explaining that the dugouts will be cleaned soon. He said the lights that were not working and were about to fall down were removed.
Lovely explained that the park board has city and county members, along with the park director, and both the city and county allots a small amount of funding to the park board every quarter.
City Council Member Jeff Bailey said he would like to see more money being put into the park, for example, to fix the tennis courts.
“If we don’t do anything, we’ll have nothing,” Bailey said.
Lovely said the tennis courts would cost $65,000 to refurbish, however, the little league fields will need lighting replaced soon, which will cost around $150,000.
As far as funding goes, Lovely said the pool breaks even with party rentals, but the park is losing money now that the schools have their own baseball and softball complex and do not pay to use the park fields. He said there is a leak in the pool that needs fixed, as well.
Lovely commended Park Director Ray Keeton, explaining that he is always in contact with Big Sandy Area Development District for available grants, which are becoming much harder to obtain.
Mayor Shepherd said the city gives the park board $3,000 every quarter and city workers mow the grass in the summer. He said he’s already acquired bids for installing ramps on all three shelters at the park, as well, which will be scheduled later this year.
Shepherd also told those in attendance that a letter has been sent to the secretary of state’s office and county court clerk regarding the vacancy on the council. He said that goes to the governor, who is now responsible for appointing someone to the position.
The law doesn’t specify a designated procedure for the appointment, nor does it give a timeline, Lovely said.
The next regular city council meeting is slated for March 20, 2017 at 7 p.m.