FEMA grant allows three new firefighters
At the Versailles City Council meeting Tuesday, Fire Chief Brian Wainscott announced that a successful grant application with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay for three new firefighters. Wainscott said the $309,405 "SAFER" (Staffing for Adequate Fire/Emergency Response) grant will pay nearly all the salary and benefits for the firefighters for two years. Wainscott will then be able to assign four to each engine, which he said will put the city in compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for the first time since the department became full-time in 1999. Wainscott said he believed he could have the new firefighters on the job by the beginning of the year. Council member Ken Kerkhoff asked what would happen after the grant expired. Wainscott replied that the city should stay in compliance with the NFPA, adding that by the time the grant runs out, several higher-paid veterans will have retired, making it easier to make the FEMA hires permanent. The council voted 5 to 0 to officially accept the grant. Council member Gary Jones was absent. Walk/bike path Public Works Director Bart Miller said the city was prepared to apply for a $250,000 state grant to build a new half-mile walk/bike path on the U.S. 60 Bypass between Advance Auto Parts and Douglas Avenue. A few months ago, the city purchased the property for $60,000. Miller said between that expense and in-kind work from city workers, there might not be any additional city costs if the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant is successful. Council member Ann Miller suggested extending the path further to the old Jack Kain Ford property, which Bart Miller later said would be another half-mile or so. Utility pole ordinance The council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that will require the public works director to issue permits before new utility poles can be erected. Council member Carl Ellis asked if the ordinance would affect the recent deal with KentuckyWired to install fiber optic cable in the Lewis Walton Park/Douglas Avenue area for future broadband access. Mayor Brian Traugott said yes, but that he didn't believe KentuckyWired intended to install new poles in the area, for which the agency was granted rights-of-way. Garbage franchise fee The council heard first readings on two ordinances that will erase the city's $3 monthly garbage franchise fee. The council is expected to approve the measures at its Oct. 4 meeting. "Hallelujah," said council member Carl Ellis. KCTCS bond refinancing The council unanimously voted for an ordinance directing the city's Public Property's Corporation (PPC) to refinance the 2006 bond deal for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System headquarters. (The PPC met before the council meeting.) Those bonds will be refunded through the issuance of approximately $4.13 million in mortgage refunding revenue bonds. New EDA member The council unanimously approved Traugott's nomination of William Downey to fill the Woodford Economic Development Authority (EDA) seat left vacant by last month's resignation of Lauren Graves. Traugott said Downey is a Versailles resident, a former member of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission, and an employee of the RJ Corman Group. Residential flexibility? The council unanimously endorsed a resolution expressing the opinion that parcels zoned P-1 (professional office space) be allowed residential usage on upper floors. The resolution is also a formal request that the Planning Commission conduct a public hearing and consider the request. City Attorney Bill Moore said the Planning Commission could then recommend the change to the two city councils and Woodford Fiscal Court. "There's so little P-1 in the city and in the county ." Traugott said. Bids The council unanimously approved a $18,740 bid from Semones Heating and Air for two new heating and air conditioning units for the Versailles Municipal Building (City Hall). Bart Miller said the other bidder did not supply a quote for the two units recommended by the city's engineering firm. Miller said the items were budgeted. The council also unanimously approved a low bid of $18,545 from International Spreaders, Inc. of Nicholasville for a 10-foot snow plow and six-yard salt spreader. Miller said the items will be attached to a city tanker truck that used to haul sludge from the old landfill. Trick or Treat Traugott announced that the city will observe Trick or Treat on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m.