Council passes needle exchange resolution
The Versailles City Council Tuesday voted 4 to 0 in favor of a resolution to express consent for a "Harm Reduction and Syringe Exchange" program endorsed by the Woodford County Board of Health. Council members Gary Jones and Mary Ellen Bradley were absent. If Woodford Fiscal Court also passes the resolution, the health board could have the needle exchange program running by mid-2017. State law requires such programs be approved by a county's health board, fiscal court and the governing body of the county's largest city. Mayor Brian Traugott suggested the council approve the resolution and have the Police and Fire Committee be the "point person" for the city. "My preference would be to go ahead and grant the consent and move forward with the implementation. If it's something you don't like, you can come back in here and withdraw consent and in essence, shut it down with one vote," Traugott said. Backers of needle exchange programs say they reduce the risk of diseases spread when intravenous drug users share needles and cut down on the number of improperly disposed used needles. Critics say they make it easier for heroin and other IV drug users to continue a dangerous habit. "It's a needed thing, you hate that it's needed ." Traugott said. After the meeting, he said, "It's the responsible thing to do and sometimes the responsible thing is not the pretty thing." Code Enforcement Board The council held first readings for five ordinances establishing a Code Enforcement Board and amending city laws the board will oversee. Among the highlights: . An ordinance assigning the duties of the Vacant Properties Commission to the Code Enforcement Board. . An ordinance establishing the Code Enforcement Board and detailing how it will enforce the city's nuisance code and the penalties for violations. . An ordinance amending present law requiring five days' notice to owners of property with overgrown grass before the city can mow the area and bill the owner. When the city has previously cited the owner, it would now be able to step in immediately. . An ordinance adding non-working or wrecked or junked vehicles for more than 20 days to the nuisance list. "I'm about as excited about these five ordinances as I have been about anything, because I think it's going to make a difference," Traugott said. "Me too," said council member Carl Ellis, whose Legal and Administrative Committee had worked on the reforms. Zone change request The council voted 4 to 0 in favor of a zone change of 27 acres in the Wooldridge Gardens subdivision from single family residential to high density residential. The request was unanimously endorsed by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission Surplus pistols The council unanimously voted in favor of a request by Versailles Police Chief Jim Fugate to declare as surplus 25 used Sig Sauer pistols and allow officers to purchase them at a fair market price of $315 each. Smart phone app The council spent several minutes viewing a PowerPoint display about a new smart phone application that allows people to anonymously email tips to the police department, report other problems, request forms, and apply for jobs and parade permits. The app, called "Versailles Police Department," is free to the user and is accessible on all smart phones. The department used $5,000 in asset forfeiture funds to pay for the first year of the program with an annual $1,000 charge afterwards. Traugott cautioned that the app is no substitute for calling 911 or the police department. Odom honored Former Versailles Fire Marshal Jim Odom was presented with a key to the city. He began volunteering for the Versailles Fire Department in 1994 and was a paid employee for the last 13 years, once serving as interim chief. Odom also served as a helicopter mechanic in the Kentucky National Guard.