City council considers two budget options
The Versailles City Council heard first readings of two budgets for fiscal year 2018 that reflect a difference of opinion over whether to give a four or five percent raise to city employees. The fiscal year begins July 1, and the pay hikes are the only difference in the two budgets. Finance Committee members Mike Coleman, Ann Miller and Ken Kerkhoff propose a four percent raise for city workers, except for department heads, who would receive a 2.75 percent hike. Mayor Brian Traugott's proposed budget had a five percent increase for non-department heads. Neither budget includes a raise for council members or the mayor. Before Coleman, who chairs the Finance Committee, spoke about his proposal, Traugott said he was proud of the civil discussion held at last week's work session on the matter. Coleman said members of the Finance Committee thought highly of city employees, but were in favor of the lesser increase, citing big-ticket items in the city's near future like a new police station and expanded and renovated wastewater treatment plant. He also said the state Department of Local Government has proposed a 2.14 percent increase, and many business surveys project a three percent increase. The four percent option would save the city $45,478, but after the meeting, Coleman said he believed if Social Security and Medicare contributions were included, that number would be between $70,000 and $75,000. Traugott said he'd gauge council members views on both budget proposals before the June 20 second reading, and hoped to avoid votes on each proposal. Budget highlights (5 percent raise option) General fund: Revenues, $9,928,369; operating expenses, $9,513,204; capital expenses, $649,600; end-of-year balance, $3,725,441. Enterprise fund (includes sewer and water): Revenues, $17,557,000; operating expenses, $6,245,573; capital expenses: $11,274,000; end-of-year balance, $11,496,275. Road fund: Beginning balance, $245,000; revenues: $169,482; operating expenses, $200,000; end-of-year balance, $214,482. Certified City of Ethics Traugott introduced an eight-page document to amend the city's existing ethics ordinance that will be reviewed by the council's Administrative and Legal Committee, which is chaired by Council Member Mary Bradley. "It's certainly not etched in stone. It's just a recommendation," he said. His goal is that the committee produce a finished document ready to be put in ordinance form by July 1. It updates several definitions, expands language regarding standards of conduct, and toughens the city's policies regarding conflicts of interest, gifts to elected officials and department heads and other matters. Bids The council voted 5 to 0 to accept low bids for several items, including several pieces of equipment for the water treatment plant paid for by a $35,000 grant from the National Association of City and County Health Officials. (Council Member Ken Kerkhoff was absent.) * $8,069.70 by Delaney & Associates of Erlanger for three fluoride storage tanks. * $6,173 by Hartzell Air Movement of Piqua, Ohio, for a new exhaust fan in the fluoride room. * $10,581 by Delaney & Associates for a new fluoride metering pump. * $3,380 by Delaney & Associates for digital scales in the fluoride room. The council also unanimously approved a low bid of $2,750 by Faust Electric, LLC, of Lexington for removal and installation of the variable frequency drive for the digester blower at the wastewater treatment plant. Low bids of $1,800 by Woodford Seal Quote for restriping on Beasley Road and $1,400 for restriping on Marsailles Road also received 5 to 0 votes. Cheaper salt Public Works Director Bart Miller told the council that the Kentucky League of Cities and Kentucky Association of Counties (KACO) had worked together on a "reverse salt auction" that resulted in lower costs for sale. The council unanimously approved a contract with the Detroit Salt Company to buy 700 tons of salt at $56.50 a ton - a drop from the $61.20 the city paid last year. DPAC Council Member Laura Dake, whom Traugott appointed chair of the Downtown Planning Advisory Committee in February, updated the council on the committee's work. Dake said the committee has met four times since then, and said its accomplishments included: * Defining downtown Versailles: south to Montgomery Avenue, north to the U.S. 60 Bypass past Woodford County High School, east to the U.S. 60 Bypass at Woodford Feed and west to the end of Big Spring Park. * Setting up an ad-hoc committee to examine past downtown revitalization efforts, including the Vision Versailles 2000. * Researching and reporting what other U.S. cities have done to revitalize their downtowns. * Brainstorming "low-hanging fruit" projects, among which was the Earth Day clean-up of Big Spring Park, in which both Dake and Coleman participated.