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GENERAL ELECTION 2018

Fred Siegelman

Brief bio:

First and foremost, I’m a family man. My six children, Elizabeth, Amber, Rachel, Freddie, Walker, and Cooper, were all born and raised in Versailles. I’m married to Katie Siegelman and this is truly our home. My first experience as a public servant came in 1996 when I was elected to City Council. From there, I was fortunate enough to serve as a four term Mayor from 1999 to 2014. Since my time in office, I was appointed by Governor Beshear as the Executive Director for Kentucky Correctional Industries and am currently the Director of Sales for Epiphany Foam Insulation.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

Without a doubt, the opioid epidemic. Unfortunately, Kentucky is amongst the leaders in opioid-related deaths and I fear this can cripple our town. It has affected me personally as my nephew, Brad Hood, died of a heroin overdose within the past couple years. A young man at the age of 35 is no longer with us. As a city and community, we must take action. Community outreach and education is key to addressing this epidemic. Midway, Versailles and county governments need to work closely with each other to design a comprehensive plan to address this issue.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

Downtown Versailles is experiencing an immense amount of growth and it is imperative to support all local businesses. It has been my experience that a well formed public and private partnership can accomplish great things. It would be premature to pick an amount that I would be willing to commit on behalf of the city before reviewing the location, design, and projections of economic benefits for the pavilion. However, as my record proves, I work well with private and public partners to bring community projects to fruition.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

Whether the citizens believe they are getting their money’s worth from the current forms of government is a fair debate. On one hand, it can be argued that there is an overlap in services and there are too many elected officials. On the other hand, local governments share responsibilities and have merged services, all of which reduce costs to the taxpayers. Also, it can be argued that having more elected officials for fewer people provides better access to government. Merging governments have a specific legal process that must be observed. Ultimately, it is a decision by the voters.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

We need to work toward a collaborative resolution. The city has hired engineers and worked diligently with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to address traffic concerns. The solution is interconnectivity which allows traffic to flow efficiently. However, elected officials are always mindful of their constituents who might oppose the connectivity of certain streets. Therefore, Woodford Planning and Zoning could hold workshops with the citizens to work toward solutions.

Tim Middleton

Brief bio:

Versailles has been my home from day one till today. I am a graduate of the Woodford County school system, Kentucky State University and U.K. I am blessed to be a father, brother and grandfather. I am beginning my 24th year as an educator in Kentucky. I do love my job. I have donated my services to the Versailles community all my life. I have served as a Little League football coach, on the Board of Directors of the Woodford County Library, Roots and Heritage, Steele Cemetery, the State Library Board and the Fayette County Education Association.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

I believe the most challenging issue facing Versailles is the drug situation in Versailles. The user and the people who traffic in drugs are both in need of help. I will support and motivate the administration to take positive steps to face the challenges. I think that we need to give those who are fighting the fight more support.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

I am not in complete support of the pavilion. I do not think enough Versailles citizens are aware of the plan. I am suspect of any plan to use any taxpayer money, when taxpayers are not fully aware of what’s going on. I’m against using any city funds at this point.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

I believe that the idea is to get more for our money. I do like the idea of a merged government. I support an independent and thorough study of the negative and positive effects of a merger for Woodford County citizens. There probably has been a study done. If so, what does it say?

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

I didn’t know there were traffic problems in the city, so I asked around town. Most of the people I talked to didn’t think there was a traffic problem either. There are back ups at certain parts of the day, but I think every growing city has that issue.

Ken Kerkhoff

Brief bio:

I have 34 years of business experience with IBM/Lexmark where I managed large budgets during difficult times and successfully lead organizations with challenges. As a member of the Finance Committee, I’m proud of the positive progress we have made to significantly improve the City’s balance sheet. I serve on the Affordable Housing and Community Broadband taskforce and the Water/Sewer committee. I have had the honor of chairing:

• Uniquely Woodford Branding committee

• Finance Committee

• Woodford County Tourism Commission

• Communications committee

My wife Nancy, a retired teacher, and I moved here 34 years ago, raised three sons, all graduates of WCHS.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

Public Safety and quality services is the primary job of government. State-of-the-art police/fire facilities, equipment (ie; body cams, etc), and training are critical. Many communities are facing opiate issue’s and we are taking appropriate steps with Narcan and needle exchange programs. Economic Development: The largest share of General Fund revenue comes directly from payroll, net profit tax, utility franchise and insurance license fees. All related to economic development/jobs. My number one priority eight years ago was funding a full-time EDA Director and I will continue that support looking for the right industries and employers. What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

The 5th Third Pavilion in Lexington played a major role in revitalizing their downtown and I would like to explore how we might benefit as well. Recently we have seen the beginnings of some revitalization efforts in downtown Versailles with the opening of the Amsden Coffee Shop & Mercantile Exchange, the Bourbon Bar and the soon to open Rolling Oven and Tap Room and the Steeplechase Centre event facility. These private equity investments will bring more folks downtown, and I support the potential of an outdoor pavilion and public event space. However, private equity/donations/naming rights should be the primary funding source.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

Since day one I have supported studying the benefits of merged city/county governments. In fact, I voted for a resolution to do just that a few years back. Your point above is dead on in my view, something we need to investigate.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

Part of the answer is a bypass and, as emotional as folks get about this issue, I am still in favor of it. Other solutions involve acquiring data to support specific changes. Finally, with so many state roads involved we have limited impact but to continue requesting changes we feel are needed. I consider working with various factions, finding common ground and taking a leadership role to identify priorities and work to achieve them as one of my strengths. People break down barriers by spending time together and ‘honestly’ trying to understand opposing views and by developing plans to get things done.

Gary Jones

Brief bio:

I began a computer software business in Versailles in the ‘90s. After giving that business to my daughters, I am currently working in real estate. Recently, with a partner, I opened VBC Restaurant, with the sister brewing company opening in October. I am a Deacon at First Christian Church and coordinate their kitchen. I volunteer with the Ministerial Association, organizing their weekly community dinners. I volunteer at the WC Food Bank, and am on the board of Mentors and Meals, a program that tutors and feeds at risk children. I am also a member of the WC Farmers’ Market Board.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

I think a very important issue here in Versailles is trying to fill the empty retail space that we currently have and to use that to balance the need for growth with the need to preserve what makes our town unique. The City Council should work with the EDA and the property owners to find and attract businesses to fill these empty spaces. By using incentives and other methods of attraction, these empty buildings could help answer the question of growth. There is room for interior, controlled development, we just need to utilize it.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

A downtown pavilion is exciting, but both cost and parking loss must be considered. Downtown parking for events is limited and, depending on the size and location of the pavilion, the impact on parking could be considerable. With limited parking, will the public attend functions at the pavilion? The cost, both in building and maintaining the pavilion, must be considered. How many times a year will the pavilion be used, will the city charge for these events, who handles scheduling of events, set up, cleanup, maintenance? These questions need answering and those costs weighed against the benefit to the city.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

The idea of a merged government is appealing at first glance, but several of the former elected officials in Fayette County are now county employees with permanent jobs. I would like to see a study on the proposed savings for the city and the county, and how would the savings be handled? Would taxes be reduced by this savings amount, or would the money be used for other projects?

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

The traffic on Main St. at the morning and evening rush hours can be very trying. I would like to see a better synchronization of the red lights and a left turn signal from Main St. onto Lexington Rd. Currently the left turn lane can back up to the point that traffic going south cannot move forward because of the cars trying to turn left.

Patrick Hall

Brief bio:

I am a licensed attorney in Kentucky and currently work for the federal government. I have Bachelors’ degrees in political science and journalism from Ohio University, a Masters’ degree in political science from the University of New Orleans, and a law degree (JD) from Louisiana State University. I have spent the majority of my career working for the government. While working for the City of New Orleans Health Department in 2005, I ran the special medical needs unit at the Louisiana Superdome during Hurricane Katrina. I live in Versailles with my wife Jillian Burgess Hall and our son Gerrit.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

We have so many advantages and opportunities for increased tourism in Versailles that we need to improve upon. We are surrounded by the breathtaking views of horse farms, we are centrally located within a twenty-minute drive of 10 distilleries, and we offer local shops, restaurants, and experiences that are unparalleled in the surrounding communities. Our biggest challenge is sharing our story with the wider world. To help overcome this issue, I will lead the charge to hire a marketing and communications director to promote our city and make Versailles a destination.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

I enthusiastically support the concept of a downtown pavilion to increase event opportunities for the downtown business district and revitalize Big Spring Park. The businesses in our city have always been willing to repay the support they receive from our community. I believe that an open and informed discussion is necessary between the city and surrounding businesses and donors, with costs of labor and materials in hand, to determine a feasible budgeted amount that the city can contribute to ensure a fiscally responsible decision. Additionally, Versailles citizens should be afforded the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and decision.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

Our community and Lexington-Fayette County differ in substantial ways. For example, Woodford County has two incorporated communities, while Fayette County has only one. As such, comparing the two communities’ governmental structures is difficult at best. That said, I think that the citizens of Versailles are well-served by the current governmental structure. By keeping the city government separate from the county government, citizens of Versailles are able to take advantage of the conveniences afforded by living within the city limits, while simultaneously utilizing the economies of scale available with county-wide projects.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

While traffic remains a concern for our community, particularly along the Main Street corridor, we do not need major alterations such as the proposed bypass to ease these traffic concerns. Rather, I will seek to have a dedicated left-turn signal light installed at the intersection of Main Street and Lexington Street, which will allow those turning left at that intersection to do so without having cross oncoming traffic. I will also work to improve alternative transportation options by seeking more dedicated bicycle lanes and seeking a ride-share provider to operate in our community.

Tristan Ferrell

Brief bio:

My name is Tristan Ferrell, and my family has lived in Versailles for over 70 years. Our long lineage in this town is matched only by our love for this community. I am a founding member and current co-executive director of Spark Community Café, a pay-what-you-can restaurant opening in downtown Versailles this winter. Along with this honor, I was named the 2018 Freshman of the Year in Community and Leadership Development by The University of Kentucky. I would be honored to serve Versailles and bridge the generational gap on city council to insure a healthy community for future generations.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

The most important challenge facing Versailles is transparency. Our government has an obligation to be an open book to its citizens, and that has not been the case as of late. My goal as City Councilman would be to implement a livestream of every city council meeting, and to archive these meetings onto the Versailles webpage for future reference. Along with this, I would push for every city councilman to be issued email addresses specifically for government use. These actions are the first steps to having a more engaged community that’s aware of decisions that impact them the most.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

My position for the downtown pavilion project is similar to what I’ve heard from concerned citizens while campaigning. While I am for a pavilion in/around our downtown, I am against the current proposed location for the project. A fear that many citizens have communicated is that the parking that would be given up is invaluable to them. My proposal for the project would be to connect our downtown to Big Spring Park via an accessible walkway and renovate the current pavilion area in the park. I would not support the city itself spending more than $20,000 for the pavilion project.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

The topic of a merged government in Woodford County has been a debate for some time. Given the facts, it would seem that Woodford County taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth. The best course of action for this would be to hold a town hall meeting with citizens of Woodford County, and have the respective councils inform them of the several types of merged government, and to make this matter a decision made by the community, for the community.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

One of Versailles’ biggest traffic complaints comes from the 18-wheelers driving through our downtown causing noise pollution, slow traffic movement, and damaging our roads. To elevate this issue, I would support the legitimate enforcement of citing these drivers coming through our downtown and investing in signage indicating “no 18-wheelers beyond this point.”

Laura Dake

Brief bio:

A Versailles resident for 26 years, I am in my first term on council. I work in business development at Bluegrass Care Navigators (previously Hospice of the Bluegrass). Until six months ago, I was executive director of ITNBluegrass, a nonprofit that just celebrated 10 years of service providing transportation to seniors. My husband Bill and I have three children: Julia, a grad student at EKU; Janet, a junior at U of L and Jimmy, who is training as a medic for the Kentucky National Guard. I am a volunteer educator with the Alzheimer’s Association and a member of Versailles Presbyterian Church.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

Our greatest challenge will vary from person to person, so I wouldn’t presume to know exactly, but one challenge that stands out, among many, is the lack of things to do for middle school to high school age kids who are not otherwise involved in sports or other school-related activities or who lack transportation or financial resources. I would be interested in partnering with the schools as well as other community organizations (like Falling Springs or Life Adventure Center) to provide meaningful, healthy, fun outlets for kids who may not have the opportunity due to transportation or financial needs.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

As part of the effort to revitalize downtown, I support a pavilion and would welcome repurposing the soon-to-be-vacated police station to house it. I would support a public-private partnership where the city would sell the police property at a modest price to a developer for the express purpose of creating a pavilion. Because this would be an expensive project for a developer, it would show goodwill for the city to work out an arrangement where it would rent the pavilion a certain number of days per year, giving the developer at least some guaranteed income upon completion.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

I hesitate to say this, but probably not. If my numbers are correct, our councils and fiscal court (excluding the mayors and judge-executive) cost taxpayers only about $100,000 less than that of Lexington which has more than 12 times the population. First, I’d consider removing employee benefits for our part-time jobs. (I have never taken them.) Second, I’d support studying the pros and cons of a merged government. I’m not saying that our governments should be merged, but a study is warranted to find out if it could save money and increase efficiency. I also support more interlocal agreements…

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

I assume the question mostly addresses traffic downtown. One thing I don’t want is to take a sledgehammer when a flyswatter will do, so I don’t think a $40 million northwest bypass is the answer at this time. Let’s try some smaller efforts first: installing a left turn signal at South Main/Morgan/Rose Hill; disallowing large trucks on Main Street; reversing the flow of traffic around the courthouse and improving signage. The new road going in between South Main/Troy Pike and Huntertown Road – though it won’t go all the way through for a while – should alleviate some traffic downtown.

Mike Coleman

Brief bio:

I serve on the Versailles City Council and am seeking re-election again this year. In addition to the City Council, I serve as Vice Chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, Woodford County Historical Society, County Fair and Bluegrass Area Development District. I lead our Fourth of July, Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting festivities. I have served on the Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission, Woodford County Chamber of Commerce, Woodford County Tourism, Versailles Pavilion Committee and Bluegrass Area Development Economic Development Committee. I served in the U.S Air Force, and U.S. Government in Communications and White House Communications.

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

New business and expansions have created jobs, but not enough people to fill them. Versailles, EDA, High School, Bridge the Gap and others have been working to remove barriers in employment opportunities. We do not have affordable housing (lower than $200,000) for those who work here and want to live here. Another major challenge we face locally as well as nationally, is a drug problem. Versailles has been actively involved in attempting to tackle these issues. I will continue to work on these initiatives to alleviate them.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

I was Chairman of the first Pavilion Committee, four years ago, so of course, I am in favor of having an event venue where we can have bands, performances, etc. However, I don’t support affecting parking, if the Rose Hill parking lot is the location. I would support a public-private partnership, but I don’t think the City should incur any expenses other than a possible donation of land or in-kind services.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

I think we would have greater success in exploring consolidation of resources, like the police department or EDA. The only two cities/counties that have merged since it became legal in Kentucky 45 years ago, are Lexington-Fayette and Louisville/Jefferson County. Several other counties and cities have tried to replicate the urban county government model starting with Frankfort/Franklin County in 1988 but all have failed. It may sound good in theory, but salaries of elected officials are a minor cost for most county budgets. While there may be some efficiency gains, most of the work is going to remain…

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

We should re-examine… diverting traffic from Main Street, such as exploring a by-pass road connecting US 62 and US 60. Go stand on Main Street at any time of day, and 18-wheel trucks are making a left turn from Rose Hill on to Main Street. Since Main Street is a state road, we should work with the Department of Transportation to redesign the turning lanes on Main Street. The left turn lane on Main Street/Morgan St./Rose Hill intersections, going out of town is shared with through traffic, so if one car (turns) left, the through traffic… stops…

Larry Britton

Brief bio:

I am a lifelong Woodford County resident with deep roots in the community and asking for the opportunity to be a strong voice for “All of Versailles” on the City Council. My wife, Mona Britton, and I have four children – Amanda, Jonathan, Derrick, and Austin. I have served the community through numerous organizations including a term on the Woodford Tourism Commission and I am a member of Journey Church, Bufford Lodge #494, and American Legion Post #67. After a 30-year career with Kentucky Utilities and Davis H. Elliot, I started a new career in real estate…

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it?

I believe that every challenge we now face and will potentially face in the future is very important. With that in mind, I believe the most important challenge that we face right now is making the right decisions at the polls on Nov. 6th. If elected, I pledge to be a strong voice for ALL of Versailles, open minded, listen to everyone’s concerns and suggestions, and always base my votes on what I truly believe is best for the entire community.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)?

While I can see some benefits that a pavilion could bring to downtown, I believe there are still many questions to be answered on the subject and would be opened-minded to learn more about the project. I do not have a desire to pull a number out of “thin air” to say how much the city should spend but I will say that I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of any governing body to be good stewards and to choose wisely on where and how our tax dollars are spent.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?

I believe that both city councils and the fiscal court all play an important role in our local government. The merged government conversation has been going on for years with good arguments from both sides of the issue. I believe the voters will answer the question on whether they feel that they are currently getting their money’s worth and that is most important to me. Once again, I pledge to be open-minded and do what is best for the entire community if given the chance.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

Finding ways to divert traffic, especially large commercial vehicles, that have no reason to be on Main Street would obviously help but, of course, that is easier said than done. Regardless of where someone stands on the issue of a new bypass, it is my understanding that funding for that project, at least for now, is not in the state budget and is therefore a moot point in this election. Hopefully, I will be allowed by the voters to address this, and other problems and look forward to the challenge.

Kyle Branham

Brief bio:

For the last 14 years as a firefighter and paramedic, I have been trained to serve and protect. These two skill traits will be the cornerstone of my candidacy. My wife and our four children planted our roots in Versailles and we love this community! My focus will be to provide open dialogue and clear communication to all the citizens of Versailles about the issues that face us daily. Some of my primary goals are to continue to strengthen our infrastructure that provide the great services we have in Versailles, support and strengthen our public safety...

What is the most important challenge facing Versailles, and what will you do about it? Clear and consistent communication is an area that I believe can be improved by our City Government. I will push for a Public Information Position and new avenues of communication for all of Versailles. It is vital to have an effective government that we provide clear information to the public and allow them the opportunity to comment and respond.

What’s your position on the proposed downtown pavilion and, if you support the project, what’s the most the city should spend on it (not counting private donations, naming rights, etc.)? I support the pavilion and the improvement of our downtown area. I will always support growth as long as it is fiscally responsible. I believe the pavilion has the opportunity to produce tourism as well as jobs for our community. It is important that we seek out private donations and have strong partners in projects like these to remain fiscally responsible.

Counting executives and members of the two city councils and fiscal court, 23 elected officials represent Woodford County, which has a population of less than 26,000. By comparison, in Lexington, which has a merged government, 16 elected officials represent more than 318,000 people. Are Versailles and Woodford County taxpayers getting their money’s worth? If not, what can be done about it?Again, I believe as long as clear communication from our government is partnered with input from the community, positive things will happen. It is my goal to work hard to always provide information on what the community’s tax dollars are being used for. I will always be open to suggestions and criticism from the community to make Versailles the place we all want it to be.

What can be done to address traffic problems in the city?

I would want to work closely with our departments within the city that use the roads on a consistent basis as well as our citizens. Input from all divisions and the community will ultimately help guide my decisions on what can be done to improve the traffic issues we have. I strongly believe that our decisions on traffic adjustments must be made on a 20-year plan. We have to look at what traffic will be in 10-20 years in Versailles instead of being reactive to what we have now.

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