Council gets ‘clean opinion’ on audit
The City of Versailles got a “clean opinion” for its fiscal year 2019 audit from the accounting firm RFH Tuesday, which RFH’s Heather Cochran said is “as good as it gets in the auditing world.” The audit did show a half-dozen “adjustments” relating to increased expenditures or revenues, that the Versailles Fire Department was $34,585 over budget, and that $65,225 in costs from the department’s SAFER grant, which paid for new firefighters, had not yet been reimbursed by the federal government. It also noted that the city “failed to provide proper oversight over period-end financial reporting, which resulted in misstated accounting records prior to … the audit.” Asked by Council Member Ken Kerkhoff about how the city was doing, Cochran responded, “You all are doing well.” At the end of her remarks, she cautioned that Versailles, like other cities, faces rising state pension costs. Mayor Brian Traugott said new Gov. Andy Beshear had not weighed in on whether local governments should be allowed to separate from the state pension fund, and said the city, county and classified school personnel in the CERS (County Employee Retirement System) were underrepresented on the board governing the fund. The council voted 5 to 0 to accept the audit. Council Member Mary Bradley was absent. Fairness Ordinance The council held first reading on an ordinance amending the city’s Fairness Ordinance. Traugott said it puts the burden of proof for appeals on findings by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission (HRC) involving a religious defense on the city, rather than the person or group against whom the complaint was filed. The council voted unanimously for a resolution amending the interlocal agreement between the two cities and county to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes for housing, employment and public accommodations. Woodford Fiscal Court did the same at its Dec. 10 meeting. All three bodies must approve the new definition for the agreement that established the HRC to be amended. H.T. Keeton Street A first reading was held for the renaming of Water Street to H.T. Keeton Street. H.T. Keeton was the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church, which owns several of the properties on the street. Traugott said the change will become effective March 1, which will give the city time to ensure all property owners are notified. Some already gave permission for the move to Magistrate Larry Blackford (Dist. 6), who approached the city with the request. Police department change orders Four more change orders for the new Versailles Police Department headquarters were unanimously approved. Order 14-4 for $2,950 involves relocating the Vulcan tank in the break room, order 16-10 for $634 involves adding wire molding in the ballistics room, and the other two, for $106.20 and $22, reflect the increased construction management fees. American Legion honored The council unanimously endorsed a resolution honoring American Legion Post 67, which celebrates its 100th birthday Friday. Traugott praised the group for its members military and community service, including on behalf of several local charities, and their influence on American institutions like the Department of Veterans Affairs. The resolution designated Friday as “American Legion Post 67 Day.” Several members of Post 67 were on hand to receive the award. Appointments The council unanimously confirmed the reappointments of Kevin O’ Reel for a two-year term on the Versailles-Woodford County Parks and Recreation Board, Jeri Hartley for a four-year term on the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning Commission, and Bookie Wilson for a four-year term with the Versailles Housing Authority. Traugott’s nomination of Ken Winkfield for a four-year term on the Planning Commission’s Board of Adjustment also passed unanimously. City clerk pay change The council voted unanimously for a municipal order eliminating the $50-per council meeting pay for the city clerk/treasurer/tax administrator. Traugott said the clerk will receive comp time instead. Special meeting The council held a special meeting Wednesday, Dec. 11, to discuss a single motion: whether to hire an “independent investigator” to investigate a complaint of discrimination, with expenses not to exceed $7,500. A motion by Council Member Mike Coleman and seconded by Council Member Fred Siegelman passed unanimously. Council Member Laura Dake was absent. After the meeting, Traugott said he couldn’t yet discuss the nature of the complaint, but confirmed that it came from a city employee. A full report on the matter will be made public after the investigation, he said.