• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Council drops alcohol license fees

The Versailles City Council voted 5 to 0 Tuesday for a municipal order waiving or refunding alcohol license fees for bars and restaurants. Councilmember Gary Jones, a co-owner of the Versailles Brewing Company, abstained from the vote, which is designed to help restaurants and bars during the pandemic. Councilmember Ken Kerkhoff asked what affect the measure would have on the city’s budget. Mayor Brian Traugott said the state had waived the city’s $2,600 entertainment destination license fee, so the cuts would cost the city about $3,000. After the vote, Jones said the order will be appreciated by everybody with a liquor license. Property reassessment moratorium The council unanimously passed an ordinance that will allow owners of homes or commercial buildings more than 25 years old a five-year moratorium on property reassessments – if the owner invests in repairs or rehabilitation. The city council or a body designated by the council will administer the program. The applications must include a general description of the property and its proposed use, a description of the restoration or repairs to be made and a time schedule for the work. The county property valuation administrator will assess or reassess the property within 30 days of receipt of the application, and the applicant will have two years to complete the work unless granted an extension. Investment policy The council spent several minutes discussing a municipal order that would update the city’s investment policy. Mayor Brian Traugott said the measure would reflect changes in state law and allow the city more investment options. Councilmember Laura Dake asked the meaning of terms such as debt service fund, debt service relief fund, and officers. Councilmember Fred Siegelman said bond attorney Stan Kramer, who helped craft the municipal order and accompanying ordinance, had always led the council on the right path. Traugott said the measure would be tweaked and, along with the accompanying ordinance that received a first reading, could receive a vote at the council’s next meeting. Big Spring Park deck Dake showed photos of the overlook deck at Big Spring Park and said work on it is nearly complete, with rails and a wheelchair ramp still to be added. The deck is behind the Woodford County Public Library’s main branch. She called the project a small but noteworthy example of a successful public-private partnership, with the property owned by the city and nearly all the work done by volunteers. The Woodford Community Fund’s “On The Table” program provided a $5,000 grant and private citizens and other entities also provided funding. Dake said the project had cost $10,000 thus far and most of the remaining expense will be funded with grants. Restaurant tax Councilmember Ken Kerkhoff spoke for about 10 minutes about a proposed restaurant sales tax that could, at 3 percent, bring in $835,000 annually. In return, some of those funds would be returned to restaurants, the net profit and gross receipt taxes would be ended, and the liquor license fee cut in half. The funds would go to the Woodford Tourism Commission, capital projects and grants to restaurants, he said. Kerkhoff said restaurant owners told him 50 to 60 percent of their business comes from visitors. Bids The council voted unanimously to accept low bids of $43,501 by Jack Kain Ford for a new Ford F-350 equipped with a dump bed and $4,309 by Central Equipment for a new salt spreader. Wilson honored At the beginning of the meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution honoring longtime Woodford Board of Education member Ambrose Wilson IV, who is stepping down at the end of the year. Traugott said Wilson had a distinguished career on the school board, which he chaired for more than a decade. Wilson said the construction of Northside Elementary in Midway was probably his proudest achievement in his 28 years on the board, and that he’d always tried to be the voice of the voiceless.

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