Versailles council moves on Clifton Pike annexation
The Versailles City Council held a first reading Tuesday of an ordinance that would annex 21.633 acres of land owned by First Baptist Church and sets the stage for a new church and severe weather shelter to be built there. Last February, the council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing a grant application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build a “multi-use community safe room structure” at 930 Clifton Road. The city is partnering with First Baptist Church and the Bluegrass Area Development District on the project, which would use federal funds to construct a building that could hold more than 1,600 people and withstand winds of up to 250 mph. After the council passed the resolution last year, then-Woodford Economic Development Authority Chair John Soper said Versailles did not have a federally-approved emergency shelter and the city would be reimbursed for up to 87 percent of the cost of the building, which could also serve as a new sanctuary for the church. Tuesday, Mayor Brian Traugott said the grant application was successful and the annexation was necessary for the city to take part in the project. At the end of the meeting, new Councilmember Lisa Johnson asked why the city was annexing land in the county and why church and Woodford Emergency (EM) Management officials hadn’t contacted the county about assistance with the grant. EM Director Drew Chandler said First Baptist Rev. Floyd Greene did approach county officials, but there wasn’t enough time to provide documentation to meet a necessary deadline for that particular grant. He said Greene then learned of other grant opportunities. Traugott said the shelter was needed in an area with very few basements and crawl spaces. Walking path public comment period begins Public Works Director Bart Miller said the multi-use 10-foot-wide walking path that will connect Crossfield Drive to Douglas Avenue has been approved by the state Transportation Cabinet. The federal government will pay 80 percent of the project’s cost. Miller said the necessary public comment portion of the project will last until Jan. 19 and people can call or email Paul Simmons, the assistant public works director, to express their thoughts on the project. Simmons’ email address is email@example.com and his phone number is 873-5436, ext. 124. Sign standards relaxation extension The council unanimously passed a motion by Councilmember Laura Dake to extend a municipal order relaxing sign standards to March 31. The order is designed to assist businesses struggling because of the pandemic. Traugott said he’s not seen any abuse of the order, which was passed in November. Siegelman to be mayor pro-tem A motion by Councilmember Mike Coleman to make Councilmember and former Mayor Fred Siegelman mayor pro tem was unanimously approved. The position is traditionally given to the council member with the most seniority. Fire equipment The council unanimously approved a sole bid of $80,465 by Scott Safety for 11 sets of self-contained breathing apparatus, 22 oxygen cylinders and 11 face pieces. Acting Fire Chief Brandon Brown said the bid came in under budget. COVID relief update In response to a question from Councilmember Laura Dake, Traugott said the most recent update from Bluegrass Community Action showed the group had given 10 households (a total of 26 people) a total of $5,876.53. The Dec. 30 report comprising the previous three weeks brought the total to 215 people and $34,810.57. Bluegrass Community Action handles the individual assistance portion of federal CARES Act funds sent to the city. In response to a question from Councilmember Aaron Smither, Traugott said about $50,000 remained in the fund. Human Rights Commission Traugott said Human Rights Commission member Tristan Ferrell chose not to be reappointed and his nomination of Cierra Spalding for a three-year term on the board passed unanimously. Moore confirmed The council unanimously confirmed Bill Moore to remain as city attorney.