Versailles council says farewell to Kerkhoff, Jones
The Versailles City Council closed its last meeting of 2020 by honoring outgoing members Ken Kerkhoff and Gary Jones. Before the honors were paid, Mayor Brian Traugott turned the meeting into a bit of a roast. He teased Jones about losing his first bid for reelection, saying that shortly before the November election, he saw more “Hydrants Flushed Here” signs than Jones’ reelection signs. He also joked that Jones, a co-owner of Versailles Brewing Company, had set a council record for most abstentions. He then praised Jones for his work on the council and said he did a spectacular job as chair of the council’s Water and Sewer Committee. Jones said serving on the council had been a great experience and he’d found all of his fellow council members to be very conscientious. Traugott began his remarks about Kerkhoff with videos in which he struggled to find anything nice to say about him and had trouble finding someone to film a video tribute. He said while he and Kerkhoff got off to a rocky start when he joined Kerkhoff on the council in 2012, he’d grown to love him and appreciated his passion for tourism (Kerkhoff was the longtime chair of the Woodford Tourist Commission) and downtown issues. Kerkhoff is a good guy with his heart in the right place, he said. Kerkhoff, who was elected to the council in 2010 and did not run for reelection this year, said he was lucky to enjoy something so much that it was hard to say goodbye to. He praised the mayors, council members, police and fire chiefs and the city employees he’d served with. Abandoned and blighted properties The council unanimously accepted the Code Enforcement Board’s recommendation to add nine addresses to the city’s list of abandoned and blighted properties. They are 145 Bell Avenue, 111 Bell Court, 403 Elm Street Heights, 214 Green Street, 105 Macey Ave, 78 McCracken Pike, 222 Martin Luther King Boulevard, 176 Ridge View Road and 201 Russell Avenue. Owners of those properties who don’t correct deficiencies will face sharply higher taxes next year.Audit Heather Cochran of the accounting firm RFH presented an audit of the city government for fiscal year 2020. She said it was a clean opinion, “which in the auditing world, is as good as it gets.” Clean-up measures The council unanimously passed a lengthy list of ordinances, nearly all of which were designed to clean up outdated or imprecise city ordinances. Ordinance 2020-39 further describes monuments subject to removal from city cemeteries. Ordinance 2020-40 amends language describing traffic prohibited in city cemeteries. Ordinance 2020-41 permits service dogs in city cemeteries. Ordinance 2020-42 increases the percentage of fees for graves and burials to be deposited in the cemetery fund from 10 to 20 percent. Ordinance 2020-45 adds paint and remodeling waste to the list of items excluded from garbage collection. Ordinance 2020-46 corrects a clerical error and repeals a section of an ordinance dealing with franchise fees by customers who opt out of garbage service. Ordinance 2020-47 updates fees for garbage collection, adds collection frequency as a factor in determining fees for commercial customers and repeals a section dealing with fines for nonpayment. Ordinance 2020-48 amends ordinances dealing with the maximum length of grass, reducing it from 12 inches to 10 inches, and sets a maximum of five inches for stormwater detention facilities. Ordinance 2020-56 repeals sections regarding “the general offenses of rock throwing (and) possession of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and assemblies.” Ordinance 2020-57 authorizes the public works director or designee to make additional adjustments to sewer bills not to exceed $300 in a 12-month period. Bids The council unanimously approved low bids on nine chemicals for the city’s water and sewage plants. Members also unanimously approved Public Works Director Bart Miller’s suggestion that the council accept a bid of $9,150 from Central Equipment for a zero-turn mower. Miller said the other bid, by Lyons Lumber Company, was for the same amount (both were at the state contract price), but the city had a history with Central Equipment.