• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

Versailles council to proceed with Precinct Project RFP

The Versailles City Council voted 4 to 1 with one abstention Tuesday to pay Frost Brown Todd up to $15,000 to prepare a request for proposals (RFP) for a public-private partnership to make use of the old Versailles Police Department on Court Street. The motion regarding the “Precinct Project” was introduced by Aaron Smither, who chairs the council’s Downtown Tourism Communications Committee. He said the committee had met three times on the subject this year and that this was the second phase of a project that began with the firm last year. Frost Brown Todd is the only firm in the state that handles RFPs for public-private partnerships (P-3), he said. In response to a question from Councilmember Mike Coleman, Smither said committee work had led to the firm dropping its fee from $20,000 to $15,000, with the city possibly paying less than that, depending on the amount of work it contributes. Councilmember Laura Dake said the cost could be even lower if the city helps draft portions of the proposal and that the document is missing sections and needs a narrative about the city. Smither said at the committee’s last meeting, the consensus was to use the next two weeks to work on the document. He said time is of the essence. Councilmember Lisa Johnson, a member of the committee, said she agreed with Dake that the council should wait until the city’s proposal to the firm is in better shape and said a scoring criteria was not included in it. Coleman asked if the firm would help the city with the review and scoring process. Smither said yes. Dake said that wouldn’t occur until the third phase, and that Frost Brown Todd would charge more for the work. Johnson asked if the matter could be discussed at the council’s work session planned for March, but didn’t ask that Smither’s motion to proceed be tabled. Dake and Johnson repeated their opposition to the plan, and when the vote was taken, Dake voted no and Johnson abstained. Atheist group opposes First Baptist Church storm shelter Near the end of the meeting, Traugott told the council that the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is headquartered in Madison, Wisc., was publicly opposing a proposed storm shelter on Clifton Road belonging to First Baptist Church. The project, funded by state and federal dollars, would result in a large storm shelter that could also be used as a sanctuary for the church. Traugott said he believed the objection stemmed from an unnamed local resident or residents with land-use concerns who’d asked the Wisconsin group to do their bidding. Longtime Councilmember Mary Raglin, an African-American, said of the group’s request to cancel the project, “That’s not going to happen.” First readings The council hears first readings of an ordinance instituting monthly committee work sessions, removing the requirement that council committees meet at least quarterly and giving Smither’s committee its new name. New city jobs The council unanimously approved a municipal order establishing a new janitorial/custodian position for an employee to look after the Versailles Police Department and Versailles Municipal Building (City Hall). The work is presently being done by a contractor, Traugott said. Another unanimously-approved municipal order creates a position description for a temporary special projects intern who will analyze the inventory and services needed for county residents in need in preparation for an executive order. After Johnson noted the description didn’t establish a level of communication skill needed for the position, the word “good” was added. In response to a question from Dake, Traugott said the job would pay in the $16-ish per hour range for about 20 hours a week. Cemetery plantings The council unanimously approved an ordinance amending rules on cemetery plantings and requiring that the cemetery superintendent approve new plantings. Quotes, bids The council unanimously approved a low bid of $8,420.10 plus $200 for shipping from the Hach Company for a bench top chemical analyzer at the water treatment plant. The council also unanimously approved Versailles Police Chief Mike Murray’s request that the department surplus generators and other items and advertise them on govdeals.com. Recycling contract The council briefly discussed a proposal by Rumpke Recycling to return city customers to weekly recycling for an additional $1.47 per month, but took no action.

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