City Council addresses several issues during recent meeting

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, February 21, 2019

While the state of the local Stanford Housing Authority property was the standout issue at the Feb. 7 meeting of the Stanford City Council, there were several points of interest which came before the council during the marathon meeting that ran for four hours and 10 minutes.

One of the first issues addressed by the council, was a request by Robert Baker, a local landlord, to remedy a water issue on Miller Street.

“What I am here about tonight is an issue that was inadvertently done by the city, but it’s a water issue,” said Baker. “I own property at 716 Miller, 707 Miller and 709 Miller. 716 is the old Alford’s Buildings property, 709 was Kim Alford’s duplex and 707 is the little house to the right of it.”

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Baker brought photos showing how a clogged culvert has resulted in a ponding of water on the street.

“When you all fixed the streets, which is very nice and I appreciate it because I had already blacktopped my driveway a couple years or three years ago. But they clogged up the culvert, which you can very well see,” he said referring to the photos. He also noted how no water is coming out at the opposite end of the culvert resulting in the ponding of water.

“(Photo) shows where water runs across Miller Street. That does affect my other two properties, 707 Miller and 709. As everybody knows, water sinks below a point. If it keeps it up, I’m going to have a problem. I don’t have them now. I’m trying to avoid it. I’m here to ask the city to look at that and getting it taken care of. It was no intentional act in fixing the street. It’s just that whoever did it plugged up the culvert. They widened the driveway. They didn’t put the pipe in. So, therefore, the water can’t get to the culvert. ”

Baker got no argument from the council on the issue. Mayor Scottie Ernst commented that Councilwoman Peggy Hester had brought up the issue at the January meeting, that he had been watching the street and that Aaron Miracle of the Streets Department had checked out the property.

“He (Miracle) is going to get Bo Gander to look at that and, if he can’t get something done, we’ll hire somebody to take care of it,” said Ernst.

One issue that couldn’t be resolved at the monthly meeting concerned the IT services of Hadden Owens relating to the city’s website. Owens set up the city’s website and is sole administrator of the site, updating city information and monthly minutes for $40 per month. In question is Owens’ sharing of management duties with Ernst and City Clerk Jone Allen – he refuses to share the password to allow them access to add information.

“I asked Mr. Owens to make me an administrator. Did you make me a moderator instead of a administrator because I cannot get on the site? I’m not allowed to post anything or post pictures,” Ernst asked.

“No, you are on there as an editor,” Owens answered.

“Well, I asked to be an administrator,” said Ernst.

“Well, it’s my page. And I’ve not been paid for it so …” said Owens. “I could put unofficial next to City of Stanford also if that would make it better.”

“But, as I asked you, I would like to be the administrator, as well as the clerk, and have the password to the facebook page so that we can post things on the facebook,” Ernst came back.

“It’s my personal page. I’ve never charged the city for anything done to that page. I’ve done that on my own, so it’s my page. Not the city’s. I’ve never charged a dime for that page,” Owens responded.

Ernst asked, “Do we have to buy a Facebook page?” and Owens said the city could start it’s own Facebook page.

“Why don’t you do that?” said Hester, who is Owens’ mother. “It would solve the whole problem.”

“We don’t need several people in the website that he created. All he does is put the minutes on. We don’t need anybody that can go in and change anything. And that was the agreement. He would give you the password if you would not go in and change anything, and neither one of you would agree to that.”

Ernst said that he wouldn’t change anything, however, Allen did not have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer for Hester.

“The whole point of us having access to the website is to be able to post information about what’s going on in the city. Not just minutes,” she responded.

“I want to address the website,” Ernst reiterated. “As far as having access to website so we can post some things on the website – council minutes.”

“He does that,” Hester said of Owens.

“But we can do that ourselves,” said Ernst. The clerk can without having him to do it and us pay him an amount of money to do it. We can do it and not send him anything.”

Hester quickly responded, “For $40 a month? If you don’t want to pay him $40 why …”

“So what do you want to pay $500 for (outside agency)?” Councilman Ronnie Deatherage interjected.

Councilwoman Ella Mae Curlis and Ernst both voiced concerns about Owens being able to provide site security, business license tracking programs and hardware or software backup. Owens said the website has been hosted by GoDaddy.Com, reported as the largest domain name registrar in the world, which provides security, Excel Microsoft has a program to track business licenses and that he pays $10 a month to Google Business Class Cloud to back up the system.

“There’s two solutions here,” said Councilman Dalton Miller. “One, he’s given us a written proposal for us to look at until we hear from the other two. Or, the second thing we can do, is the city can build their own facebook page. But he has presented us something in writing. We’ve asked Bluegrass ADD. They’re going to provide us something. And we’ve asked IT in a Box from Kentucky League of Cities. So why not table this issue until we get those other two documents and review those as well.”

Hester said that when the IT issue comes to a vote that she would recuse herself from the vote but that she will be involved in discussion because “this is a part of council business.”

“No personal feelings,” said Owens. “It’s a $40 a month job. I really don’t care to keep doing it. But, if you vote against me, that’s okay too.”

There was no decision to ponder when Randy Denham stepped up to the podium to address the council. Denham, a member of the Friends of the Fort, simply stepped before the council to share results from an economic impact survey that Lincoln County participated in in 2018.

“It’s been a while coming out, but some things to look at are the dates that the study was done,” he said. “It was conducted from July to October, around three months. If this had been done during the peak summer touring season, the numbers would have been better, higher than they are, really. And, of course, we’ve got an unmanned site out here at the fort.”

Denham said that Peggy Nunemaker, who works at the L&N Depot Museum, was a great help to making sure Lincoln met the minimum number of completed surveys required to be included in the survey by the Kentucky Civil War Association. “She was our point of contact with all these tourists, to give them a survey and to ask them to go out and look at the fort. So, she was a big help to us getting these surveys.”

“Sixty percent of people that came to town went and looked at the fort and they were very impressed with it,” said Denham. “A lot of the comments were about how friendly our town was to tourists. That’s really exciting for us that our town welcomes visitors. When we start talking about needing maintenance at the fort and things like that, we hope you all keep this in mind.

We are bringing in some tourist dollars here. The better we make it, the more tourists we’ll get.”

Forty-two surveys were completed from July to October by tourists. Tourist being defined as a visitor outside a 30-mile radius.

“Folks came to our town. They ate in our restaurants. Some stayed overnight in our local hotel rooms,” Denham noted. “The average tourist spent $203 while they were here. Lodging, they spent about an average of $45, which I don’t know where you can get a room that cheap, but it’s an average. Food and beverages, they spent around $60. Gas was about $27. Just general shopping was $25-$50. That’s $25 for tourist and specialty items and $25 for general shopping. That is our specific numbers. That’s $203.60.”

Those survey numbers did not include the 100+ reenactors and families that show up each May for the Siege at Logan’s Fort.

Denham told the council that Friends of the Fort might be eligible for grants in the future now that the Kentucky Civil War Association is beginning to accept revolutionary sites.

In other business:

• The Council heard complaints during Citizen’s Comments of a cat issue on Phillips Court. Residents complained of cats digging up flowers, scratching up cars and leaving fur on outdoor furniture. Hester acknowledged that there wasn’t a lot they could do because there are no ordinances on cats. Miller also pointed out that the local shelter would be of no help in the issue as it does not take cats. “So that’s problem No. 2. We’ve got a cat problem and we’ve got nowhere to take them,” he said.

• Mike Reed of the McKinney Water District informed the Council that his district had been receiving billing complaints concerning the Stanford Water District. He was told the Stanford Water District was its own entity separate of the City Council. As an aside, Reed also mentioned that the McKinney Water District, which has been buying a lot of water from the Stanford Water District, will be buying water from the Danville Water District in a couple years, which would mean a loss of approximately $300,000 per year. McKinney currently pays Stanford $27,000 a month for water. He said they have been having problems with the current setup and that McKinney could save about $40,000 a year with Danville.

• The Stanford Fire Department presented the council with its 5-year strategic plan. The Stanford Police Department, Street Department and City Council will be submitting their strategic plans at a later date.
The following Board/Mayor Appointments were announced:

• Planning and Zoning – Phillip Sebastian (Jeff Cain resigned).

• Stanford Housing Authority – Caty Curlis

• Industrial Board – Bruce Edgington

• Logan’s Fort Park Development Council – Sara Givens

• City Attorney (contract) – John Hackley

The council is also looking for a person to fill a spot on the Architectural Review Board left vacant by the resignation of Peggy Hester.