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January 26, 2018

The Louisa City Council met for a Special Meeting Tuesday, January  23, 2018 to make up for the regular January meeting which was postponed. Those in attendance were Mayor Harold Slone, Mitch Castle Member, Matt Brown member, Lisa Schaeffer Member and John Nolan Member. Absent from the meeting was Ron Cordle Member, Tom Parsons Member.

The meeting was opened with the pledge and a prayer from Mitch Castle.

Louisa mayor Harold Slone gave a bristling 'state of the city' message while council member John Nolan listened intently Tuesday night. Lazer photo by Gina WoodsLouisa mayor Harold Slone gave a bristling 'state of the city' message while council member John Nolan listened intently Tuesday night. Lazer photo by Gina Woods

Mayor Harold Slone then addressed the Council and gave his State of the City Address. He also said, "I hereby announce my running for Mayor of Louisa, for a second term and will be completing the necessary forms with Chris Jobe."

 (See Speech below)

OLD Business

Motion made by Mitch Castle, second by John Nolan to approve meeting minutes from December 12, 2017

Motion made by John Nolan, second by Matt Brown to approve the second reading of the Ordinance2017-05-1A "Amendment of Ordinance Relating to Compensation of City Employees Pursuant to KRS 83A.070"

New Business

*  Motion made by Lisa Schaeffer second by Mitch Castle.to approve a Resolution for FIVCO Area Development Funds. These funds are used for small capital improvement in the amount of $1,500.

*  A discussion then took place about how to cover the new expense of the raise from the Big Run Landfill. It is raising rates form $22.75 per ton to $24.50. The last two raises were absorbed by the City at no increased cost to customers. mayor Slone said he will try to negotiate a better rate for the city and report next month.

*  The Committee agreed to sell the old water meters to the town of Fort Gay for $1.00 each. These are the old regular meters and Ft. Gay Mayor Joetta Hatfled is grateful to get them. They will be declared as surplus.

*  Slone said he has been approached by several businesses inside the city and out to use the city's logo. A discussion took place about how to go about doing this.

City Council members discussed how to make a profit from the city logo at Tuesday's meeting.City Council members discussed how to make a profit from the city logo at Tuesday's meeting."I will have to get with (lawyer) Bud Adams about the legalities,"  Mayor Slone said.

Council member Matt Brown suggested the city license the logo and discount the fee to businesses in city who wanted to use the logo on merchandise for a $25.00 fee and those not in the city $50. to expire 12.31.18. They would also be required to donate 10% of those sales to the Park and Recreation Services.

No decision was made.

 

No additional business, the meeting was adjourned.

 

 

State of the City 2017

"...Once again, it is an honor to stand before you, as your Mayor, and deliver the state of the city address. I want to personally thank each council member, employee, citizen, and civic organization who has contributed to our city this past year.

Three short years ago, I stood here as a newly elected Mayor, eager to learn and to lead a stagnant city in a new direction, and today, I will deliver the last State of the City address during this administration's term. By this time next year we will have once again passed through another election cycle and you will have chosen new leaders for all areas of local government.

I am announcing today my desire to be part of this new team as your Mayor, if the citizens so desire.

Today, I would like to reflect on some wonderful milestones and accomplishments our city departments and employees have reached in the last year, and look forward to what a new year may bring.

In 2017, we strived to be a city that better connected with our people.

* YOUTH PROGRAMS: Our police and fire departments reached out to hundreds of youth during our first ever youth safety festival and our fire department held their annual fire prevention week and toys for tots program. We kicked off a youth law enforcement explorer program, where youth who are interested in law enforcement can participate in certain non-hazardous activities and learn what a career in law enforcement would be like, much like the junior firefighter program. We are the only known one in eastern Kentucky.

* POLICE PROTECTION: This year the police department will receive a new officer and 2 new vehicles, bringing our fleet up to satisfactory levels and providing reliability and safety for our officers and citizens. The fleet is also now equipped with new GPS technology offering improved safety, accountability, and assuring blanket visibility and coverage to all areas of our city. 

* FIRE PROTECTION: Our Fire department was awarded an “Assistance to Firefighters” grant for the first time ever. This award along with State training incentives and additional revenue from the fire district totaled near $150,000 dollars. These additional funds were used to replace Personal Protective Clothing and outdated self contained breathing apparatus, both of which are a firefighters lifeline during emergencies. These upgrades make our departments better equipped and more prepared to serve and protect our citizens than they have ever been.

 

* WATER & SEWER SERVICE: Our water and sewer departments has gone through a restructuring, providing a more departmental approach to management. Putting field supervisors in charge of their respective departments like, water production, distribution & field operations, and wastewater, this is rendering an improved response and quality of service to the citizens. Along with new management practices we were able to purchase a new mini excavator, making a much quicker and more efficient response to leaks within the system.

* UTILITIES BOARD: Our newly formed Board of Public Utilities have finished their first year of existence and have made great strides in long term planning and administration. We now believe that a new wastewater treatment plant is attainable by the year 2026.

...We are currently in the middle of a major water meter upgrade project providing new water meters system wide, for the first time ever. Many of our current meters are 15-25 years old and very inaccurate and inefficient.

...It had come to my attention that several larger commercial meters have been out of service for years resulting in severe revenue loss for the agency. This project will mean we no longer drive a pickup truck to two thousand seven hundred meter locations each month, they will instead be read at the click of a button from the office. We expect current monthly billing fluctuations to drastically improve due to your meter being read on the same day every month.

With these upgrades, we will be able to provide much better details concerning your water usage and even provide early leak detection in many cases.

* ONLINE BILL PAY: I’m very excited to announce we are now ready to roll out a new more customer friendly way to do business. We will now be offering online bill pay, budget billing, credit card payments and bank drafts for our customers.

*  MAJOR SEWER UPGRADES: We are currently in the planning and design phase of major sewer upgrades to reduce the amount of storm water entering into our system that are overloading our sewer plant and increasing expenses by treating millions of gallons of water we don’t need to treat.  These upgrades will also improve storm drain issues, especially on Lock Ave and Main Street during heavy rains.

* ENERGY UPGRADE PLAN: A city wide energy upgrade plan is now underway to replace old inefficient heating, lighting, windows and doors and hard start motors. These upgrades were financed through leasing with the energy savings paying for the cost and a Energy Savings Grant from the Commonwealth of Ky in the amount of $80,000.

* SANITATION DEPARTMENT: Our Sanitation department was faced with many challenges in 2017. A worn out truck, with multiple safety issues had to be taken out of service and replaced with a new one at a cost of $189,000. A recent raise in the landfill fees, made 2 years in a row the cost has gone up. So far we have been able to absorb the cost to the citizens keeping our collection rates some of the lowest in the region. However, we do expect council to look at this situation in this budget cycle and some collection cost increases may be inevitable. Our commercial customers, however, should be excited about a new program approved by council and being launched in the coming weeks.

*  NEW COMMERCIAL CUSTOMER PROGRAM: This program will allow customers who own dumpsters to enter them into a monthly maintenance program for a small monthly fee, where all maintenance including new wheels, lids and repairing rusted out bottoms will be provided by our crews as needed. This program also prevent new business in our city from having to pay up front cost for a dumpster, which is $800-1200, depending on size. The current guidelines is a strain to newly opening small businesses in our city. If you’ve noticed our maintenance garage location is going through a much needed makeover. Two new buildings have been erected on site, with plans to paint and refurbish the older one to match and demolition of the oldest ones. One of these buildings will enable us to store road salt on-site and the other will provide shelter for our vehicles and equipment, increasing the lifespan immensely. As the Clayton Lane upgrades progress in the coming months, you are gonna see new fencing and a much neater and cleaner look at the site. Yes, It’s time we clean up our own mess.

* SIDEWALK PROJECTS: For the first time in a decade the city did 2 large sidewalk projects by removing and replacing old sidewalks that were not only eyesores but a hazard to pedestrians. One at the Madison Street by-pass area and the other Vinson Ave, where we added details such as new street lights, stamped concrete sidewalks, and benches. This area and street had been long neglected and will now be able to coordinate with other parts of town. Because of these upgrades, the city was awarded a bonus safety grant by Ky League of Cities, and reimbursed $3,000. towards the cost. Our street resurfacing continued this year with approximately $90,000 of new asphalt in the downtown and Meadowbrook areas, completely resurfacing Franklin St, Vinson Avenue , Violet Lane, and a portion of Fern Dr and Main Street.

* RIVERWALK: As many of you know, we were successful with receiving a Transportation Alternatives Grant for future riverwalk plans. We are currently in the early stages of engineering and environmental reviews, and look forward to the project getting off the ground this year. City council approved the purchase of 2 tracts of land and accepted donation of a 3rd tract, which will now enable us to apply for grant funding for the proposed amphitheater as part of the overall riverwalk project. We continue to work with the tourism commission to market Louisa and Lawrence County for visitors and residents alike.

TRAIL TOWN INITIATIVE: Some highlights of our joint efforts this year is launching a new trail town initiative with a goal of becoming a certified 'trail town', promoting the Levisa and Tug fork river trails. A new office, provided by the city, is opening in the senior center where the trail town activities will be coordinated.

*  OBSERVATION DECK AT LOCKVIEW PARK: A grant from Appalachian Regional Commission enabled us to partner with Daughters of the American Revolution and RiseAbove Louisa to erect a new observation deck with historical information about the locks and dam at Lockview park. This project will be complete once the weather permits for installation of a handicap ramp and steps.

 

As we look into 2018, what do we see on the horizon? I see a small town that during some of the worst economic times we've ever experienced, is reaching down and pulling ourselves up. We have a community working together like no other time I remember, and has built many foundations for better things to come. IT IS our time, Louisa, It’s our time to grow.

* ANNEXATION PLANS: That's why city council spent much of a year reviewing and planning for potential annexation that will bring our city to its full potential. Plans for option B of our evaluations are in the works for the future and I believe are essential if we want to bloom to our full potential. This would include annexation of areas along 2565 and Hwy 644, incorporating numerous businesses and some residents that will become part of our city. We have national chain retail stores and restaurants within 1 mile of city hall that are not in city limits, do not have city police protection and do not contribute to our city, and YES its TRUE, even our city maintenance garage isn’t in the city.

...It’s time for us to provide the services to the businesses in these areas that they deserve, and for them to contribute to the overall good, to make Louisa a bigger and better place.

...It's time we use technology to improve productivity and accountability to our city employees while continuing to reward hard working individuals raising families with decent wages and benefits including cost of living adjustments each year, if possible.

...It’s time millions of dollars of grant funds made available by state and federal agencies come to Louisa.

...It’s time!

 

Folks let me finish by saying how much I have enjoyed this challenge, and a challenge it is. We live in a time like no other, where national political divisiveness and partisan gridlocks have scarred all elected officials, even those of us on the local level, who are not guilty of the gridlock and partisanship we see in Washington and Frankfort, we live in a day where you can be nose to the grindstone working on a project one minute, only to find you and your family being personally criticized and ridiculed by unidentified neighbors on the internet the next. As a local leader its very easy to become burdened down by the negativity that some feed on. But above all I still believe in local government, I still believe we have elected officials who have everyone's best interest at heart, and I still believe good management decisions produce good results.

Together we have done just that. Our City is Vibrant, On the move, and a topic of conversation up and down this river valley. May God Bless you and May God Bless this great little city we call home."

--Harold Slone

 

Comments  

-1 #3 voter 2018-01-30 13:13
Harold Slone is the best Mayor that Louisa has had in a very long time.
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-2 #2 Terry 2018-01-29 10:46
Wow!! I sure hope a Republican runs!!!
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-1 #1 wondering 2018-01-26 22:13
When can people sign up to run for Mayor?
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