By: Jeremy D. WellsCarter County Times
Among the next steps for the City of Olive Hill will be creating a new code enforcement board, and approving a 2020-2021 budget. Council took action last Tuesday to repeal a 2017 ordinance that set council as the code enforcement board for the city. Council also approved an amended 2019-2020 budget and entered into the first reading of an ordinance establishing the city’s planned 2020-2021 budget. That budget includes $1,018, 802 for general fund items, $4,756,047 for the utility fund, and accepting $187,689 in road aid. While the city considered setting a special meeting to pass the budget on second reading, they instead chose to wait until their next regular meeting, in August, to approve that budget.
Council also entered into first readings on several new ordinances. These included ordinances related to grass trimmings, mobile homes, and water rate increases.
The new grass trimming ordinance prohibits grass clippings and yard debris in the streets or on sidewalks. In addition to presenting a hazard to some motorists, such as motorcycle riders, and pedestrians, the clippings and debris can also accumulate and clog storm sewer drainages. Violation of the ordinance, once passed, will be treated as a class B misdemeanor.
The mobile home ordinance is an amendment of a 1989 ordinance relating to mobile homes within city limits. That ordinance grandfathered existing mobile homes, and existing mobile home courts, already within the city limits, but prohibited any new trailers from being installed. The amendment will grant owners of existing mobile homes a six month window within which they can replace those existing mobile homes with a newer mobile home in the event of an accident or disaster. As the law is currently written, if the owner of a mobile home loses their home to fire, flood or storm, they can only replace it with a permanent structure. Mayor Jerry Callihan, however, said he believed this was unfair to those currently living in mobile homes.
Callihan told council he didn’t think folks who live in mobile homes that want to “better themselves,” or have a need to replace a damaged home, should be punished simply because they can’t afford to build a house. Owners of the property would have six months from the time of a fire, storm or other disaster to put in a new mobile home. If they did not act within that six month window they would be bound by the existing ordinance that prohibits trailers.
Council also entered into the first reading of a water rate increase ordinance. That ordinance, part of an energy savings plan that included new streetlights and updates to the city’s water system, required water rate increases as a part of the plan. Water rates will increase by 3.5% per year for the next 20 years under the new ordinance. Deposits due for service connection and tap fees will not change under the new plan. Deposits will still be refundable after two years of connectivity.
The city also moved to accept bids for blacktop, entered into the first reading of a compensation classification ordinance, and accepted reports from the treasurer and various departments.
In other action council heard a Chamber of Commerce report from Chamber president Lisa Messer Conley. Conley told council that the Chamber will not be taking on the financial burden of fireworks in the future. While they will still continue to coordinate that and other activities, they are going to allow the city to take over the fireworks display. Conley also noted two upcoming business milestones for Chamber members, with Porter Tires entering their 40th year in business and Bubba’s Towing celebrating ten years in business.
Council heard from Galaxy Project director Chelsa Hamilton as well. Hamilton told council the group was working with FIVCO on various grants, including a Civic Development Block Grant (CDBG) for a new youth and community center at the Olive Hill Historical Society property on the hill. Hamilton has already worked with the historical society to secure the old cafeteria building for the group and they would use the CDBG funds to renovate the building. She apologized to council for confusing the grant to be used for the park with the CDBG, which has to be used for specific types of projects, in a previous meeting and asked council to consider serving as the CDBG pass-through for the youth and community center building. Council voted unanimously to sponsor the youth group for the CDBG.
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