By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The city of Grayson held a special session to enter into the first reading of a budget ordinance, and to discuss electric vehicle charging stations. (See Grayson considers electric car charging stations in this edition.)
But while they made moves to amend the suggested budget, they did not vote to enter into the first reading – saving that for a future meeting.
While council discussed the budget last week councilman Troy Combs noted they were able to balance the budget using ARPA funds, setting total budgeted expenditures at $3,824,260.80, with $3,195,339.12 from the general fund and the remaining $628,921.68 from federal ARPA funds.
Among the changes made and discussed by council were increases to utility costs, after councilman Willis Johnson suggested fuel and energy costs may be as much as three times higher this winter season.
Council also moved to cut $3,000 from the senior citizen center maintenance budget, shifting those funds to the expected fuel cost increase. Council also discussed trimming paving costs and saving an additional $36,000 by trimming salary increases for the mayor and mayoral staff from the budget.
Council moved to approve this new salary schedule, without the mayor and staff included. But council took no action on a first reading because of the changes to the budget.
Despite balancing the budget, Mayor George Steele still expressed concerns with it, noting “this is the tightest budget this city has operated on in quite some time.”
Council also discussed holding another special session today (August 24) to revisit the electrical vehicle charging stations, but instead apparently moved that meeting to Saturday morning without providing the required 24 hours of written notice to news media or the public.
The Ashland Daily Independent’s Charles Romans provided coverage of that Saturday meeting, reportedly having been notified by telephone of the change of time. The Carter County Times, however, was not notified of that meeting by telephone, email, or other written notice.
Kentucky Revised Statutes require public notices be provided to media outlets and those notices “be calculated so that it shall be received at least twenty-four (24) hours before the special meeting” (KRS 61.823(4)(a)), as well as “posted in a conspicuous place in the building where the special meeting will take place… at least twenty-four (24) hours before the special meeting,” (KRS 61.823(4)(c)).
Exceptions are allowed for emergency action, but the contents of such emergency meetings are limited by law, and require any public agency to “make a reasonable effort, under emergency circumstances, to notify members of the agency, media organizations… and the public of the emergency meeting.”
Romans did not report any action taken at the meeting, but representatives of the electric vehicle charging station provider, DC-America, were reportedly on hand.
DC-America’s project pricing summary presented to council last Wednesday would charge the city $14,110 for grant writing services to apply for federal grants to cover the cost of the charging station installation.
The letter states that application for grant funds, which would go to DC-America for the cost of the charging station and its installation, “does not guarantee approval” of the grant request.
It further states that “DC-America will provide pricing for the turnkey solution” upon approval of the grant or a decision by council “to proceed with the project with or without grants.”
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