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Tuesday, February 7, 2023
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Taking the oath

Olive Hill City Council Members sworn in

By: Miranda H. Lewis
Carter County Times

Tuesday, December 20, was the final regular meeting of The Olive Hill City Council for 2022.  When they meet next, it will be a new year with a new member.

The meeting was called into session at 6 p.m. with all city council members in attendance, aside from Chris Bledsoe who had previously noted that he would be unable to attend the meeting. The first item on the agenda was the minutes from the November 15, regular meeting. Shannon Shutte made a motion to accept the minutes as is, seconded by Kirk Wilburn. All in favor. Motion passed.

The next item brought up was the Energy Savings Project Report. Trane had an on-site project manager on hand to give an update about the project’s progression as well as to answer questions and address the city’s concerns. The on-site representative told council they are currently waiting on replacement parts, but crews have made substantial progress in all areas including trusses, roofing, piping, and electrical conduit. They were also 90 percent finished with the installation of necessary underground piping, he said.

When council asked the project manager about a potential completion date, he shared that he is optimistic for June. He added, “construction should be completed before that.”

City attorney Derrick Willis noted that, “tangibles with COVID have put the project behind.”

Wilburn made a motion to pay the next installment, seconded by Shutte. Wilburn, Shutte, Eric Rayburn and Wayne Russell voted in favor of the payment, with Justin Dixon voting against the measure.

Mayor Jerry Callihan opened the floor for discussion and listened as a citizen expressed safety and security concerns over the accessibility of Olive Hill Elementary’s playground area. The citizen raised concerns and said, “the playground is easily accessible to people in and around the area that are not directly affiliated with the school.”

An incident involving ten to 15 unauthorized persons seen walking through the playground during school hours was brought to the attention of the council. Callihan and Willis agreed that this is an issue. Willis acknowledged that a previous discussion with the board of education had taken place about a similar matter.

Many schools have several layers of access control for exterior perimeters to control who has access to the grounds and parking lots. Physical barriers, such as fencing, and the strategic placement of limited access points, such as gates, give school officials the ability to designate the school grounds while also limiting access and restricting entry and exit points to easily monitored areas. Effective access control systems and policies ensure that only authorized staff, students, and visitors can gain access.

The council agreed that schools must have limited access points.

Olive Hill Elementary is a public school and government owned, therefore, the school board oversees regulating who can be on the playground. Willis said the board is inevitably responsible for the implementation of “no trespassing” policies because “the school has full control of the playground.”

Police Chief Bruce Palmer said he will work with the board of education and Willis to ensure the continued safety of staff and students at the elementary school.

During open discussion, a business owner raised concerns after a recent string of burglaries that have taken place at businesses in downtown Olive Hill. Speaking directly to Police Chief Palmer the citizen requested, “increased patrol time to show a presence as a deterrent to trespassers.”

Palmer assured concerned citizens and business owners that city limits are patrolled on a regular basis and will continue to be watched closely.

City Clerk and Treasurer Chimila Hargett told council that The Planning and Zoning Committee had multiple vacancies, and this was a matter that needed to be addressed. A planning and zoning commission serves as an advisory board to the council on matters relating to the growth and physical development of the city, including zoning and masterplan amendments. Dixon, who is not returning to council after giving up his seat to run for mayor, and Jeremy Rayburn volunteered to fill seats on the committee.

Dixon made a motion to approve the October and November 2022 Treasurer’s Reports, seconded by Russell. The motion passed unanimously.

Attorney Derrick Willis then presided over the swearing in of newly elected Olive Hill City Council Member, Shane Tackett, along with incumbent Mayor Jerry Callihan and incumbent council members Shannon Shutte, Wayne Russell, Eric Rayburn, and Kirk Wilburn. Council Member Chris Bledsoe was absent due to a prior commitment and will be sworn in at a later date.

While this is Tackett’s first time serving as a city council member, he is no stranger to Olive Hill. Tackett is an active member of his community and is looking forward to making a positive, lasting impact for the next generation.

“I wanted to show my daughter that it’s important to be an active part of your community and show her that everyone has the ability to make a difference,” Tackett said.

Email the writer at news@cartercountytimes.com

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