By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Grayson city councilman Jerry Yates tendered his resignation last week, in a council meeting where he also presented the mayor and his fellow council members with a proclamation thanking them for their action in combatting tax fraud.
In addition to making sure contractors from outside the region pay their fair share of local occupational taxes when working in Grayson, Yates said, Grayson’s fair bidder ordinance protects workers.
“Exploitation of workers occurs in construction too,” Yates said.
But, he said, people working in the industry are often afraid to speak up. Grayson’s ordinances helps guarantee those employees are protected by requiring contractors to pay into worker’s compensation and follow other fair labor practices.
The proclamations presented to the mayor and council, in connection with the IKORCC union’s Tax Fraud Day of Action activities, was a fitting preamble to Yate’s resignation. Before being appointed, and then elected, to council Yates addressed them regularly in his role as a senior representative of the carpenters’ and millwrights’ union, voicing his support for the fair bidder’s ordinance the city ultimately passed.
“You’ve been a good part of this council,” Mayor George Steele told Yates. “And you’ve helped this city.”
Steele noted that the ordinance Yates helped craft has saved the city “thousands of dollars” in tax and construction fraud.
Councilman Bradley Cotten made the motion to accept Yates’ resignation, seconded by Troy Combs.
In other action council heard from Windstream/Kinetic’s Tim Williamson on the company’s fiber service extension. Williamson said some of the homes and neighborhoods “on the outskirts of the city” have been challenging to extend lines to, but the company is doing their best to include everyone.
“We lack very little of getting it all in place,” Williamson said.
He said there are still some challenges associated with replacing infrastructure too. For instance, he said, if your business is still operating on a copper wire infrastructure and needs internet for work, they may need to work with IT in that business or with homeowners to “update hardware.”
Overall, however, he said things were proceeding on schedule and that neighboring communities, like Greenup County, were looking to Grayson as a model.
Steele thanked Williamson for the opportunity to grow internet access and speed in the community.
“There was a tremendous need for a change (in internet options),” Steele said. “And you gave us an opportunity.”
Council also discussed code enforcement issues related to shipping containers being utilized in violation of city statutes and an ongoing issue with a swimming pool that doesn’t meet city codes, and briefly touched on the expiration of the current contract with the school district for the school resource officer at East Carter. Police chief Travis Steele said he has “some concerns” about the position, but preferred to discuss those with council in executive session.
Employee issues are one of the items council is permitted by Kentucky law to discuss in executive rather than open session.
Council also had first readings on proposed ordinances related to blighted properties and the installation of Knox boxes (see Knox box in this issue).
Though there was contention on the Knox box initiative, Mayor Steele said it was, “an issue we can’t ignore.”
Council also approved a motion to move forward with replacing Jerry Yates on council. Steele told council they had 30 calendar days to make the choice. Council set June 30 as the deadline for submitting applications for the position, with interviews to follow on July 5 at 6 p.m.
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