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Radcliff passes budget of nearly $14 million

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By Amber Coulter

Radcliff officials adopted a budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year Tuesday night and voted to adjust the budget for the current fiscal year.

The budget of about $14 million includes a 1 percent cost-of-living raise for employees, a $30,000 increase for park maintenance to beautify city parks and more than $265,000 for drainage projects.

It also includes $200,000 in street resurfacing and completion of the North Dixie Boulevard street lighting project at about $344,000, which is paid from state grants and rollover from last year’s budget.

The upcoming fiscal year begins July 1.

Money to reconstruct City Hall’s parking lot to reduce stormwater runoff totals $200,000 paid from grants and the city’s stormwater quality in-lieu fees.

All council members, except for absent Councilman Edward Palmer Sr., voted for the changes to the current budget and passage of the upcoming budget.

Councilman Don Shaw noted he was voting for the budget despite his preference for donating to One Knox. That measure was left out of the upcoming budget.

Councilman Jacob Pearman reminded other council members he suggested creating an events coordinator position for the city. He made a motion to add an amendment to the city’s employee strength table being voted on that night to have that position included.

Pearman said Mayor J.J. Duvall, City Clerk Ashley Russo and the rest of Duvall’s staff have done a good job of bringing events to the community and improving quality of life.

Having a dedicated staff member in charge of such things would allow that mission to go even further, he said.

“I believe with an events coordinator that we can improve the quality of life in our community,” he said.

Councilwoman Barbara Baker was unhappy about the proposed amendment.

“When you brought that up the other day, I had no comment because I could not believe what I was hearing,” she said. “That is the biggest slap in the face you could have given our mayor, given Ashley or anybody else who has worked so hard to keep expenses down and pull off what they’ve been able to pull off with their successful events. I find that very disrespectful.”

Pearman said he has applauded Duvall and his staff’s work publicly and privately, and only wants to help move their efforts further.

His motion for an amendment was not seconded and didn’t come to a vote.

Duvall told Pearman the issue can be revisited later.

Pearman says he is sure it will be, and he voted against the salary equalization and adjustments as they stood.

In another cost-saving measure, council members voted to accept a bid from Bluegrass Cellular, which Duvall said would save Radcliff about $300 each month compared to the city’s current contract with Sprint.

Council members also listened to state Sen. Dennis Parrett and state Rep. Tim Moore talk about a proposal to divide Radcliff into four sections to redistribute population into neighboring legislative districts.

Moore said redistricting shouldn’t be used by politicians to protect themselves.

“As I’ve made very clear, I don’t appreciate that attitude because serving in a public office is not about the individual officeholder,” he said. “It’s about the folks that they serve.”

Moore said he is committed to serving whoever his constituents are in the future and doesn’t want the debate to become about him trying to secure his re-election.

He expects the governor to call the legislature into a special session, during which they will address redistricting.

Parrett agreed the process is too politicized.

He said he put forth a bill that would put the issue in the hands of nonpartisan experts, such as geographers, to be voted on by legislators. Moore put forth a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

Those bills haven’t been able to gain enough ground with lawmakers, Parrett said.

He recommended residents contact lawmakers before a redistricting plan comes before a committee to express their displeasure with the proposal that Radcliff be split up, possibly causing residents there to lose influence with their legislators.

A work session for council members has been set for 1:30 p.m. July 8.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.