By Bill Robinson
The Richmond City Commission will get its first look May 28 at a proposed budget.
Although the commission will meet in regular session that night, discussion of the city’s financial blueprint for the coming fiscal year won’t take place then.
After the commissioners have had a week to review the draft, they will convene in special session 9 a.m. June 4 to discuss it.
That’s also when the commissioners will start hammering out two issues that have led to past disagreements.
When first-term Commissioner Jim Newby proposed restoring the year-end longevity bonus paid to city employees until 2009 when the city faced a finance crunch, Mayor Jim Barnes asked that a decision be delayed until the budget was discussed.
Even if adopted, the bonus would not be paid until the next fiscal year, Barnes said, and would more appropriately be decided as the city reviewed current finances and planned for the coming year.
At this past Tuesday’s commission meeting, after the commission accepted the resignation of firefighter Joshua E. Kaylor, Newby, a former firefighter, asked if Kaylor would be replaced.
When firefighters have retired or resigned recently, they have not been replaced, and Newby said the commission should to decide how large of a firefighting force the city needs.
Another firefighter is expected to leave next month, Newby said, and a third would likely leave before year’s end. Those additional departures would reduce fire department staffing to inadequate levels, he said.
The department has 60 certified firefighters, including four who are in command or fire marshal positions, said City Manager Jimmy Howard.
Because fire department strength is based on funding, Barnes said this issue also was best discussed as a budget matter.
The commission’s other first-term member, Laura King, has advocated reopening the fire station off Duncannon Lane, which the mayor has said would cost the city more than $1 million annually.
That issue also is likely to come up in the budget discussions.
First reading of the budget ordinance was scheduled for June 11, with final reading June 25.
The commission intends no longer to meet for 4:30 p.m. work sessions on the second and fourth Tuesdays prior to the 6 p.m. regular meetings or on off weeks at 1 p.m. Tuesdays, at least through the summer.
At the mayor’s recommendation, first reading of ordinances were heard this past Tuesday, changing the meeting schedule. If issues need to be discussed between regular meetings, Barnes said, special sessions could be called.
In other business,
• Heard first reading of an ordinance closing an alley that runs through property owned by the Liberty Place Recovery Center for Women, so housing units for the city may be built
• Approved a contract with Professional Pool Management of Kentucky Inc. to operate the Paradise Cove Family Aquatic Center for the season. It is scheduled to open Saturday, May 25.
• Renewed lease of the Senior Citizens Center building to Kentucky River Foothills Development Council, which operates it
• Approve a $903,000 contract with Riddell Construction to build 10 housing units for the Tipton Court Community Development Block Grant project off Westover Avenue
• Approved the hiring of six seasonal employees for the parks department. Employees, their titles and hourly wages are: Melissa Lindsey, seasonal director, $8.25, Megan Wernery, assistant seasonal director, $7.50; and seasonal workers Joseph Hamilton, Jennifer Filpo, Christopher Contrell and Sequoia Wheeler, all at $7.25 an hour.
A video of the May 14 meeting can be viewed on the city’s website, www.richmond.ky.us. Go to the City Government heading, select Commission Meetings and then Meeting Videos.
Bill Robinson can be reached at editor@
or at 624-6690.