Juneteenth

Several drafts, three months, eight meetings, and countless motions to table later, the Berea City Council has finally approved Resolution 12-2020 — better known as the Juneteenth Resolution.

For months, the council heard public comment, drafted, re-drafted and even heard from Andrew Baskin, a Berea College professor, on how to make this document something the board could all agree on.

Despite all the effort, the resolution was not without a challenge on Tuesday night.

After a motion was made to adopt the document, Council member Steve Caudill made a motion to amend it in its entirety.

His motion stemmed from a discussion at a previous public meeting, in which their was a push to draft a resolution which highlighted Berea’s rich abolitionist history.

He then read aloud his newly-amended document, which stated in one portion, “...These national events have made it all the more evident that the city of Berea should remain steadfastly resolute in embracing and honoring the city’s rich history of standing against racism and encouraging inclusion for all people…”

The document continues to recognize desegregation efforts with Berea College, and the history of standing against racism throughout the town’s history.

“...The city council of the city of Berea, Kentucky recognizes Juneteenth annually reminds us that we must continually strive to be better and create an environment in our city that our founders envisioned for all people,” it reads.

When it came time to vote for the amendment, it was almost unanimous with a six-to-one vote, with Council member David Rowlette voting not to amend.

Again, the council was back to the motion to approve, when Council member Ronnie Terrill made a motion to postpone until May of 2021, which died when no member seconded. 

Falling back to approval for a third time, the motion to amend and adopt was passed five-to-two with members Terrill and Rowlette voting no.

Council members Emily LaDouceur and John Payne thanked Caudill for his work on the new document, as well as the others who helped vote to get it passed.

“We got it done and we can move forward,” she said. “I believe it is a really beautiful document.”

Caudill said it was something he was happy to have behind him, and the council could now move on.

“In my view, it should not be a divisive issue the way that is written and I really made that point to try and make it that way,” he said. “Thanks for voting for that and getting that done so now we can stop talking about it and get onto something else... things that matter for our city as we work to make as much of a difference in this time as we can.

“Let’s not forget the things that (the resolution said), because we should be doing those everyday.”

Other business:

• The Berea City Council voted to approve the 2020 Ad Valorem Tax rate for the city at a rate of 10.4 cents per $100 of real and tangible property.

• Bids will go out again for construction of the multi-use pavilion in Berea this week, and will be opened at the Oct. 6 Berea City Council meeting.

• Several businesses have opened in Berea including Happy Jack’s, Burger King, Bucket and Suds, Bluegrass Composites and Rally Trucking to name a few. Several others are coming soon including a KFC, Robert Walker Cable, Wildflower Boutique and TQI Metal Castings.

• The first reading of Ordinance 17-20 was approved which adopts and executes an agreement with the city of Berea, the Madison County Airport Board, the city of Richmond and the Madison County Fiscal Court to assist in the procurement of funding for a water and sewer line expansion at the Madison County Airport.

The next Berea City Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 6, at 6:30 p.m.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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