Richmond Mayor Robert Blythe along with Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson signed a proclamation declaring September Fire Safety Prevention Month to kick off the Richmond City Commission's regularly scheduled Tuesday night meeting.
This proclamation was fitting for the rest of the meeting's theme, as promotions and retirements within the city's fire and police departments were approved.
Joseph McAlister of the Richmond City Fire Department along with Lt. Matt Boyle of the city police department submitted their retirement notices at the end of last month, both of which the commissioners approved.
"We appreciate the contributions to the safety of the citizens' wellbeing," Blythe said.
Following the close of their city service, other members of both the fire department and police department were approved for promotions.
First, Trevor Edwards, who has been with RFD since 2014, was promoted to be the fire department's new captain.
Eight members of RPD were also promoted Tuesday evening and pinned for sergeant, lieutenant and major positions.
Senior police officer Clayton Stocker and master police officers Joseph Lain and Casey Scott were pinned signifying their promotion to sergeant, effective Sept. 9.
Following that, current sergeants Daniel Deaton, Josh Hale and Gary Shaffer were promoted by the commissioners to lieutenant positions through a process that includes an academic test, assessment packet and oral board interview.
Lieutenants William O'Donnell and Rodney Tudor were the last to be promoted by Richmond city officials to the position of major with a probationary period of 12 months.
Chief James Ebert stated that in becoming chief, one of the customs he wanted to install was a pinning ceremony that involved the loved ones of officers, which he carried over from his military career. During the ceremony, loved ones are the ones who put the pins on the officers' uniforms.
"I think it is very vital, not only for public recognition but really in reality, what makes it where all of these individuals can stand up and be the leaders that they are is the family that supports them, day in and day out."
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The city voted to approve the ad valorem tax rate for 2019 at rates of 16.8 cents per $100 for personal property and rates of 14.5 cents per $100 of real property.
According to Rob Minerich, the city's manager, this is the compensating rate. He stated that last year's rates were 14.7 cents for real property and 16.5 cents per $100 for personal property.
"The ad valorem tax for motor vehicles for the year 2019 to be collected by the Madison County Court clerk shall be at the rate of 28.7 cents on each $100 of assessment," the ordinance read.
"I do have concerns for down the road, with pension costs and other things," Minerich said of increasing rates. "This will be the second year in a row we haven't raised the valorem tax, so I think we will have a little bit more serious discussion in the future about raising this tax."
• The city voted to approve amending the zoning code to make veterinary offices a conditional use in a B2 zoning (downtown building) district.
• The purchase of two motorcycles for the RPD were approved for a cost of $19,000 each from Man O'War Harley Davidson in Lexington. The purchase was allocated for in the city's 2019-2020 budget.
• Fanny Rice was re-appointed to the Richmond Utility Board.
• William Bryant submitted his retirement from the Codes Enforcement Board, which the commission approved.
• The commissioners accepted the resignation of park security employee Josh Anderson, to be replaced by Blake Hollon.
• Minerich introduced the city's new community coordinator, Tyler Johnson.
• The commission discussed a walkability trail from Crabbe Street to South Third Street to connect EKU students to downtown Richmond.
The next Richmond City Commission meeting will be Sept. 24, 6 p.m., at Richmond City Hall, 239 W. Main St., Richmond.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.