(Leitchfield, KY) – It’s been the topic of many conversations among cell phone users this season – the absence of 3G/4G service for AT&T customers living in the Grayson County area.
The Leitchfield City Council became involved in the complaint process last year, since the city employees cell phones are with AT&T and they too are unhappy with their service.
The city looked at comparing pricing with other local cellular providers, and sent a formal letter to the AT&T Company seeking answers.
Monday evening, City Treasurer/Clerk Erin Embry updated the council on the matter saying she had spoken with a company representative who assured her that the money for the new infrastructure was still in the budget and the company was just waiting for crews to return from being dispatched to the Hurricane Sandy tragedy to return home to complete the work on the service towers. Embry said the company is hoping to have the work completed by the end of February 2013.
Ensuring transparency within local government is the goal of the city council’s latest project, video footage of their city council meetings.
Councilmen Steven Elder and Billy Dallas have been instrumental in trying various types of cameras and working with the website Ustream.tv in attempting to broadcast the meetings.
The city purchased a new camera and software to record the meetings, at the recommendation of Joseph Alexander, owner of R & B Productions. The new camera was used Monday evening for the first time but the meeting was only recorded, not streamed live on the internet due to volume issues.
The council tossed around the idea of archiving the meetings through the public library after 30 or 60 days of having them on-file at city hall. They also discussed what outlets to use to broadcast the videos. They mentioned adding them to the city’s government channel on Comcast Cable and seeking permission from other cable companies in town to post the video. Dallas mentioned adding the video to the city’s website to drive citizens to the site.
Councilman Jerry Schlosser mentioned working with the high school journalism students to process the videos and post them. He mentioned it could be good experience for the students and a help to the city.
Mayor William Thomason recommended a pay increase for the four Leitchfield Utilities Commissioners, an increase of $100 per month per person. The utilities commission is comprised of Carl “Moon” Smith, Dwight Embry, Dorothy “Dot” McCall and Chairman Bob Crawford.
Thomason said the commissioners have not had a pay increase since January 1999. The commissioners are paid $400 per month and the chairman is paid $800 per month, plus they each receive city health insurance as a benefit.
Councilman Billy Dallas said, “I personally think we are fair with them.”
Councilman Steven Elder said, “Have they voted on this issue themselves?”
Mayor Thomason said, “No, they can’t, we have to.”
Elder said, “I would rather see them with their hands up requesting or asking for a raise, and then coming to us rather than us giving them something. We have to do that, if we’re going to get a raise, we’re the ones that have to vote that in. We’re voting for them a raise and they are not taking any heat for it. I want to see them vote on it.”
Councilman Harold Miller asked if the commission had any extra duties added and Mayor Thomason answered no. The group meets twice per month and handles a budget larger than the city’s. If the raises were passed, the funds would come out of the utilities budget, not the city’s budget.
The council agreed to have the issue put on the commissioners’ agenda for them to take a vote among themselves before sending the issue back to the council, who has the ultimate say concerning the raise in question.
Mayor Thomason said the commissioners had requested the pay increase.
Comparisons between the council and commission were tossed about among the council, who said the commissioners were appointed and not voted in, their terms were four years in length instead of two years like the council members, and they were responsible for fewer duties than a council member.
The utilities commission will meet on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 at Leitchfield City Hall. The meeting begins at 5:00 p.m.
The railroad crossing was officially closed on Old Brandenburg Road on Monday, January 28, 2013 but it hasn’t stopped large semi-trucks from attempting to use the roadway. Police Chief Bart Glenn said two trucks were backed-out of the area within the first two days of closing the road.
Public Works Director Darrell Harrell said there was an issue with one of the factories using their old address of Embry Dr. instead of the name Ed Embry Dr. and it was confusing the semi-truck drivers GPS systems, which was leading them to Embry Brothers Dr. off of Old Brandenburg Road. Harrell said hopefully this will help curb the problem.
Citizen Ann Huff was vocal with the council about her experience she called dangerous. Huff lives in the area of Old Brandenburg Road and was a proponent of leaving the railroad tracks open. She requested a plan of action on behalf of the city to create a “safe outlet” for her and other drivers in the area. She said the small side road access now is dangerous with oncoming traffic.
Mayor William Thomason said the city was working to obtain a right-of-way for Embry Brothers Dr. and the street widening project would be completed this summer.
Councilman Jerry Schlosser asked if the tourism commission has considered looking at re-vamping the existing pool instead of building a new complex. Mayor Thomason said the possibility had been considered but the lease between the school board and city had expired. Schlosser insisted he sat on the council who voted to construct the pool and agreed to a 99 year lease with the school board, but others insisted the lease was now on a year-to-year basis.
According to an article of the “Grayson County News” found at the Grayson County Library dated June 24, 1976, the lease between the school board and city was for 20 years, translating the lease ended in 1996.
In other city business:
The city purchased four new vehicles, two cruisers for the police department at a cost of $26,860 each, and two trucks for the public works department at a price of $23,490 and $24,860. All four vehicles were purchased from Dan Powers in Leitchfield, even though one of the trucks was $162 more than a bid from a dealership in Louisville. Harrell said he felt the cost could be justified by purchasing the vehicle locally.
Dwight Embry was re-appointed to the Utilities Department.
Kirk Collard and Kevin Henderson were both appointed to the Airport Board.
Police Chief Bart Glenn reported the speed radar machine had been setup on Brumfield Drive for six days and only 62 of the several thousand drivers were recorded as speeding. It was requested in the last meeting to look at raising the rate of speed on Brumfield Drive. Chief Glenn said it was his recommendation to leave the rate of speed as is.
The Leitchfield Softball Committee was logged officially in the city’s minutes as Todd Cave, Shannon Warf, Kevin Pharis, Matt Milam and Billy Dallas. The only change from last year’s committee was the replacement of Kenny Glasscock to Matt Milam.
Councilman Harold Miller was appointed to oversee the Babe Ruth and Little League baseball department.
Councilman Steven Elder reported he and Darrell Harrell were in search of a train caboose to setup in one of the city parks for display. The rest of the council liked the concept and tossed around some ideas of where to find an actual caboose.