Hopkinsville City Council decided to pump the brakes on approving nonpartisan elections at Tuesday’s special-called virtual meeting.
Ahead of the second reading, Councilman Terry Parker motioned to move it to the July 7 council meeting; however, Councilman Darvin Adams motioned to take it a step further to defer the second reading until the next in-person meeting.
“If and only if we are in the city council chambers for an in-person meeting the first week of next month, then we should go back to that particular item,” Adams said. “But if we’re not back in the chambers in-person and allowing our constituents and voters and members of the community to speak their peace or what have you, it shouldn’t go through that way.”
Adams’ motion passed unanimously.
Mayor Wendell Lynch said the city plans to resume in-person council meetings July 7 but that could be postponed depending on the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been discussed with the health department and they approved our plan,” Lynch said. “However, we never know what could happen to change that.”
Lynch noted during the mayor’s comments that there is no rush to pass the nonpartisan ordinance and he had hoped that the council would “stand down” on the issue until the city is completely reopen.
“I would like to appoint a committee of citizens and council people to allow people to express themselves and to get a greater understanding and be educated and to understand what it is and what it is not,” Lynch said. “There’s no reason for us to be in a hurry. We’re in control, and we can take our time and do it in a manner that is consistent with those that we serve.”
The city’s budgets were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting. The council unanimously approved the first reading of the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget.
The operational budget is set at $37.9 million, while the capital budget will be $1.79 million. The mayor and city council also waived salary increases the next fiscal year.
“This was a tough budget year,” Lynch said.
Additionally, amendments were made to the current budget, reducing the revenue from $37.1 million to $36.2 million and adding $1.4 million from prior year revenue.
Expenses in the FY 2019-2020 general fund were amended to $38.2 million to balance the overall budget. The outgoing capital fund budget was also amended to from $1.7 million to $2 million to reflect several unexpected expenditures.
Some of those expenses included $92,000 to replace the roof on Fire Station One; the fire training center came in over budget by $50,000; the city maintenance division purchased a 4x4 front deck mower and a 1/2 ton truck; parks and recreation purchased a 3/4 ton truck; and the service center purchased a 20,000-pound lift for an ambulance.
In other business:
- Council approved on first reading a lease of $3.4 million for the landfill expansion bond issue, which is with the Kentucky Bond Corporation.
- Council voted 11-1 on first reading to discontinue registration of dogs and cats within the City of Hopkinsville. Councilman Jimmy Dossett voted no.
- Council approved two municipal orders — one to transfer a gas pipeline to HWEA as surplus property, and another to defer the April 1 quarterly payment from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau loan. The missed payment will be added to the end of the loan.
- Ron Hicks, Carol Kirves, Molly Lewis, and Jack Shah shall be reappointed and Ana Traceski shall be appointed to serve on the Hopkinsville Human Rights Commission on July 1. Additionally, Palak Patel shall be appointed to serve as the youth member on July 1, and Magaline Ferguson shall be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Jack Lackey effective immediately.
- Merry Beth Tomaszewski and Justin Whitehair shall be reappointed July 1 to the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
- Joanne Davis and Gay Wilson shall be reappointed July 1 to the Housing Authority of Hopkinsville Board of Commissioners.
- B.J. Cayce and Brandy Wells shall be reappointed and Kiley Killebrew shall be appointed to the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County Board on July 1.