“We’re talking about big — something we’ve never done before.”
That was from Calvert City Mayor Lynn Jones to the city council during a special online meeting June 8. He was referring to the city’s planned observance of its Sesquicentennial next year.
“It will be a big celebration of our 150th year, and we’ll have national talent (perform) in the park,” he said. “We’re talking about somebody who’s going to draw thousands of people to our city simply by their name recognition. This is going to be one celebration we’ll never forget. It’s going to be awesome.”
Marketing Director Blair Travis is already negotiating to bring in a huge Ferris wheel, Jones said. And in her report, Travis mentioned a Wings & Wheels event at Kentucky Dam Airport, which would combine an air show and a car show.
The mayor envisions a three-day event culminating July 4 with AmeriBration, which was cancelled this year in compliance with guidelines to curb COVID-19. The city was originally incorporated March 18, 1871, and citizens celebrated its Centennial anniversary in June 1971 with beard competitions, a period costume contest, a period fashion show and dances at the country club and in Rolling Hills Shopping Plaza.
Jones noted that many people are upset over the cancellation of AmeriBration — “not having a parade, not having (games for) kiddies in the park, and not having fireworks. Some are even considering having their own parade, their own fireworks and their own celebration. We don’t mind you doing that, but a parade might be a problem.” A parade would likely require a permit.
The mayor emphasized that the city is going to comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, Travis is looking into having fireworks on Labor Day in partnership with Kentucky Dam Marina.
“We’ve talked with the marina and they want to partner with us and we’ll consider moving our fireworks to the lake — shooting them off the lake on Labor Day,” Jones said, noting that’s a time to recognize area organized labor. The event could be a “big celebration for our union men and women who do so much for us.”
On another issue, Jones announced he would proclaim June 19 as Andy Beshear Day in Calvert City.
“On that day we are going to do a video for the people in Calvert to say, ‘Thank you’ to the governor for what he has done in trying to keep us safe, and for going the extra mile in providing the leadership Kentucky needed in this particularly difficult time,” Jones said. “We want him to know that not everyone supports hanging effigies in trees and trying to bash his name. We may not agree with the governor but we can respect him and honor the position that he is diligently trying to uphold.
“We’re going to make a great documentary and send that along with a Lord of Calvert and some handwritten cards letting him know that we appreciate him.”
The council also grappled with a range of other issues from the city’s 2020-21 budget and employee raises to dealing with delinquent water bills and ongoing airport renovation.
Regarding the $2 million airport renovation, aviation consultant Brandon Tanner reported the status of installing a fuel system, runway overlay and T-hangars. The Kentucky Department of Aviation is negotiating with the contractor over a $37,000 change order, Tanner said. There’s approximately $10,000 left on the fuel grant that has not been allocated, and the state has declined to increase it.
The Department of Aviation wants to complete the runway asphalt overlay and pavement marking this fall, Tanner said.
“They want us to advertise for bids the first part of July with anticipated construction in early fall this year. (The state) wants this project going quickly, and if we lump the two hangars in on that, that’s going to be two projects going on at the same time toward the end of this year. With this overlay project, the runway will be shut down for an estimated 21 to 30 days. That is required by the state, and you might need to talk with the pilots about that,” he told the council.
The state has elected to fund the $1 million runway project strictly through state money, Tanner said. “It was eligible for some federal funding but (because of) some strings attached, the state has elected to pay for it out of state funds.”
The professional services agreement, which is for Hanson Professional Services to complete the design and construction observation, is $146,771 and change — $76,000 and change for design and bid assistance, and $70,612 and change for the construction observation. The city will pay for the T-hangars and the state will pay for infrastructure (pavement and concrete pads).
In other business, the council:
• Adopted on second reading a 2020-21 budget ordinance showing total general fund resources of $9.738 million including a $6 million balance on June 30, total estimated revenue of $3.738 million and estimated appropriations of $4.479 million. Because of the economic shutdown, estimated revenue for next fiscal year is uncertain meaning the city could be forced to dip into its savings.
• Adopted on second reading an ordinance increasing city employees’ salaries/wages 2.3% and city council members compensation from $300 to $500 per month. The mayor’s salary remained at $10,000 annually. The raises become effective Jan. 1, 2021.
• Adopted on second reading an ordinance amending last fiscal year’s budget.
• The council heard the first readings and introduced the three ordinances at an online meeting June 2.
• Heard a report from Stephanie Brown of Chastain Engineering, who was hired to assist the city in updating its Strategic Plan. Over the next month, Brown will solicit public input via a 51-question survey covering all aspects of life here.
• Approved a revision of the city procurement policy to allow the city to negotiate a contract if the council rejects all bids or receives no bids for goods or services. The city must bid goods/services exceeding $30,000.
• Heard an audit report for 2018/19 from certified public accountant David Hampton.
• Discussed at length measures dealing with delinquent water/sewer bills.
• Discussed granting franchises for cable television services to Spectrum, Comcast and Media Com.
• Took no action following a closed session called to discuss potential property acquisition.