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Harrodsburg Refinances Utility Expansion Bonds

Commission Discusses Cell Phones, Vehicles And Empty House At Water Treatment Plant

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

The City of Harrodsburg is refinancing the bonds for the water and sewer treatment plant expansion.

Steven Pickarski from the Kentucky League of Cities told the Harrodsburg City Commission Monday night that refinancing the bonds which would save the city over $410,000. Refinancing the debt under current interest rates would reduce Harrodsburg’s debt from $4.8-million to $4.4-million.

Mayor Art Freeman said in the worst case scenario, refinancing would save the city $400 in 2023. The move  would also allow the city to retire the debt three years early, Freeman said.

“I think we need to do this,” said Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham, who moved to sign the agreement and move forward with the refinancing.

The commission also discussed whether the city should provide cell phones to employees. Harrodsburg already provides phones to supervisors who are on call.

Commissioner Charlie Mattingly, who oversees the public works department, said some employees were using their own phones while on the job. When the personal phones were damaged, they cost employees hundreds of dollars to replace. He said five current employees have cell phones. Mattingly said the city could track phones to make sure they weren’t being used for non-city business.

Officers with Harrodsburg Police Department use their personal cell phones while on the job. Chief Brian Allen said and Cemetery Sexton Rosalyn Drury said their employees don’t want them or need city-issued phones.

Still, Mayor Art Freemen worried employees from other departments would want phones too if they were provided for the street department.

Commissioner Isham questioned the need for phones at all.

“If there are two in the truck why do they need cell phones?” Isham asked. “They’re supposed to be working, not playing with their phones.”

Among other suggestions offered were issuing walkie-talkies to employees and radios. Finally, City Clerk Shavonna Huffman suggested leaving it up to the commissioners as to whether the employees received phones or not.

“We’re just going to leave it alone,” Freeman said, although he suggested insuring any phone issued by the city.

The commission also revisited the topic of charging police officers who use department cruisers to drive home mileage if they lived outside of Mercer or one of the counties that adjoin Mercer. The previous administration passed an ordinance saying officers had to pay mileage, but it has never been collected.

Under that ordinance, the commission has to approve the rate, which is set by the chief. However, Chief Allen objected to the ordinance, which he said unfairly targeted his officers. Other supervisors have to pay fringe benefit taxes on vehicles, while officers are exempt.

“The entire ordinance needs to be rescinded and redone,” Allen said. “It needs to be abolished tonight.”

“Let’s not abolish anything tonight, let’s not change anything tonight, let’s not start collecting money tonight,” Mayor Freeman said.

Freeman suggested forming a committee which would include Allen, Assistant Chief Tim Hurt, Commissioner Scott Moseley and another commissioner picked by Allen and Hurt to look at the ordinance.

The commission also discussed removing the empty house at the water treatment plant through a controlled burn. The city had previously sought to have the building demolished, but the bids they received were too high.

Harrodsburg Fire Chief Scott Hammons discussed holding a controlled burn. Hammons said costs would be minimal and it would offer the city and county departments an opportunity for training. Whatever remained after the fire would be buried onsite.

There followed a discussion on insurance, whether the windows would be worth the cost of removal and several other issues.

“Let’s burn the damn thing down,” Freeman.

Chief Hammons said the controlled burn would be held towards the end of October.

The commission also decided to sell a Ford 5610 tractor, Woods RD7200 Rotary Mower, Woods RM660-1 Rotary Mower and Bush Hog RDTH84 online this week. Previously the city has advertised for bids on surplus equipment, but Mayor Freeman said he had heard complaints from prospective bidders who said they were steered away from equipment by employees who then bid on the equipment themselves.

In other business, Commissioner Mattingly announced fall pick up will be on the week of Oct. 14–18.

“Do not put your items out until the week of the pickup,” Mattingly said.

A special tax hearing will be held Thursday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission will be on Monday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.

Both meetings will be held at Harrodsburg City Hall (208 South Main Street).

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