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City Hall changing hours

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Council votes to purchase turnout gear for firefighters

By Linda Ireland

 Hodgenville City Hall is changing its hours.

Beginning April 1, it will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Employees will have 30 minutes for lunch.

Hodgenville City Council voted unanimously to make the change after councilman Mitchell Key said he had spoken with City Clerk/Treasurer Toni Burton and assistant clerk Debbie Rucker.

The women currently are working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour lunch break.

Mayor Kenny DeVore suggested opening the office at 8:30 a.m., but Burton said she did not want to start work later. Burton also said she and Rucker do not take a full hour for lunch – and she often does city business, such as paying bills or making bank deposits, on her lunch break.

Key added that other government offices close at 4:30 p.m.

Street name

The council tabled a request to name a small, dead-end street off Tanner Road. 

One family lives on the street and has requested it be named after them: Andrews. None of the family attended the meeting. (Kay Andrew said Wednesday she was prevented from attending the meeting due to a death in the family.)

Several of the council members said they would prefer to name it “Georgetown School Lane,” as the Georgetown neighborhood school was located there.

The Andrews family make their home in the old school.

Black students who lived within city limits attended there before integration occurred in the 1960s.

The area was referred to as “Georgetown” after large landowner George Handley.

Key said he could remember when a barber named Dickie Conners lived there, working out of a shop behind his house. He can recall a street sign – but not the wordage.

The council agreed to vote on the street’s name at the April meeting, after members have had a chance to research the history of the street.

Turnout gear

The council agreed to order nine sets of turnout gear for Hodgenville firefighters.

The gear – gloves, coats, pants, leather boots, helmets and face shields – cost $24,539 plus shipping. 

DeVore said the purchase was critical as “we are not legally a fire department without this turnout gear.” Additional state funding would be in jeopardy, he added.

Ethics ordinance

The council tabled first reading of an ethics ordinance and will discuss it at the April meeting.

 The ordinance will provide for an ethics commission which lapsed during the tenure of former mayor Terry L. Cruse.

City Attorney Mary Gaines Locke made a few changes to a basic ordinance provided by the Kentucky League of Cities, and council members made more suggestions at the meeting.

DeVore said adoption of the ordinance was important, but not “urgent.”

“Let’s get it right,” he said.

Training incentive ordinance

The council voted in a previous meeting to adopt a training incentive ordinance that would allow the City to pay for extra training for council members.

Mayor DeVore said it would not be retroactive to include training already taken this year.

The council asked for clarification of wording – and tabled the matter until April.

Financial statement

Council member Bonni Clark asked that the financials again include a breakdown of individual salaries – not a lump sum.

The reports are completed by accountant Dana Burba, a consultant for the City. DeVore said he would ask that she make the change for future reports.

Kentucky Deferred Compensation

The Council agreed to provide another opportunity for city employees to save toward retirement. 

Garvis Campbell from Kentucky Deferred Compensation presented the information to the group. He said more than 70,000 employees in Kentucky participate in it – at no cost to the individual employers. It is not mandatory.

City police

Acting Police Chief Marcus Jackson presented a report on calls worked during the preceding month. There were 144 contacts with the public, including hearing 27 complaint calls, six domestic disputes, eight tips, six motorist assists, two welfare checks, 10 traffic stops, non-injury crashes, funeral escorts, structure fires and a vehicle fire.

Jackson said the six motorist assists included only those that came in through dispatch. Officers helped many others during the wintry weather.

Fire department

Fire Chief Wally Sparks said firefighters assisted the ambulance service during the worst weather in February. They went on runs with EMS, helping patients from their homes to the ambulance, and even transporting patients in areas where four-wheel drive was required.

Winter storm damage

Mayor DeVore said the two recent winter storms were hard on the city’s snow removal equipment to the tune of about $10,000. One backhoe and one snowplow were damaged.

Snow and ice tore off gutters, fascia boards and soffit from the city’s maintenance building. Insurance should pay for the damage.

He announced at the meeting that he declared a state of emergency during both storms in order to take advantage of assistance from the National Guard – if it had been needed.

One city employee worked 86 hours during the February storm; another employee worked about 76 hours, said DeVore.

Not Christmas

Clark drew some laughter from the audience and other council members when she asked if the Christmas banners on Lincoln Square would be taken down before Easter.

She said her husband tells her to cover her eyes when they drive through downtown, as she complains about the holiday banners not being changed.

Mayor DeVore said it would be taken care of.

Questions remain

Council member Larry Davis asked if the City was going to take action against former mayor Cruse and former city clerk MaDonna Hornback, who were removed from office after being charged with numerous counts of abuse of public trust. Both pleaded guilty and have spent 30 days in jail. They are also required to reimburse the City for the cost of gas they put in their personal vehicles – on the City’s tab.

Watch next week’s Herald News for more information on this story.