, Corbin, KY

February 12, 2013

City council receives water park’s 2012 report

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By John L. Ross

Staff Writer

Kentucky Splash Water Park saw a good year.

That’s according to Park Manager Diane Bruers, who reported on the park’s status during the regular meeting of the Williamsburg City Council Monday night.

“(It was) a good year,” Bruers said. “A little down, but still a good year.”

Council members received copies of some final numbers from the park’s 2012 season.

Monies from admissions totaled more than $683,000 — concessions saw more than $345,000 in revenues.

One surprise from the concession totals was the Dippin’ Dots dispenser — which brought in more than $84,000.

Other revenue totals:

— The Gift Shop brought in more than $5,200.

— The arcade saw more than $4,100.

— The batting cage revenues totaled $667.

— Go-Kart usage brought in more than $11,300.

— The miniature golf course brought in more than $4,600.

— The driving range revenues totaled $5,580.

Bruers said changes will come for the new season.

“This year we’re building a new gift shop outside,” she said.

Other changes include working on the “kiddie pool” structure and re-wiring the outside concession stands for wi-fi connections to accommodate the computers used in services for the public.

It was questioned whether the economy played a role in the lower revenue totals.

“(We’ve) not really seen any drop off from that,” she said, noting that the low admission rates likely helped rather than hindered revenues.

Mayor Roddy Harrison agreed, adding the low price of concessions help as well.

No action was required on this report.

In city council action:

— The second reading of the new personnel policy was approved 4-0 during Monday’s meeting.

No discussion of the policy was made. Council member Mary Ann Stanfill motioned to approve the policy, with a second from Council member Richard Foley.

Some of the changes to the policy include adding two more holidays to the list — Christmas Eve and Good Friday.

Also new to the policy is any employee eligible for four weeks vacation may choose to receive payment for one week of said vacation instead of actually taking the week off. The amendment states, “However, payment for said week shall be paid at the end of (the) employee’s anniversary date only and at a rate of 40 hours times the current minimum wage rate.”

Other changes include no longer requiring new city employees undergo a physical examination prior to starting their employment; and a day also may be taken off for an employee’s birthday, however, now the day must be taken in the same month as the birthday; sick time may not be transferred to other employees.

— The final version of Williamsburg’s Comprehensive Plan received in November was unanimously approved by present city council members Monday.

It is a 20-year growth guide for Williamsburg and the city council.

The plan has stirred some controversy for some residents, as it includes potential areas for growth — which means potential areas for annexation.

During January’s meeting, Mayor Harrison explained no one will have their business or homes “taken away” and assured residents that no property will be annexed without first asking property owners.

On Monday, Harrison explained there will be a public hearing from 6-7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at city hall. It will concern zoning changes to some properties to update the maps in the Comprehensive Plan. “(This plan) will remain a working document,” Harrison said.

Council member Erica Harris motioned to approve the plan, with a second from Stanfill.

— City Council members approved the acceptance of a $60,000 Coal Severance grant to go toward the completion of various water and sewer projects for the city.

The Kentucky Infrastructure Authority will administer the grant.

According to the grant agreement, prior to bidding any project, the city will have to submit a project profile and budget estimate, amend the budget to allow for receipt and expenditure designations for these funds, and designate a person to oversee the agreement.

Foley motioned for the agreement, with a second from Council member Chet Riley.

— Council members approved 4-0 a resolution supporting reforms to the County Employees Retirement System (CERS) to make the plan more sustainable for current and future employees.

The resolution notes that in Fiscal Year 2003, the city paid nearly $91,000 into retirement benefits for city employees. A decade later, $310,800 in city funds went into retirement benefits.

“Something’s going to have to be done,” Harrison said, explaining if changes get made, Williamsburg could realize approximately $1.4 million in savings.

In 2012, the Kentucky General Assembly created the Task Force for Kentucky Public Pensions to review the problem brewing in the retirement coffers.

The city now officially supports the following recommendations of the state’s task force: 1) Adopt a hybrid cash balance plan for new employees in CERS; 2) Reset the amortization period for CERS for payment of the unfunded liability to a new 30-year period; 3) Eliminate the automatic Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) for all current and future CERS retirees, and: 4) Appoint an additional member to the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees selected by Gov. Steve Beshear from a submitted list from the Kentucky League of Cities.

“Something is going to have to be done,” Harrison said again, adding he knew it would be hard for council members to pass.

“It’s tripled in 10 years,” Foley said. “(That’s) a good size of money.”

Foley motioned to approve the resolution, with a second from Stanfill.

“If you can’t pay retirement (benefits), (we’ll) have to lay people off,” Harrison said before the roll-call vote.