CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Times-Tribune Staff Writer
Health issues — that’s what’s forced Williamsburg City Council member Chet Riley to tender his resignation letter dated for Jan. 2, according to Mayor Roddy Harrison. Riley, 68, a former Walmart manager, has been a fixture on city council for nearly 20 years, Harrison said Monday during the regular monthly city council meeting, where Riley’s resignation was announced.
Council member Mary Ann Stanfill motioned to accept Riley’s resignation letter, with a second from Council member Troy Sharp.
Sharp confirmed Riley’s health struggles. “You seldom see him out anymore,” he told council members.
Harrison said that 2014 would have made Riley’s 20th year serving on city council. At the end of the meeting, Council member Richard Foley asked council members in honor of Riley’s service to the city and city council, that they approve paying Riley for the remainder of 2014, which was voted on and approved unanimously by council members.
In the event of an elected official leaving an office prior to the end of his term, Kentucky statutes dictate the legislative body has 30 days to appoint a replacement, or the governor steps in with an appointment.
Just after accepting Riley’s letter, Harrison announced a potential replacement, Patty Faulkner.
Harrison said that Faulkner has been president of the local little league and has served with the city’s tourism commission “for several years,” and recommended council members appoint her to fill the seat.
Council member Richard Foley motioned to appoint Faulkner to the city council to finish Riley’s term, and Council member Laurel West seconded. Council members were unanimous with this decision.
Once Faulkner was sworn in by city attorney Greta Price, the council returned to the business of the city.
In council business:
— Council members listened to a first reading of changes to an ordinance regarding the city’s restaurant tax.
“This does NOT increase the tax,” Harrison said — twice.
What was changed was making amendments and deletions altered in 1998 and 2004 part of one solid ordinance, which includes changes made this year.
Harrison explained that in 1989 when the restaurant tax ordinance was first passed, the tax rate was 2 percent.
That was increased in 1998 to 3 percent — which is reflected in section 1 of the city ordinance.
In the second section, Harrison explained that additions were made as to what defines a restaurant, which now includes (but is not limited to) restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, cafeterias, short order cafes, luncheonettes, concession stands, in addition to what was already listed.
Other establishments listed originally include grills, tearooms, sandwich shops, soda fountains, taverns, bars, cocktail lounges, nightclubs, roadside stands, street vendors, catering, commissaries, or similar places where food is prepared and sold for consumption.
Added to that was the exclusion of school-operated cafeterias, churches, non-profit organizations, Old Fashioned Trading Days and other non-profit community events. However, school cafeterias operated by an independent corporation are taxable.
Section 3 of the ordinance was eliminated due to redundancy, Harrison said.
Section 5 concerns penalties for unpaid taxes. The first part of it states that taxes not paid by the due date are subject to a 10 percent penalty, combined with a 6 percent interest against the total amount due at any time. After 60 days, the ordinance states the penalty amount will be compounded monthly. The remainder of this section has been added this year. “Penalty or interest not paid shall have the same 10 percent penalty, together with interest at the rate of 6 percent against the total amount of the penalty and interest,” the new section of the ordinance states. “Violator shall pay all cost(s) including attorney fees, court fees and other expenses involved in the collection of (the) past due amount.
That section of the ordinance now also includes that anyone paying by credit card, check or bank draft and those payments are not honored, that person will be charged a $50 fee in addition to other penalties, fees or interest. If that payment is not honored, it will be deemed as never having been received, further adding to penalties and interest payments due.
The only other change was eliminating Section 10 of the ordinance concerning a collection fee collected by the city.
The ordinance, including changes, deletions and additions, contains 19 sections total.
As this was a first reading, no vote was required by council members. The second reading is slated for February’s regular monthly meeting.
— It’s getting closer.
The South 10th Street Project, which covers moving the water and sewer lines to the south side of 10th Street, got one step closer to launching after Monday’s regular meeting.
“Our part is ready to go,” Harrison said. “We’ve had our pre-construction meeting, construction crews are ready.
Harrison said the city now awaits the word from the state’s transportation department — but the city had one step to take.
The mayor explained there are three separate parcels of property which the state’s Transportation Cabinet needed to buy from the city to get the project closer to starting. One is near the McDonald’s restaurant and the tourism building — the bid for that property was $8,450. The second piece is across from the former Petrey’s building, Harrison said — the state needs that piece in order to widen the road and “take a lot of the curve out.” That piece of property was bid for $12,460. The third piece of property concerned easement and is near Taylor Lane. That small parcel received a $1,325 bid.
Stanfill motioned to accept the total offer of $22,235 for the three properties, with a second from Foley. Council members were unanimous with this decision.
— The mayor announced demolition of a visual staple of downtown begins today.
The brightly-colored orange building at the corner of North 3rd and Main streets will officially begin getting torn down.
The building has a long history in downtown, and has been several types of businesses, including groceries, lawyer firms, a dance hall and a bar.
“It’s emotional — it’s sad — but the roof is gone,” Harrison said.
The building has been condemned, and has housed several birds and particularly, pigeons, during the last several years.
A fence was erected around the building Monday, but Harrison said he doesn’t expect any road closures during this process. The alley behind the building has also been closed for this process.
The building is still owned by the library, and once it’s torn down, “the library can do what they want with (the property),” Harrison said.
— Council members made official the council’s regular monthly meeting time. The Williamsburg City Council meets the second Monday of each month, but now at 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. The next regular meeting of the city council will be 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10.