New Festival & Beattyville Elementary Purchase was the Highlights for April City Council Meeting

By: Jessica L Butler, GM-Editor

The April City Council meeting was via teleconference due to flood damage of City Hall and continued Covid-19 restrictions.

    After Councilman Sam Cockerham gave his traditional prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited by the Council, Lee County Judge-Executive Chuck Caudill Jr addressed the Council concerning the purchase of the Beattyville Elementary School.

    The judge asked if the City would like to partner with the County and Tracey Farmer. Farmer had already given $25,000 for flood relief, and offered to put in $150,000 for the purchase of the Beattyville Elementary if the County and City would do the same.

     An architect would be brought in to look at the building in order to make it into an apartment complex, or apartment complex/mixed retail space. This could possibly provide rent controlled property. The basement would be modified for retail.  All this would be above the floodplain.

The County would, also, apply for a grant that would be 1.5 million dollars for renovations.

    The cost of the building is $350,000 before the flood. The price has not changed despite the flood. The KEA Association has determined the $350,000. The City would pay $100,000. the County $100,000, and Tracey Farmer $150,000.  It will be a tax generating building and not a government run building. 

      An economic development board would oversee the operation of the building. Appalachian Regional Commission Power Grant is what they would apply for in order to qualify for the 1.5 million dollars.

    The Council will consider it and put on the agenda for next month if it is something they want to participate in. Next on the agenda was the discussion of Draw #9 $24,809 for the sewer project. It was approved. The Council, then, looked over March Minutes and approved it. 

       Teresa Mays, Main Street Manager and DBA Executive Director, addressed the Council concerning a 1st Annual Bourbon and Moonshine Festival on July 10th. Distilleries all over the state will be represented. She thinks it would be great for economic development growth. There will be tastings only. Additional purchases would be available at the local alcohol retailers.

    Councilwoman Charlotte Hogan opposes the Festival and was vocal about it, but the rest of the Council voted “yes” and it was approved. Also, Mays asked the Council to approve the first Cruisin’ Night Event of the Summer on Friday, May 7th. This will be the first Friday of every month. This will be in compliance with Covid-19 regulations.  The Council approved it.

    Beattyville Police Chief, Steve Mays, was next to approach the Council. He reported for March 22 arrests, 45 citations, 5 accidents, and they answered 283 calls. 

       Ferrell Wise, Public Works Director, addressed the Council next by reporting 64 work orders for water, 55 which are completed, and 7 sewer work orders. All the sewer work orders are completed. 

     The Financial Report was approved, and the Council asked, weather permitting, that the May meeting be in-person outside, as the City Council closed the April meeting. 

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