David Gilliam

Madison County Schools Superintendent David Gilliam.

Madison County School District Superintendent David Gilliam updated the Berea City Council Tuesday on the progress for building of the Berea Career & Technology Center.

During an online meeting, Gilliam reported construction of the center is currently underway and the district expects the school to be completed by the spring of next year, and fully operational for the 2022 school year. The school is located next to Farristown Middle School on Menelaus Road.

Features of the facility include a gymnasium, which can also be used for public events, as well as instructional labs for the school’s marketing, culinary, engineering, diesel lab mechanics, welding, industrial maintenance and medical services/certification programs. Gilliam added that four additional instructional programs are expected to be added at the Berea site in the future. The Berea center is actually one of two such facilities operated by the Madison County School District, with the other one currently being built behind the Toyota dealership in Richmond.

Berea officials hailed the project as a development that will have a tremendous impact on the Berea economy as well as providing new opportunities for local youths. During the discussion, it was mentioned that the late Madison County Schools Superintendent Mike Caudill, father of Councilman Steve Caudill, championed the concept of a vocational school. In receiving the news, Steve Caudill said both his father and grandmother would have been glad to see the project moving forward.

“Dr. Gilliam I just want to say how exciting this is. This is such an opportunity for southern Madison County,” Caudill said. “This is something that has been in the works for 15 or 16 years. This has been something that we wanted in Berea because we felt like we needed it for our students.”

Bonus approved

In other business, the council approved a municipal order for a one-time payment of $1,000 to each full-time city employee. The unanimously approved measure comes on the heels of a $1,000 award to the city’s police and firefighters, who were on duty since March 16, which marked the date the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency. Officials said the item would be submitted in the upcoming amended budget, which is expected to be passed in March.

Last month, first responders were given the bonus based on the fact that they had to remain on duty during the worst of the crisis.

Pool bid rejected

Also Tuesday, the council accepted a recommendation from Berea City Administrator David Gregory to reject a bid recommendation for the year-around management of the Berea City Pool.

After a unanimous vote by the council, the facility will continue to be managed by the Berea Parks and Recreation Department.

First read

The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance revising operations and fines relating to the Codes Enforcement Board. Under the new proposed rules, the Planning and Zoning Administrative Assistant will preside over the board meetings and record minutes, while a new schedule of fines will be instituted for selected code enforcement violations.

Under the ordinance, violators would be fined $100 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense, and $500 for a third offense. Codes Enforcement Administrator Amanda Hawley assured council members that fines are rarely imposed by the Code Enforcement Board unless a violator is willfully non-compliant.

The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the sale of city property on North Broadway for $435,000. The property is to be acquired by StreamGo Media LLC, officials said. The property at 204 North Broadway, 213 Washington Avenue includes a multi-purpose building and an attached parking lot.

The city declared the property as surplus, and sold it for purposes of promoting economic development. The council will hear the second reading of the ordinance Thursday during a special session.

COVID-19 resolution

 Additionally, the council approved a resolution reaffirming the city’s commitment to endorsing public health measures to fight COVID-19, including frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds, social distancing at least six feet apart, and well as wearing face coverings.

Councilman John Payne thanked the council for passing the measure, expression concern that some elements of the public may be letting their guard down prematurely when it comes to fighting the spread of the virus.

Airport board resolution

The council also approved a resolution endorsing Kentucky legislation that will enable Kentucky universities that have aviation programs and that are fixed based operators of an airport to be able to appoint members to a local airport board. The upcoming legislation by State Representative Deanna Frazier is tailored to allow Eastern Kentucky University to appoint two new members to the Madison County Airport Board.

Bid accepted

Other business Tuesday included the acceptance of a bid from Akins Excavating Company for $659,657 for a sanitary sewer project. The project includes line replacement on Bridge Avenue, Bluebird Street and O’Donnell Lane, as well was exploratory work on Cherry Road and Chestnut Court.

The council will meet again for a regular meeting on January 19.

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