Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sebree to consider amendment to allow church to place digital sign

J-E News Editor
In April the Sebree Christian Church approached the city of Sebree with a request to install a new digital sign in front of their building. What they discovered was a 16 year old ban on digital sinage that blocked their attempt to place the sign.

“We started raising money and I went around to different communities to find a sign that would work,”    church goer Brice Marsh told Sebree’s city council on Monday. “We did not realize that there was an ordinance that did not allow digital signs within the city limits of Sebree.”
City employee Kim Campbell and city attorney Dorin Luck explained that not only was there a ban specifically on ‘digital copy signs’ anywhere in the city, there were also rules against building permanent ground signs and illuminated signs in residential zones such as where the church is located.
Permanent ground signs and illuminated signs are only permitted in residential areas if they are marking the entrance to a subdivision.
According to Luck, the sign that currently stands in front of the Sebree Christian Church is not compliant with the city ordinance, but as it was standing prior to the April 1998 adoption of that ordinance, the rule does not apply to that particular sign. He even said the church could go as far as replacing it with an identical sign, but they could not, under current rules, put up a digital sign.
On Monday, Luck presented the council with an amendment that he hopes will allow the church to put up their sign. It would, however, require the church property to be rezoned from R Residential to Neighborhood Commercial, which would need planning commission approval, a Public Hearing and then approval by the city council.
In other business, city employee Emery Thomas informed the council that 23% of the city’s new water lines were now in the ground, but no service has been added.
Sebree is in the middle of a $1.2 million water rehabilitation project that will replace 35,000 feet of outdated and often leaky water lines within the city. Many of those lines date back to 1936, and have long been a problem for the city. Not only do the leak’s result in costly damages to city streets, the city is also responsible for footing the bill for the lost water. The city has lost up to three million gallons of water in a single month.
The project will also replace 160 water meters with new ‘radio read’ meters, which will allow a city employee to check the meters simply by driving by in a vehicle equipped with the proper equipment.
Grimes Construction Company Inc. of London, KY is the contractor on the project. Work began in early June and was projected to last for up to six months. 
The city is counting on coal severance monies to help pay for the project, but at a recent fiscal court meeting Judge Executive Jim Townsend warned that there had been a major decline in the amount of coal severance money coming back to the county.
Coal severance money comes to the county from Local Government Economic Assistance (LGEA) funds, which magistrates must then order on a priority list starting with the most important.
This year the county had no choice on the item that topped the priority list. The state mandated that the city of Providence would receive $319,000 to pay off debts.
“It might take until January before we have that money available,” said county treasurer Paula Guinn.
LGEA money comes to the county quarterly, and the Providence debt payment is expected to take most, if not all, of the funds from the July, October and January installments. That will leave only the April 2015 payment to cover other items on the list.
Sebree’s water project is #6 on the list. The city will have to finance any funds it doesn’t receive from coal severance through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) in the form of a loan.

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