Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sebree water project less than 50% complete

J-E News Editor
After an all too eventful 2014, Sebree Council members held their first session of 2015 on Monday with hopes of a calm year. It was the first official meeting for newly elected council members Jana Forker, Debbie Stull and Billy Smith.

The council had very little to say about a recent settlement with Grimes Construction dealing with the missed completion date for the city’s $1.2 million water project. The project was scheduled to be completed on November 15, 2014, but as of December it was still on going. In a special called meeting the week of Christmas, the council reached a settlement, ending the contract.
“The project is about 40 to 45 percent complete,” City Attorney Doren Luck reported. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are. It’s our job to finish the job the best we can with the funds we have.”
Another item of business on the agenda was an ordinance to renew the city’s standing franchise agreement with Kentucky Utilities. A franchise is a contract between a city and a utility company that outlines certain requirements for the utility to use the city’s public rights of way. In return for that use, cities receive a portion of the electric income in the form of a franchise fee. In Sebree’s case, as with most cities, that amounts to three percent of the utilities monthly income from residents.
These fees are listed separately on customers’ bills, showing the amount and the city’s name. KU does not make any money off of the franchise fee.
“It is a 20 year franchise which is what the last one was,” said Mayor Ozzie O’Nan. “The fee is three percent, so it has stayed the same.”
Council members approved the measure unanimously.
The council also approved the appointment of Sebree Resident Jason Gunterman to the Planning Commission. This appointment brings the number of Planning Commission members to three, which is the minimum the commission needs to do business.
“We are required by the state statute to have five members on the commission,” said Luck. “You can conduct business with three, but we really need to fill those other positions.”
According to Luck, the city’s bi-laws are set up to require the commission to meet on a monthly basis, although that is not required by the state. He suggested to council members that they consider changing the commission meetings to bi-monthly.
“That might encourage some people who can’t meet every month to get involved,” he said. “With our number of commission members being so low, we could get into a position where we have business to go before the planning commission but we don’t have a quorum.”
The city is also in need of members for the city’s board of adjustments.

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