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Mayor addresses many city topics at Chamber Luncheon

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Mayor speaks about pool, parks, and budget, among others

By Zac Oakes

 

Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young was the featured speaker at the Campbellsville-Taylor County Chamber of Commerce meeting last Thursday. 

Young, in his “State of the City” address, spoke on many of the most notable concerns regarding the city, including the city pool, city streets, sewage overflows at Miller Park, the increase in pension contributions, and more. 

The Pool

The city pool at Miller Park has been a hot-button topic this summer, as the pool will remain closed for the remainder of the summer season. 

At a city council meeting earlier this month, city employee Cody Wood told council members the pool itself was in need of a full overhaul, a project he estimated to cost in excess of $150,000. Renovations to the shower area could come at a cost of around $30,000, Wood said, bringing the full renovation total to nearly $200,000. 

At the Chamber meeting, Young said the city had identified several leaks at the pool last year, which led to its closure around the beginning of July 2017. 

 “It was leaking,” Young said. “And the scary thing about it is, we didn’t know where that water was going. We don’t know what was going on under there. We don’t know if the foundation is jeopardized or what, but it is an issue that needs to be addressed. We love the pool, we want to have a pool, but we’re trying to decide what is the right thing to do.” 

An advisory group of council members is continuing to study options of how to proceed, Young said. The group is deciding whether a new pool should be built or whether the current pool should be renovated, as well as looking at some partnership options with other agencies to potentially look at a waterpark. 

That group, Young said, is looking at funding options as well to determine the affordability of each project. 

“We must not make an emotional decision, we must not make a political decision, but we must make a good business decision on what to do with this pool,” Young said. “And I just don’t have that yet. I’m working on it and we will find a solution and do the best we can for this community.” 

 

Miller Park

Young told the Chamber that he inherited a long-standing problem with wastewater overflows. 

During heavy rains, a manhole at Miller Park frequently overflows, spilling wastewater into the surrounding area. 

“It’s a serious issue, it can’t be fixed in one day,” Young said. 

Young said a company has installed flow meters and is looking at data to see how much wastewater is going through the lines and going through the plant. 

Young said the city “knows what it will take” to solve the issue, but they don’t know how big it needs to be, according to Young. 

“We don’t want to spend a lot of money to do something, but it still will overflow,” Young said. “That would be awful to spend millions of dollars, and it still overflow. We need to be sure of how big to make it.” 

Young contends that it is not an easy fix, although many in the community have expressed concerns and the topic has been popular among citizens on social media. 

“People are saying ‘fix it, just fix it!’” Young said. “If I could, I would. It happened to me when I was a kid playing ball. I promise you, we are going to fix it, and we’re going to do it right when we do.”

But he also noted that it is going to be a very expensive fix, and city taxpayers will be the ones paying for it.

“I’m going to warn you, it is going to be expensive,” Young said. “And who will pay for it? Is anyone in Green County going to pay for that? Is anyone in Adair County going to pay for that? Is there anybody in Taylor County going to pay for that? No, to all of the above. The city citizens are going to pay for that. They are the ones who have sewer.” 

But Young said Campbellsville is no different than any surrounding communities, and he said other cities deal with the same issues. 

“We are no different than surrounding counties around us,” Young said. “I promise you. Go look at their parks, go look at their manholes, they are overflowing folks.” 

 

Campbellsville Sports Complex

Young said building the sports complex off Highway 55 near Wings, Pizza, N Things will be expensive, but said that much of the work will be done by city employees. 

“It’ll be done with our own equipment and our own personnel,” Young said. “We’ve got some smart, good people. We may not be the fastest, but we are going to get it fixed.” 

Young said it could take a little while to get the project completed because the city has several other projects it is working on, but said it will eventually get done. 

 

City Roads

Young said he often hears complaints about potholes at businesses, such as restaurants or shopping centers, and said the city isn’t able to repair those potholes. 

“I can’t blacktop a private property where a lot of these places are,” Young said. “But I can blacktop a city street… We are doing our best. We have bought our own equipment… We get about $180,000 a year from the state for road paving.”

Young asked County Judge-Executive Eddie Rogers how much paving that money will pay for, to which Rogers said “about two miles.” 

“We have to do what we can with what we have,” Young said. 

 

City Budget

One of the biggest issues facing the city budget is the increase in pension contributions to the state’s retirement system. 

The city will incur an additional expense of $160,000 in pension contributions next fiscal year, and will incur a 12 percent increase in pension contributions each year. Young said at a recent council meeting that without the bill passed by the legislature to phase-in those pension contributions from city governments, among other government entities, the city would have had to contribute roughly $600,000 or more next fiscal year, which he said would have been disastrous for the city financially. 

Next fiscal year, the city will pay around $1.3 million in pension contributions. 

“I don’t know what happened with the state,” Young said. “I know they robbed Peter to pay Paul, but I don’t know how we got involved with it. We participate though, so we have to pay the tab.” 

 

Other Chamber Notes: 

• The Chamber Luncheon was sponsored by the Campbellsville Fourth of July Committee. Chairman Allen Gaddis briefly spoke to invite everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities, which begin next Friday, June 29. 

• The next Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon will be July 12. A location and speaker have not yet been announced.