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Clay passes first reading of alcohol law
  • Updated

In a meeting devoid of any residents, Clay City Council last Tuesday approved the first reading of the alcohol ordinance that will govern sales within the city limits.

A near 2-to-1 vote on the May 17 primary found citizens of the town in favor of alcohol sales. The measure won approval 137-75. The council used the ordinance template provided by the Kentucky League of Cities, the same as Providence and Sebree. Those two municipalities voted in alcohol sales during the 2018 general election. Clay’s version, if the initial draft stands, will see little change from the generic KLC law.’

The city will collect a regulatory fee of five% of gross sales of all types, from package liquor, by-the-drink, and beer. A total of 23 license types will be offered, ranging from $100 for a temporary auction sales license, to $3,000 for wholesale. Retail sales range from $1,000 to $2,000, while restaurant sales will be licensed at $1,200.

The only license type the city struck from the available options was that for “rolling bars,” which are pedaled along city streets by the driver and customers. They are commonly found in larger cities like Nashville and Louisville.

The city appointed Police Chief Shane Moore as the first administrator and City Clerk Christy Freeman as the administrative assistant. Moore will conduct the field work for licensing, while Freeman will execute all paperwork.

The second reading of the ordinance will be voted upon during the council’s next meeting July 12 at 6 p.m.

The council also approved the budget for fiscal year 2022-23, with all funds totaling $1,655,320 in estimated revenue.

The largest portion of the budget is the utility fund, which makes up approximately half of all estimated income at $860,500. The next largest is the general fund at $385,000, and American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) at $202,270. Tourism is estimated to bring in $90,800.

The council also approved the compensation ordinance for city employees.

A maximum amount of $45,000 for a 2022 Dodge Charger police cruiser and police equipment was approved, with the purchase to be made from Glen’s Freedom Dodge-Chrysler in Lexington. The dealership owns the state contract for police cruisers. This allows the city to buy the vehicle without advertising for bids.

The cost includes the cruiser and $10,000 for a cage and other necessities.

A footbridge over a drainage ditch that runs between properties on Clark Street will be removed after property owners made the request. One of the property owners told Mayor Jackie Edens there has been an increasing amount of traffic after midnight in the area, and the bridge is making it easier for people to use private property for travel.

Storm tears through Providence
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An early morning storm Friday left damage and lost power in its wake in Providence.

The high winds wreaked the most havoc on the south side of KY 120, with some downed limbs and power lines in the Baptist Street area as well. Some streets in the Westerfield Park section of town were completely blocked for several hours after the storm moved through. Mayor Doug Hammers reported the city’s utility offices received approximately 80 phone calls reporting power outages. “But that does not reflect the total number,” he added.

Providence public works crews were out working soon after the storm struck at approximately 7:45 a.m., and some residents were out pulling fallen limbs from their yards. Several large trees were uprooted by the wind gusts.

The National Weather Service office in Paducah reported wind gusts of 40 to 60 miles per hour were common in the line of storms that made their way through western Kentucky that morning. The highest speed was 65 reported in Evansville by a trained spotter, according to a report on the office’s website.

The mesonet station at Baker Park in Dixon recorded a high wind speed of 35 miles per hour at the time of the Providence storm. It is highly likely the wind speeds on the southern end of the county were much higher.

Cell phone reception was also affected by the storm. Several residents could be seen gathered in a handful of locations around the southern end of KY 109 with their phones. Some were holding their devices up in an attempt to get a signal.

Five Spectrum service vehicles made their way into town close to 1 p.m. to restore internet service.

According to the city, power to all residents was restored by early evening on Saturday. Large limbs and trees on top of lines, and damaged utility poles made slow going of the work to get the lights back on.

Kenergy reported approximately 350 customers out in Webster County. In total, the electric provider worked 59 outage locations across 12 counties, affecting nearly 5,800 customers.

The Paducah NWS office reported the long line of storms began in Nebraska late Thursday night. The line traveled more than 1,000 miles over a 21-hour period.

Lions Club loses oldest member
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The oldest member of Webster County Lions Club passed away at the Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson on June 6, the 78th anniversary of D-Day.

A World War II veteran, Dudley Riley, 99, served in the U.S. Army and was part of the force that stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944. He was a former prisoner of war who escaped from the German POW camp where he was being held.

The Dawson Springs native served as the American Former Prisoners of War president for several years upon returning home from the war.

His post-war life was spent as a Veterans Association hospital administrator at several locations, including the VA installation at Outwood in Dawson Springs.

A bridge near his hometown on KY 109 was named in his honor during his lifetime.

The Purple Heart recipient was also a published author, having penned the book entitled Farm Boy, Soldier, Daddy.

Funeral services on June 11 included full military rites and was attended by numerous local dignitaries.

Providence council concerned with nuisance properties
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Nuisance properties in Providence are getting increasing attention as the city is addressing several that present significant hazards.

The council heard from code enforcement officer Rick Mills during Monday’s regular meeting. He shared a list of addresses from around town whose owners received letters of notification over the past few months.

“Violations will go out next,” Mills said.

The officer said some owners had been difficult to track down, and a couple he had reached asked what it would take for them to abandon the property to the city.

Council member Shannon Layton, who moderated the meeting in the absence of Mayor Doug Hammers, said she would like to have more information brought to the council about the properties and the process of taking them over.

The lots in question have structures on them, but Mills said one is clearly a public nuisance. He added that kids have been seen entering the house, and that it presented a safety hazard.

Police Chief Todd Jones said the basement of the structure was filled with water, and that the floors were rotted. One section near a window had already fallen away, he said.

Mills informed the council they had the legal right to raise tax rates on nuisance properties that were not maintained. Those funds could then be used to pay for work on other abandoned properties.

The presentation was the first in a series of updates scheduled by Council member Keith Farrell. He said he had created a rotation of appearances of Mills and representatives from the planning, zoning, and tourism boards.

“They may not have any updates, but that gives us a chance to ask questions,” he said.

The updates are set for the first meeting of each month, with one board represented each meeting.

The council also heard a public appeal concerning street lights in the Hudson Meadows subdivision. Residents there have reported that the area is very dark at night, and they have trouble seeing neighboring houses.

Public Works Director Jack Snyder said the same issue was brought up a number of years ago, but the solution to the problem proved to be too expensive. Snyder said the power lines for the lights would have been buried and run to light poles along the street.

Layton asked Snyder to put together cost estimates for new lights with the power lines buried and with lines running from the tops of the light poles.

The council heard second readings of ordinances 2022-04 and 2022-05, both of which were approved.

The first ordinance is a budget amendment for the 2021-22 spending measure that adds $388,309.03 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the city’s current revenue. It brought that portion of this fiscal year’s budget to $8,154,793.03. With just eight days remaining until the beginning of fiscal year 2023, the funds will be left in reserve.

The second ordinance set the new budget at $8.152,047 for 2022-23. The largest fund in the measure is the utility line at $4,888,516, with the general fund next at $2,967,404.