After a long wait, the city of Providence will soon resume the process of demolishing derelict houses around town.

Mayor Doug Hammers informed the council that he recommended a bid to raze four houses within the city limits be awarded to Ware Trucking. Those houses include 113 North Rosemont, 520 Highland Avenue, 808 Olive Street and 308 North Broadway.

Ware Trucking will demolish the structures for $600 each. Work can begin as soon as Ware is ready to proceed.

Hammers said that he wanted to thank company owner Doyle Ware for being willing to do the job cheap.

"There is no way he can make a profit at that price," he said. "He's doing it for the city of Providence."

Providence officials announced on Monday night that they would be looking into the process of legalizing the use of golf carts and possibly UTVs on city streets. Despite golf carts regularly being used on those streets now, in the state of Kentucky such unregulated usage is illegal.

In order to be used on public streets, golf carts are required to meet certain specifications set by state regulations. Carts may not operate at more than 35 mph, cannot carry more than six passengers and have a maximum weight of 2,500 pounds.

Those carts must also have a locally issued permit sticker and must be inspected by the sheriff to insure that they are street legal, which means they must have working turn signals and break lights. They must also be insured in the event that they are involved in an accident, and can only be operated by a licensed driver.

see bids/page A5

"I've worked two accidents involving golf carts," said police chief Todd Jones. "Both were being operated by juveniles. Neither was insured."

Under state law, golf carts that pass all of those requirements are still only eligible to drive on city streets with a speed limit of 35 or below. Although they are allowed to cross state highways, they are not allowed to drive on them at all. That means golf carts cannot be driven on Broadway, which currently sees some of the heaviest golf cart traffic in town, regardless of whether or not the city legalizes them.

City officials warn that if they do legalize golf carts, they will enforce the law.

"If you violate the law, you will be penalized," said councilman Keith Farrell."I can almost guarantee you that if this passes, you will have a lot of people who will think they can get away with it."

Mayor Doug Hammers and city attorney Ben Leonard said that they are familiar with the state law on golf carts, but finding any law that permits UTVs and ATVs on the street has been harder.

In other business, Malcolm Mack Neal with the Alexander, Thompson and Arnold CPA firm presented the city with the audit of its 2016-2017 accounts. Normally done annually, the city has been behind on its audit reports for several years. This most recent audit leaves the city just one audit behind, and officials hope to have that completed by the end of the year.

"We have to have our audits up-to-date in order to apply for grants," said Hammers. "We met with our engineering firm, HMB, and the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority last week in Frankfort to discuss the sewer project. To get that project funded we have to get our audits done."

The entire project is expected to cost around $14.5 million, most of which the city hopes to acquire through grants.

Neal told the city that for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the city had total assets of $9.6 million. During that year, the largest expense to the city was the County Employees Retirement System (CERS).

Neal said the city's financial status had shown clear improvement during the seven or eight years he has been handling their accounts.

Following the audit report, council members heard from Krystal Gibson, the director of the Providence Municipal Golf and Recreation Center (PMGRC). She told the council that the facility's current golf carts are outside of the original contracted term and desperately in need of replacement.

"We have a lot that are starting to go down," she told the council, stating that ten of them are currently inoperable due to battery issues.

The cost of replacing the batteries is around $1,000 per cart, or $10,000 for all of the currently inoperable units.

Gibson said she had been talking to the company that supplies the facilities carts, and they had told her that currently Providence and one other city are the only golf courses left in the state using battery powered carts. The company's representative has suggested switching to gasoline powered units.

Gibson wants to do just that. She presented the council with a proposal to lease new carts on a 62 month contract that will cost the city $22,000 per year.

Mayor Hammers reported that due to Kentucky law, because the lease price and length surpasses a total of $30,000, the city would need to bid the carts out.

Several council members questioned the move from electric to gas. As the city owns the local electric utility, there is no cost to the city to charge those electric powered carts. The city would be responsible for paying for gasoline.

In other business, Hammers and a number of council members wanted to tell the public that city officials were not the ones to select Old Madisonville Road to be the recipient of $73,000 in paving funds from the state.

"It was not the city's decision," Hammers stated. "The state selected the road to receive those funds."

Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or matt@journalenterprise.com.