By PJ Martin
Office/News Reporter, Metcalfe Division
The Edmonton-Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce held its first Chamber Breakfast of 2019 on Tuesday with President Torrie Osbon welcoming a sold-out crowd to the event.
The Metcalfe County Public Library was presented the Business of the Quarter award. “It is a fitting tribute that we honor our public library today,” proclaimed Osbon who added that coincidentally it was also National Library Workers Day.
Director Rhonda Glass accepted saying, “We are honored to be the business of the quarter. We are in the business of books but so much more with our digital services now.” Glass along with the library staff also announced that in the coming weeks there will be a new outreach bookmobile begin service.
The breakfast was sponsored by Tri-County Electric Coop and Executive Vice-President and General Manager Paul Thompson spoke briefly about the area of approximately 53,000 members. This year’s annual meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2nd at the Metcalfe County Middle School at 5:30 p.m. and will celebrate their 83rd year.
Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles spoke of Kentucky’s strong farm economy. “We have 76,000 farms, almost all of them owned and operated by families.” Noting that, “We just got Kentucky beef into 85 Kroger stores across our state, so that’s 300,000 lbs. of KY Proud ground beef.”
Quarles also discussed his work on House Bill 311 which aims to amend Kentucky Revised Statute 217.035 that deals with food labeling. The bill is needed to guarantee that the new lab produced ‘fake meat’ is not labeled and market the same as Kentucky-raised beef.
The state of the commonwealth was presented by Senator David Givens who talked about a key piece of legislation he has been working on Senate Bill 175 which specifically addresses how we hold schools accountable and targets support of the school systems.
Another piece of legislation that Givens says he is proud to be part of is using economic development incentives to keep farms as farms. “I was able to attach an amendment that basically will let a farmer who is older and retiring and wishes to sell that farm; if he or she sells that farm to a young farmer coming into agriculture there can be some capital gains tax offset. So there is an incentive there for a farmer to transition that farm to stay in agriculture. Potentially avoiding some developments and subdivisions.”
Next, Representative Bart Rowland stated that, “Even though it was a short session in the House, there were over 500 bills filed. To be exact, I believe the number was 525.” He noted that the Senate filed around 264 bills equaling almost 800 bills in a 30-day window. He pointed out that about 20% of those bills make it all the way to become law.
“House and Senate priorities, I think for this session, were aligned.” Noting that HB 1 and SB 1 were filed as the exact same piece of legislation, the school safety bill. Also, the House and Senate together passed four pro-life pieces of legislation, “Making Kentucky one of the strongest states for pro-life legislation in the country.”
Mayor Doug Smith updated those in attendance on the projects currently in process for the City of Edmonton. A new water project is awaiting approval from the state and construction is expected this fall. The Edmonton Memorial Park is getting a new pavilion next to the concession stand. Smith also noted the changed in ABC regulatory fees at the state level, “The city will begin to collect some much-needed revenue for the police department.”
Smith stated that, “The Edmonton Metcalfe County Industrial Authority has been in strong negotiations with a prospective company.” Also, a downtown project committee has been created.
Judge/Executive Harold Stilts then presented updates for the county. “As Mayor Smith made mention, working with the Industrial Board to attract interest to our Southside Industrial Park, we are looking forward to getting that taken care of in the next few months and make some new jobs.”
“We hired a new Road Supervisor that is on board taking care of a lot on the county road systems and the infrastructure,” adding that many bridges, tiles, coverts, and roads were washed out with the recent flooding.
The county has been working with the Metcalfe County Historical Society allowing the historic courthouse courtroom to display historical artifacts during the summer. The county is also working with members of the shooting clubs and others to repair and revitalize the Metcalfe County Lake and Park.
Lastly, Superintendent Dr. Benny Lile spoke of the current projects in the Metcalfe County School System. Speaking about the Work Study Program, “We have probably half of our senior class is either out at work study or dual credit off campus right now as we speak.”
“We are hoping that the board will approve our HVAC Project for our high school. It’s 25 years old and to my understanding, there has really not been a major renovation take place during that time.”
Lile also stated that the end of a two-year project to complete the Community Health and Wellness Center Proposal Grant may occur soon and that additional SRO officers have been added and the school will soon have its own police department.
All the guest speakers thanked the Chamber for allowing them to speak on behalf of their groups and as with previous Chamber Breakfasts, Diane’s Cakes and Catering served a delicious breakfast and door prizes were given away.