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Finance Committee Property & Parking

Council members Freddie Norris, left, and Marlin Witcher, center, listen as Mayor Henry Royse addresses the finance committee on acquiring the property at 210-216 West Main Street, citing that the property cannot be accepted until all asbestos has been removed. Photo | Damon Stone

By Damon Stone
Freelance Reporter

The Finance Committee met on Tuesday, February 20, discussing several topics, including the acquisition of the property located at 210-216 West Main Street.

As part of the acquisition, the current owner, Glasgow Councilman Patrick Gaunce, agreed to pay for asbestos removal and Mayor Henry Royse confirmed that proof of the asbestos removal had been provided.

Royse further explained, “The owner of the property offered to gift the property to the city and the only thing he asked for in return was the receipt for the donation based on the value of the property.”

The property acquisition was expected for consideration in the January 8th Glasgow City Council meeting; however, Councilman Terry Bunnell, also chairman of the finance committee, motioned to send it back to the finance committee for more review.

At the mayor’s request, Jim McGowan, Superintendent of Public Works, shared details on the property. One primary concern surrounding the property was that of a wall that shows signs of deterioration, and that for the city to receive this, they would have to be willing to invest money into it, and to use taxpayer money in a way that benefits everyone.

McGowan said the wall directly behind the property is in “pretty decent shape right now,” but the adjacent wall behind the empty county lot is not. That wall, McGowan said, was “in really bad shape right now” and it would require perhaps a structural engineer to assess it.

He also said the public works department has the manpower and equipment to complete the demolition work on the property, which would take three to four weeks and a fuel cost being around $5,000 to $6,000, after the mayor inquired about the city being able to complete demolition of structures on the property.

In terms of environmental issues, McGowan stated that there were none, and that it was just construction debris being hauled off.

Gaunce asked to make a comment and said the possibility of acquisition was proposed by city and county officials for the property to be used as a pocket park.

“I didn’t approach the city; the city and the county approached me for that area for a pocket park,” Gaunce said. “I think there’s verbiage out there like I’m trying to put my trash on the city, but the city came and approached me if I’ve been willing. The city had a need, and honestly, I was just trying to be a good citizen.”

Later, a media representative asked Gaunce for clarification during the meeting on who specifically approached him when he said “the city and the county.”

Gaunce said April Russell, city administrator, had approached him after leaving a meeting with the current county judge/executive. When pressed further about who from the county approached him, Gaunce said Russell solely approached him about the property.

“The only person was April (Russell),” Gaunce said. “(Judge/Executive) Jamie (Byrd) was not present at that but she expressed to April, I took April at her word.”
It was voted to send the property acquisition back to the next city council for consideration, which is scheduled for February 26.

Discussion turned to the need for additional parking with the new judicial center project that is currently underway.

Kevin Myatt, Director of the Joint City-County Planning Commission, said the board of adjustments would meet to discuss variances pertaining to the judicial center including the need for additional parking at Ford Street and West Main.

“One of the variances is that of parking,” Myatt said, adding the required number of parking spots the judicial center requires is 185; however, he said an application for a variance to utilize the parking lot had been filed due to falling short of that number. According to Myatt, a provision has been in a city zoning ordinance for 20 years that says “if there’s an adjacent property within 400 feet, if there’s an agreement, they can utilize that property for additional parking.”

“The property adjacent to the one we’re speaking to is where our public parking is as well and the variance being sought is for the judicial building to be able to utilize that parking for overflow.”

According to the Jan. 25 application submitted by American Engineers, Inc. for the variance, the request was for a “reduction in parking requirements for office space from 1 per 300 which would require approximately 183 spaces to the proposed 169.”

The use of the property was discussed by the committee, with the adjacent parking lot being cited as having more uses, and could allow for access to maintain property.
Additionally, the committee discussed the city’s insurance premium taxes, which have not changed since 1966.

The current insurance premium tax is at 2%, with several cities in the area having much higher rates, such as Fountain Run with 5%, Edmonton and Scottsville with 7%, going as high as cities like Burkesville, Columbia, Greensburg, and Hodgenville having a 10% insurance premium tax.

The low tax could be a detriment to the city, so it was proposed in a two year plan to increase the rates to 5% across the board, followed by increasing it again in two years to 7%, generating an additional revenue of $200-250 thousand for the city.

The decision to increase the city’s insurance premium taxes will be made at the next city council meeting as well.

HDL Companies also shared their receipts, in that since February 2022, they have collected a total of $35,376.09, and that payments due to DataMax totaled around $16,804.09, having already been paid.

It was also stated that revenues and expenses were on track, and that there was a surplus in some areas for funding.

Additionally, the committee reported that the city has collected 95-96% on property tax, with the rest coming in.

The next finance committee meeting date is scheduled for March 19 at 5:30.

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