Some fireworks at Russell Springs Commission meeting
In Mar. 20-26 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
RUSSELL SPRINGS - A heated, verbal exchange between Russell Springs Mayor Hollis DeHart and resident Lillard Pettyjohn highlighted Thursday's Russell Springs City Commission meeting.
Near the end of the meeting, DeHart asked if anyone in the audience wished to address the commission and Pettyjohn spoke up.
At first, he asked the commissioners to come up with some type of supervised recreational activities for city youth to participate in, such as a dance.
Then, after asking how the city's general fund works, Pettyjohn questioned Police Chief Joseph M. Irvin, asking him if he knew Martin Wesley, a state trooper, and asking him if he could remember a telephone call Irvin had with Wesley in February 2006.
DeHart told Pettyjohn that the questioning of Irvin was inappropriate and if anyone had complaints about the police they must first file a complaint with him to investigate.
"We're glad to work with you anytime," DeHart said. "But if there's questioning for the chief of police, I'll do it."
Pettyjohn said he had been threatened in the past by the police and DeHart said for him to prove it.
"We're getting tired of people coming in here and making all these wild threats and wild allegations," the mayor said.
After Pettyjohn began to read from the Bible, DeHart told him he was "finished." At that point, the commission went into executive session and Pettyjohn was asked to leave by Irvin. The commission remained in closed session for around 20 minutes and no action was taken upon returning to regular session.
In other happenings at the meeting—
• The commission accepted the second and final reading of ordinance 2008-02, an ordinance that adopted a fire protection and subscription system for areas adjacent to but outside the legal description of the Russell Springs city limits. The subscription service will take affect on July 1 of this year.
According to the ordinance, as a result of rising costs of fire department services, the city established a subscription fire service for areas outside of the city's limits.
The mayor said the Russell Springs Volunteer Fire Department will continue to respond to all fire calls in the Russell Springs area regardless of whether the caller is a member of the subscription service or not.
This system will operate on a voluntary basis for all homes and businesses outside the city's limits but still within the bounds of the department's services.
The homes of all volunteer firefighters are considered within the Russell Springs city limits, regardless of physical location.
Homes and businesses in the city's limits will not be responsible for these fire suppression charges and their insurance companies will be billed directly. If the insurance claim for fire suppression is denied, the home or business owner will not be billed.
The ordinance states that all homes and businesses outside the city limits that are subscribers will receive the same services as those inside the city and all fire calls will be honored.
The homes and businesses outside the city limits that aren't subscribers to the system will be billed directly for the fire department's services. That home or business owner is directly responsible for the payment.
• The commissioners agreed to buy a new warning siren advocated by Emergency Management Director and Russell Springs Fire Chief H.M. Bottom and Judge-Executive Mickey Garner. The commission only had several more days to purchase a new siren at a highly discounted price, according to Bottom.
Commissioner Richard Wooldridge, also a volunteer fireman, said the city could purchase a new warning siren for $7,800. A $5,000 option was available but had less features and couldn't be updated, if needed, in the future, Wooldridge explained. The $7,800 model was then chosen.
• Kenvie Reese was voted on by the commissioner to sweep the streets of the city using his street sweeping vehicle twice a month. Mayor DeHart said buying a street sweeper, even if used, would cost the city around $50,000. This move was also recommended by the Russell Springs Downtown Revitalization Committee, DeHart said.
• The commissioners voted that Brian Stephens become a full-time city employee. Stephens has worked part-time with the city for nearly two years.
• Mayor DeHart announced that the commission will hold a special called meeting on March 25 at 6 p.m.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629