In June 19-25 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
RUSSELL SPRINGS - Upon hearing the reading of a letter by City Attorney Matthew DeHart concerning the riding of all-terrain vehicles on city property, city leaders decided it best not lease property to citizens for ATV use during last Thursday's meeting of the Russell Springs City Commission.
At their previous monthly meeting, a noise complaint concerning ATVs prompted citizens from both sides to speak their minds at the meeting. Following their statements, Mayor Hollis DeHart said the ATV operators must obey the law and not ride their ATVs as to disturb those around them.
When approached about the possibility of leasing city land for ATV use, DeHart said he would look into it.
At Thursday's meeting, though, the ATV operators learned that they would not be allowed to lease property for riding.
"I first researched the Kentucky Revised Statutes and could find nothing that would specifically relieve the city of liability should an injury occur," DeHart wrote. He also wrote that if the city chose to lease the property standard landlord tenant liability would apply.
This would mean that the landlord, or city, would be liable for obvious defects in the property or any sort of wanton or grossly negligent behavior on the landlord's part, according to DeHart.
City Attorney DeHart recommended at least $500,000 in liability insurance and a clause in the lease requiring the tenants on the lease to indemnify and hold harmless the city for any damages the city might have due to the lease.
DeHart wrote that if the city leased land to private citizens and an accident were to occur, there is no doubt that the city would be named as a party to the likely litigation. In other happenings at the meeting
Wanda Miick with the Russell County Extension Office spoke to the commission on behalf of the Russell County Farmer's Market.
Miick said that the farmer's market had been in existence in this county for 25 years and has never had a permanent shelter from which to sell their produce.
Miick said the market, through the extension service, had the opportunity to apply for a state grant to get a building if they could find a location for it to be built.
The property that the city and the farmer's market seems to have agreed upon is nearby the new Senior Citizen's building in Middletown, if the farmer's market receives the grant. The grant application must be turned in by September, according to Miick. The commission said the issue would continue to be discussed in the coming weeks and taken up again at the next meeting.
The mayor said two or three city employees had yet to take their vacation time because of the demands put on them.
"On the first anniversary of the original employment date, the employee is credited with 40 hours of vacation time at full pay," he said. He said on the second through the ninth year, an employee is credited with 80 hours of vacation time with full pay. After the 10th year, an employee is credited with 120 hours vacation time at full pay, according to DeHart.
A city ordinance says that the employees must take their vacation times in the year following receiving it and any vacation days carried over to the next year must be made with prior approval.
The commission chose to pay double any affected employees that have yet to take their vacation on a one-time basis only. DeHart said from now on the employees must take their vacation time.
The council heard and accepted the second reading of ordinance 2008-03 amending the Kentucky Building Code to where all newly built residences inside the city limits must be inspected for hazards by a professional before being occupied. Mayor DeHart said he expected the Fiscal Court to do the same thing in a county-wide manner "pretty quick."
The city voted to move forward with the building of a new maintenance building at the Russell Springs City Park. DeHart said the building would house the park's landscaping equipment, such as tractors and the like.
Mayor DeHart appointed Roger Roy to the Ambulance Board. Roy's appointment was accepted by the commission.
Selby Asphalt Maintenance Inc. of Russell Springs was chosen by the city to make several repair jobs on city streets.
The commission voted to table a discussion regarding city employee health insurance for 2008-09 until their July meeting.
The commission heard the first readings of the amended budget ordinance, 2008-04, budget ordinance, 2008-05 and 2008-06
DeHart said for citizens to be expecting a large jump in trash collection fees. He noted he would speak on this issue in greater detail at a later meeting.
Parks Commissioner Ray Barrett announced that on June 21 there would be a night swim session, from 8 p.m. until midnight, at the Russell Springs city pool for people age 17-30. He also announced that there will be swim lessons at the pool on June 20 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on June 21 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The cost is $20 per child and $5 for each additional sibling.
Barrett also commended Russell Springs City Park security officer Jeremy Stearns for his "exemplary" job performance. He said no more vandalism had taken place at the park since he had been hired by the city.
The commission met in secret session for around 15 minutes, announcing the purpose concerned the purchase of property. Upon returning to regular session, DeHart announced that no action was taken.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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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.
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