In Jan. 15 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Last Thursday, the new Russell Springs City Council held its first meeting of the year, a short, to-the-point meeting that lasted just 15 minutes.
New council members Ricky Barnes, David C. Blakey, Lisa Mann and Eric Selby joined commission holdovers Ray Barrett and Timmy Hudson as the city’s legislature.
The former city commission, which had been in control for more than 15 years, was voted out as the type of leadership that Russell Springs citizens wanted last November and replaced by the council form of government.
Mayor Hollis DeHart welcomed the new council and spoke to them a few minutes about their new capacities.
“This is not an easy job sometimes,” DeHart said. “So many times things are not white or black but rather varying shades of gray.”
The mayor told the council that he looked forward to working with them for the next two years, but that there would be tough times ahead.
“I fear that over the next couple of year we’re going to face some really tough economic decisions in this term of the council,” he said.
“We’ll serve our Lord by serving our people and we’ll place problems in hands greater than ours.”
In other happenings at the meeting:
• Ray Barrett was selected by his fellow council to be the Mayor Pro Tem for the calendar year 2009 in the event of the absence of Mayor DeHart. Barrett was nominated by Councilman Timmy Hudson.
Eric Selby was also nominated for the position but declined the offer as he said he had already served in the position on a previous city commission.
The decision will have to be put into the form of an ordinance, read twice and voted on and published in this newspaper before it takes affect later this year.
• The mayor said he would soon apply for money to help with improvements at the Russell Springs City Park and its picnic area, which he said was in bad shape, and to help build a public restroom facility there. The application was read in the form of a resolution and is further pending until the money to do so is solidified.
• Mayor DeHart reminded the council that if they were planning to attend the public official’s academy this week they needed to be sure and pick up their law books. The academy is sponsored by the Kentucky League of Cities.
• DeHart also said the city had been working on a new policies and procedures manual for the city’s police department in cooperation with the Kentucky League of Cities.
The mayor said the document was quite lengthy and that a copy of the document would be e-mailed to the council so that next month the council could discuss the pros and cons of the manual.
• The mayor also reminded the council that if they ever wanted something on the agenda for a regular monthly meeting, to call ahead several days in advance so that it would be ensured a spot on the month’s agenda.
• The council approved the previous meetings’ minutes and voted to approve the payment of the city’s bills.