In Feb. 19 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The Russell Springs City Council donated $1,250 to the Russell County Baseball Boosters at their regular monthly meeting last Thursday and agreed to give that amount again after June 30 if the city's budget can take the hit.
The money will go toward improving the facilities at the Laker baseball field in hopes of bringing the Ohio Valley Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament, and the possibility of teams from eight to 10 states, to the county this summer, according to Laker Baseball Booster President Darrell Selby, an agriculture teacher at Russell County High School.
In return for the monetary donations, Selby said Laker baseball players as well as his agriculture shop students would work on improvement projects at the Russell Springs City Park in the coming months.
Councilman David Blakey, himself a longtime supporter of the Laker baseball program, first brought up the idea for work on the improvement projects after, initially, being against the booster donation.
Blakey said he wanted to make sure the city's taxpayers would be receiving something in return for the city's donation.
Selby told the council that a total cost for the improvement projects is around the $5,000 mark. The baseball field renovation, which is ongoing, is to improve the field for baseball season and the district baseball tournament in May as well as the aforementioned Babe Ruth tournament possibility.
Selby told the council that the city would make all the money back through the sales of gas, food and motel rooms if the county received the opportunity to host the Babe Ruth tournament.
Councilman Ray Barrett made the initial motion for the possible $2,500 donation and it was passed unanimously.
In other happenings at the meeting:
• The council had a short discussion on whether or not to continue a citywide unloading license fee and delayed a first reading of an ordinance levying such a fee for at least one month.
According Mayor Hollis DeHart, Russell Springs charges companies making deliveries inside city limits $50 a year for an unloading license, a number Councilman David Blakey said he thought was too low.
"It is difficult to administer," DeHart said of the fee. "There's no doubt about that."
The mayor did say the license fee does put some extra money into the city's coffers and that most cities do have such a fee.
The council took no action on the matter and will be discussed again at meetings in the coming months.
• DeHart told the council he had put in an application for a grant through the Southeast Kentucky Tourist Commission that would allow the city to receive funding for several downtown revitalization projects.
"I think that grant looks good right now," he said.
The mayor also said he had applied for another grant through area development funds for a new $4,000 double-faced street clock that would eventually be placed on Main St. in Russell Springs.
"It is a really nice piece of equipment," he said.
• The city's leaders heard the first reading of an ordinance that makes Councilman Ray Barrett Mayor Pro Tem in the absence of Mayor DeHart.
Barrett was selected to the position by the council at the January meeting. He will officially take over the position after the ordinance's second reading at the March regular monthly meeting.
• Mayor DeHart announced the second reading of an ordinance updating the police department personnel policies and procedures would be delayed until at least next month. The mayor cited "an error or two" in the ordinance that needs to be corrected before the ordinance is given a second reading.
• Terry Russell was unanimously reappointed to the gas board by members of the council.
• The mayor also presented the council with a rough floor plan to the proposed Russell County Jail.