In March 19 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
In an effort to lure more businesses to the downtown area, the Russell Springs City Council approved a measure supported by Mayor Hollis DeHart to offer two-year city property tax breaks to any business that chooses to locate to Main St. at last Thursday’s regular monthly meeting.
“I am absolutely convinced that we can once again do things on Main St. that can have a positive impact on the town,” DeHart said. “If we want growth we have to be business friendly.”
The city recently began a downtown beautification project with decorative street lights along north Main St., underground electrical wiring and newly paved sidewalks.
DeHart said the renovation projects would allow the city to hold several more community events in downtown Russell Springs when completed.
“What we’re after here is a revitalization of downtown,” the mayor said. “This is the area that we’re concentrating on at this point in time.”
A main reason for the new lighting is to change the aesthetics of the street and rearrange the electric lines for optimum use as well as putting new electric plugs beside each new pole.
The city uses the plugs for Christmas decoration hookups and other things throughout the year, according to city officials.
The current plugs have been in use since the 1920’s and are becoming dangerous to use as many old wires are now exposed.
The lights will extend from the stoplight on the northern side of Main St. just beyond Pickett’s Shoe Store, the mayor said.
“The fellas that’s been doing this job downtown have really been doing a terrific job,” DeHart said. “I’m really proud of them.”
In other happenings at the meeting:
• Following the second reading of ordinance 2009-02, Councilman Ray Barrett Ray Barrett was given the distinction of mayor pro-tem and will serve as mayor if Mayor Hollis DeHart is ever absent from the council or unable to fulfill his duties for some reason.
• The city’s leaders voted to change Ordinance 2009-01, an ordinance updating police policies and procedures, which was to have had its second reading at the meeting, to a municipal order under the advice of the city’s human resource officer, Paul Combs.
A municipal order, which does not have to be locally published, would allow the city to update the policies and procedures as needed without having to wait to amend an ordinance, if so warranted, according to the mayor.
• The city entered into a yearly agreement with Vortex Wireless of Russell County to install an antenna on one of the city’s water towers in exchange for free wireless Internet service for some of the city’s computers, mostly in the water and sewer department.
Mayor DeHart, who supported the agreement, said the move would save the city a substantial amount of money.
• The city council was informed that an area around Foley Rd., Delphia St., Old Dunnville Rd. and Campground Rd., an area with around 65-70 property owners, needed to be reannexed into the city to correct mistakes in regards to property tax payments and to correct annexation inconsistencies.
DeHart said the first annexation of this area, which occurred before he and the current council took office, was never received by the secretary of state’s office and the mistake was just recently discovered.
• Council members approved a measure to provide accidental injury insurance through Monumental for the Russell County Volunteer Fire Department at a rate of $112 per fireman, per year.
City Clerk Wendy Burton said this was one of the only things the city does for its fire department.
The city has went this route for the firefighters’ insurance the last five years or so, according to Burton.
• The city entered into a contract with Councilman David Blakey, who is also a machinist, to do work for the city at his regular rate.
The move, which is legal, is not an exclusive contract, rather just allows the city to remain receiving Blakey’s services if they so choose at regular rates, according to the mayor.