In March 26 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The facility director of Russell County High School's new auditorium and natatorium gave an overview of the big building and told city council members of its fiscal importance to Jamestown, Russell Springs and Russell County at last Thursday's regular monthly meeting of the Jamestown City Council.
"The auditorium will house 734 people at one time and have a state-of-the-art sound system," said Susan Melton, the new facility's director.
The big building, located on the high school campus, is a "multipurpose" facility which will give Russell County a "step up" on surrounding counties, according to Jamestown Mayor Brooks Bates.
Melton told the council that, besides the auditorium, the huge building houses eight classrooms for high and middle school students to obtain college credit hours, a large, multipurpose conference room, an exercise room available to the public, an indoor swimming pool and a large foyer that houses 200 people.
"It is limitless as to what we can do with this facility," Melton said. "We want it to be viable for both Russell Springs and Jamestown economically."
Melton said several companies and businesses have already contacted the school board about renting the facility for meetings, trainings and conferences.
She said the building should help local businesses, restaurants and motels once it opens for public and corporate use. The auditorium and natatorium is currently on target for a May opening.
In other happenings at the meeting:
• Any new police hires made by the city will be non-hazardous after city council members unanimously voted to halt hazardous duty retirement through the state's retirement system. According to the mayor, current city police officers will not be affected by the decision.
Bates said that future hires in the department would be eligible for non-hazardous duty retirement. This costs the city less financially, but requires at least seven more years of service from the officer.
Jamestown has been providing hazardous duty retirement for the police department for six years.
When the city began providing hazardous pay, the rate paid by the city was at 18.5 percent, Bates said. This year the rate is now at 29.5 percent.
Bates read projections that said the cost would increase dramatically, up to 48.3 percent in 2018, over the next decade as result of Kentucky completely changing its retirement system.
The mayor called the situation "self evident" as to what the city should do.
o City leaders voted to amend the city's budget by $7,000 to pay for recent land surveys at the city's industrial park in order to get an updated and specific boundary.
The mayor said a survey of this type had not been completed for some time and the city needed to know exact boundaries for prospective businesses.
Bates said he had recently spoken to one "prospective company" that is wanting to build in the park and that this issue needed to be resolved to help with landing future businesses.
o Bates said the state's tap ban on installing new water taps has been lifted paving the way for the new water treatment plant to produce 4.6 million gallons of water each day.
The plant currently produces around 3.2 million gallons of water each day. Bates said the move should significantly help as several neighborhoods and businesses were wanting water access.
o The council adopted a red flag policy under municipal order. The policy has been mandated by the Federal Trade Commission and will better train the city's staff on how to better safeguard their customer's identity's to prevent fraud or identity theft.
o The mayor said that the city will be holding an open house at the new Jamestown City Hall on Friday, April 3 from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.
o Mayor Bates gave a health update on Public Works Director Ottis Skaggs, whose had some health problems over the last month. Bates said Skaggs had had surgery for blood clots in his leg recently and is currently undergoing rehabilitation.
The mayor said Skaggs "had a close call" and that the thoughts and prayers of the council were with him. Skaggs is expected to return to work full-time once his rehab has ended, according to the Bates.