In Dec. 16 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
Mayor Hollis DeHart recommended Steve Branscum for reappointment on the Russell County Industrial Development Authority at this month's Russell Springs City Council meeting.
"Steve Branscum has served on the Industrial Development Authority for the past several years," said Mayor DeHart. "He requests that his name be submitted again."
Branscum's appointment passed with a five to one vote.
Councilman Timmy Hudson cast the single no vote.
Hudson said from his own perspective as an auto repair businessman, it would be difficult for him to bring in other auto repair businesses to compete in Russell County.
"I'm not saying that Steve would try to keep any kind of industry out because he has business and industry but I just want to vote no," said Hudson.
"I don't have a thing against Steve Branscum," Hudson said. "As far as I know he's a great guy but it seems to me on the industrial board we need someone who doesn't have any interest in business around Russell County or Russell Springs."
Councilman Ray Barrett asked if there was a conflict with Branscum being on the industrial board and Mayor Dehart answered no.
"I have a hard time wondering why a person would want to be on an industrial park board if he didn't want to have some of control of what goes on in the county," said Barrett.
Mayor DeHart clarified his assessment of the need to appoint local business executives to the RCIDA.
"The industrial park board, in my opinion, does this county a great service," Mayor DeHart said. "They are men who have a solid financial background, they have a good business background, (and) they're capable people able to meet any industrialist that might come along."
He said many jobs in Russell County can be attributed to the work of the RCIDA.
"If you go into the business park or even someplace outside the business park, almost any industrial job, that job is here simply because of the industrial development authority," said Mayor DeHart. "They put a lot of work and a lot of time on it."
There was brief discussion regarding a meeting recently attended by council members at the Russell County Industrial Park and learning exactly what RCIDA does to bring industry into the county.
Some council members were impressed with the job being done while others wondered why there aren't more businesses established in Russell County.
"The economy is very difficult right now," said Mayor DeHart. "There are some industrial authorities that will go to an industry and say, 'Here is (the industrial park). It's yours. Just come on in and set up.' We can't do that out here because money is owed on it."
"These guys go to a bank to borrow money, $10 - $15 million, it's just not any Tom, Dick, or Harry that can go in the bank and put his name on a loan," said Mayor DeHart. "That's why generally speaking you have people on (the industrial development authority) that are able to do that."
For his exemplary dedication to economic and cultural development of the community and in particular his interest in the city park, Ray Barrett was presented a plaque recognizing him for his many years of service to the community including 7 years service on the city council.
"The performance of his duties and responsibilities as a member of the city council has been characterized by excellent, constructive contributions to the government of our community," said Mayor DeHart.
Barrett accepted the award expressing his gratitude and good wishes for the city's future.
"It's been an honor for me over the years to have served the citizens of Russell Springs on the city council," said Barrett. "I put my heart in what I've done over the years here and it means a lot to me that the city is going forward, progressing good. I know it's in good hands."
The council went into executive session to discuss proposed or pending litigation according to KRS 61.810(1)c. No action was taken.
In other business:
• Matt DeHart presented a summary of the November 18th planning and zoning board hearing and the zoning board's recommendation regarding changing property at 383 Steve Wariner Dr. from R2 to C1 zoning classification. The recommendation of the zoning commission was approved unanimously.
• A swearing in ceremony for councilman elect Eddie Thomas will be held at Russell Springs City Hall at 6 p.m. December 28.