Commission passes resolutions opposing election bills, appropriating drug monies

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Winchester City Commission passed a pair of resolutions during its most recent meeting last Tuesday.

The first was a resolution opposing two senate bills that would city elections partisan was unanimously agreed upon.

House and Senate Bills 50, introduced in January at the Kentucky General Assembly in Frankfort, would require that local candidates such as mayors, council members, school board members, city commissioners, and more publicly declare party membership and undergo a primary election.

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Presently, these elections are non-partisan.

Several cities, from as far north as Alexandria and as far west as Owensboro, have opposed the proposed bills.

“Now, we are non-partisan. We represent all people regardless of party,” said Mayor JoEllen Reed. “We are opposing [the bills]…and it is greatly appreciated.”

As noted by Commissioner Shannon Cox, no action in Frankfort has taken place regarding these bills, and there’s a chance no such action takes place.

Also, another resolution was passed appropriating $200,000,  to community organizations that will go towards helping to eradicate public health concerns related to opioids.

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission is in charge of distributing funds designed to help end the opioid crisis.

Funds are allocated under the terms of House Bill 427, which distributes 50% to local government and 50% to state government.

The commission appropriated $75,000 to Clark County Community Services and another $124,000 to the Clark County Health Department.

Each will be used toward recovery service programs.

Clark County Public Health Director Becky Kissick, Clark County Community Services Housing Director Tish Shupe, and others were present.

“Thank you for what you’re doing for this community right now,” Mayor Reed said. “It’s a serious problem in our community right now. It’s an epidemic and we’re working hard to eradicate any and all that we can.”

In other news, Kevin Welsh – a Plant Manager at Danimer Scientific – was also present and spoke with the commission.

He was announced by Brad Sowden, Executive Director of the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Authority.

“You may not realize this, but the future of plastics is right here in Winchester, Kentucky,” said Sowden.

Danimer Scientific, as described by Welsh, is the only manufacturing facility in the world making biodegradable compostable PHA, or polyhydroxyalkanoates.

“When customers purchase that [final product] and make straws or water bottles or products that they make out of plastics, it makes their product biodegradable,” said Welsh.

For example, if a straw is accidentally dropped and left into the ocean, it will be gone entirely approximately 58 days later.

In turn, this will lessen the risk of causing harm to an animal and more.

Last year, Danimer Scientific finished a $135 million expansion and is still looking to complete another portion.

“You probably saw a lot of cranes out there,” Welsh said. “We’re excited [and] we’re working on expanding the process.”