City Commission discusses appropriations for upcoming budget

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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A heavier-than-typical rainfall wasn’t the only unusual occurrence noticed on Tuesday morning.

With many locations, including Winchester City Hall. being utilized as voting centers for Kentucky elections, the City Commission gathered in a conference room of the Central Bank & Trust building on North Maple Street for a special meeting and budget work session.

After reading departmental and agency reports, informational items, personnel orders  and more, a large portion of the meeting was devoted to a budget work session.

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As such, various financial matters related to the city got discussed.

However, monetary amounts still need to be officially decided upon, as this will occur in an upcoming meeting.

One of the organizations discussed was the Clark County GIS Consortium, with a proposed amount of $99,000.

“I think it’s very reasonable to give a plug to GIS. GIS is being utilized throughout the county for the purposes that we’re doing,” said City Manager Mike Flynn. “They’re very instrumental in every activity that we do whether it be police, fire, [or] 911. I know it seems like it’s a little expensive, but I’ll tell you, for the benefit that we get from GIS we are utilizing them greatly.”

Commissioner Kitty Strode also stated they were involved in maps for different events, including the Beer Cheese and Pioneer Festival.

However, Commissioner Shannon Cox somewhat disagreed.

“We don’t get $99,000 worth of benefit from them, 90% of what the city gets from them is available on a free app with Google Maps,” Cox said. “What we’re paying them $99,000 a year for, we can get…for less than $30,000.”

Another matter was a request for $5,000 from the Winchester-Clark County Farmers Market, which opened on Saturday, May 13.

“I think that the community as a whole, and this includes all governmental bodies, needs to be looking at phase two of what we do on Depot Street with regards to facilities and another small pavilion,” Flynn said. “I think that the city needs to support [the] Farmers Market. I think we have a lot of activities down there that people in our community like.”

Phase two would consist of building restrooms and other facilities, with the question of maintaining facilities still in mind.

Brian Sewell, Public Works Director for Winchester, was also present.

Sewell mentioned several items that the department is prioritizing, including funds for wall construction, a backhoe request and saving on state contract costs. He also mentioned purchasing a truck to replace an existing vehicle the department uses.

However, there was concern about its amount.

“You can’t buy a four-wheel drive pickup truck for $40,000,” Cox said.

Other topics at the meeting included the need for emergency services, the Bluegrass Area Development District and Regional Cable Commission.

Fifteen minutes before the meeting, George Rogers Clark High School cheerleaders were recognized at City Hall for becoming champions of the 10th Region Boys basketball in-game competition.

“We’re proud of you, and you’re ambassadors for this community,” Mayor JoEllen Reed said.