Berea Mayor Steve Connelly called upon the city council Tuesday to take a serious look at “how to fund services for a growing population in a sluggish economy.”
The city’s 2012-2013 budget reveals an “imbalance in fixed and flexible spending,” Connelly said. “If you subtract from available revenues the fixed costs for personnel, debt service and capital projects, the city has only $832,207 on which to operate. Over the next 12 months, I recommend that the council consider the city’s options. What services are essential? What costs can be reduced? What sources of revenue can be added or expanded?”
After a long discussion Tuesday, the council agreed to let the city’s audit and finance committee organize a budget strategic planning session to be conducted in the future.
Connelly gave an historical glance of how the city has been funded in the past.
“Over the last 122 years, Berea’s revenues have evolved into the fairly robust combination of diversified sources,” he said.
The city’s property tax ordinance was enacted in 1893, funding was received from parking meters from 1949 through 1992, sewer and garbage funds were implemented in 1940, a 1-percent occupational license fee was adopted in 1964 and a hotel/motel tax was passed in 1982.
A 2007 tax package included raising real property taxes from 3 cents to 10 cents; implementing a 6-percent insurance premium tax and implementing a 3-percent restaurant tax.
“Now is not too soon to begin considering these issues,” he said.
The city’s alcohol license ordinance, which had its first reading Tuesday, also could be a way to bring revenue to the city.
The council agreed on a $250 license fee for all historic businesses located in the East Berea Precinct.
A local option election was conducted April 3 where 204 voters came to the polls. Out of those voters, 147 people voted in favor of alcohol sales, while 57 voted against sales.
The referendum was conducted in accordance with a state law (KRS 242.1242) that allows drink sales in an establishment on a historic property with a restaurant that seats 50 or more and also provides overnight lodging.
Boone Tavern is the only business in the precinct that meets those criteria.
Alcohol sales at Boone Tavern can’t begin until the Berea College Board of Trustees votes to do so, which has yet to be done, according to Berea City Administrator Randy Stone.
The city’s passage of the ordinance was done so that in case the board votes to do so, they can begin selling alcohol immediately.
In other business:
• The council heard the first reading of an ordinance that, if passed, will annex 158 acres of land at 601 Slate Lick Road into city limits. The land is to be classified as single-family residential and agricultural.
The next meeting of the Berea City Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Berea Police and Municipal Building on Chestnut Street.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@
or 624-6608.Berea mayor asks council to consider future funding
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Exit 95 rebuild delayed until 2017
Originally scheduled for 2014, the reconstruction of Exit 95 on Interstate 75 won’t take place until 2017, Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark told a joint meeting of the Richmond and Berea chambers of commerce Friday.
The state Transportation Cabinet is delaying the project, Clark said, until a decision is made on the proposed highway that would run from Exit 95 to Nicholasville.
Toyota bornlearning Academy graduates parents
Seven graduates received their certificates Thursday night, but not with the customary rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
It was a celebration of the parents’ six-month journey with the Toyota bornlearning Academy at Berea Community School.
The academy works with parents and caregivers of children from prenatal to 5 years old on ways to turn everyday moments into learning opportunities.
Caudill Middle School student showcase
Members of the Caudil Middle School Jazz Band entertain the crowd during the school's end of year student showcase Thursday.
Man arrested Friday after early morning break-in
Richmond police made an arrest Friday in connection with an early morning break-in at Jack’s Cleaners on West Water Street.
Scott Hobbs, 42, of McKee, was charged with first-degree burglary, according to Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock
At 3:25 a.m., a witness reported seeing a man enter and exit the cleaners through a broken window and drive away, Brock stated in a news release.
Grand jury indicts inmates in jail assault
Two inmates at the Madison County Detention Center were indicted Wednesday on charges related to the beating of another prisoner.
A Madison grand jury indicted 28-year-old Justin Morgan Howell and 26-year-old Lucas Wayne Shanks on charges of second-degree assault, second-degree escape and second-degree persistent felony offenders.
The Incredible Child: Support group for parents of special-needs children meets Tuesday at library
Richmond now has a local chapter of The Incredible Child, a support group for families of children with all types of disabilities.
The group will host the family-friendly event “Read to Me” from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Madison County Public Library in Richmond.
Pets from the Madison County Animal Shelter
This week's cats are two playful and friendly 16-week-old kittens, according to their previous owner. This week's dog is 4-month-old Sally, a spayed Labrador and Jack Russell mix. She's a super sweet dog, according to her previous owners.
Environmental groups seek court review from cabinet order
A coalition of environmental groups has once again asked Franklin Circuit Court to help them in their long-running battle with the Cabinet for Energy and Environment and a coal company which violated provisions of the federal Clean Water Act.
Berea couple accused of chaining children into bedroom
A Berea couple was charged Wednesday after they admitted to using chains and ropes to lock four children into a room, according to Berea police.
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