Chillicothe City Council members on Monday moved ahead with the approval of documents related to the city’s application for demolition grant funds.
The city is applying for a grant to help raze dozens of dilapidated and vacant residential structures. On Monday, the council approved several measures related to the project, contingent upon grant approval. If approved, the city would contract with Green Hills Regional Planning Commission, of Trenton, to serve as the grant administrator. The city would also contract with Linville Inspection Services, of Richmond, to provide asbestos inspections, and with Allstate Environmental, LLC, of Kansas City, to provide asbestos abatement services. In relation to the project, the city also committed, contingent upon grant approval, $38,839 in cash, and $46,116 of in-kind services.
This matter was discussed during the council’s regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall. During the meeting, city officials also reviewed an Employee of the Year policy proposal, and discussed the future of money accumulated in the Friends of Golf Course Fund. Council members also discussed selling city property and tabled discussions regarding the Festival of Lights archway in Simpson Park.
The council, on Monday, also toured Chilli Bay Water Park, and approved the purchase of a new fire rescue truck (see Tuesday’s Constitution-Tribune).
City Administrator Ike Holland proposed a resolution on Monday adopting an employee of the year policy for the city of Chillicothe. He explained that its purpose is to establish a program of recognizing employees who have made substantial contributions to their departments or who have otherwise contributed or performed in a manner which will reflect favorably on the individual and the city of Chillicothe. Additionally, the administrator said, the program would show the appreciation as an organization that seeks to recognize exceptional performance or an accomplishment worthy of merit.
“I want [employees] to know that we care about them and want them to perform at the highest levels,” he said.
According to the proposal, the employee of the year would be presented a certificate of appreciation, a $1,000 check, a family pass to Chilli Bay Water Park, and would receive two working days off with pay. The second and third place nominees would receive a certificate, $100 each, and one working day off with pay.
The council seemed to be in favor of the proposal; however, at the recommendation of Robert Cowherd, the city’s contracted attorney, legal concerns about the policy’s wording need to be resolved before a vote. The policy would need to be written so that it is not considered a bonus for past performance.
The city administrator on Monday also led discussion regarding the Friends of Golf Course organization and the funds — approximately $20,000 — in its coffers. The organization was formed in the 1990s to raise money for improvements at Green Hills Golf Course, such as concrete cart paths, bathrooms, and a bridge. The organization, however, has not been active and there appeared to be no interest in restarting the organization.
Page 2 of 2 - Holland asked for the council’s blessing to not pursue restarting the group, but still have the Friends of the Golf Course funds set aside for the sole purpose of special projects at the golf course and not operational expenses. He said the Friends of the Golf Course tournaments would continue and funds generated through those tournaments would remain separate from the golf course’s operational expenses. Council members gave a concensus approving Holland’s requests.
Council members were poised to discuss the future of the Festival of Lights archway at Simpson Park, but tabled discussions stating that they wanted to hear from the entire park board. Members of the Park Board suggested last year that the arch be removed when not in use for the Festival of Lights, citing that it was not intended to be a permanent structure in the park and that it does not fit with the park’s aesthetics. Additionally, a park board member had stated that complaints were made regarding the arch at times when the Festival of Lights is not taking place.
There currently are two openings on the five-member park board. Council members voted 4-1 to table further discussions regarding the arch, with Councilman-at-Large David Moore voting against delaying talks.
In other business, Administrator Holland led discussion regarding the sale of city property. Several of the parcels are empty lots where housing demolition had taken place. The administrator will discuss the issue at a later date and come back to the council with specific properties identified for possible sale.
The council on Monday also approved Mayor Chuck Haney’s recommendation to appoint Reed Dupy as the city’s representative on the Main Street Chillicothe Board of Directors.