Jan. 23, 2013 —
Last Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Olive Hill City Council was highlighted by spirited discussion concerning the fate of the airport and the ongoing controversy regarding utility rates.
Council member Glenn Meade, in his first meeting since being elected, introduced two municipal orders that received substantial debate, but ultimately did not result in any action.
The first municipal order would have instructed the mayor not to sign any paperwork decommissioning the airport until Meade had the opportunity to thoroughly research its viability as a general aviation facility.
Meade asserted that such a facility would be a boom for the city’s economic development efforts.
“If we don’t have an airport, we are economically stunting ourselves,” said Meade. Though the municipal order was not acted upon, the Council agreed to revisit the issue at next month’s Council meeting, and Mayor Kenny Fankell stated he would take no action regarding decommissioning the facility until then. Meade also introduced a municipal order that would have frozen the current utility rates and also would have expressly forbidden any city or utility employee from modifying those rates until the Council could draft new utility ordinances. Citing the most recent correspondence from the Attorney General’s Office of Rate Intervention, which determined that previous rate increases have been implemented illegally, Meade strongly argued that freezing the rates would be the proper course of action.
Council member Jerry Callihan dis- agreed, pointing out that Council members had yet to even receive the letter to review, even though it had been received at City Hall a day before the meeting.
“I know that you’re trying to do what’s right, but I also know this town. If you freeze things, you are going to send people into a panic,” Callihan said. The Council took no action, but agreed to have a special meeting solely dedicated to examining all issues surrounding the utilities and to draft an action plan.
That special meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 28, at the Olive Hill senior center.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.