Olive Hill City Council met last Tuesday with an agenda dominated by budget and other financial matters.

Council voted 4-2 not to pay about $29,000 to Stantec Consulting for work the company did on the recent hydrological study of Tygart's Creek, claiming the study provided no new or useful information.

Council approved $57,412.89 in expenses for the ongoing wastewater project and opted to table another pay request involving the pump station because Council members said they were unclear as to the nature of the invoices.

The second reading of the 2013-2014 annual budget ordinance for the city also was considered at the meeting.

A key element discussed was a budgeted transfer of $60,000 from the utility fund to the general fund, which the state auditor and attorney general say are illegal.

According to both state agencies, funds may be transferred from the utilities to the general fund if unexpected, excess profits are obtained. Those profits, however, cannot be explicitly budgeted.

“We just don't have enough revenue to run this city,” said Mayor Kenny Fankell.

Without the transfer, cuts to the budget will be necessary which some Council members fear could lead to a reduction in the city's workforce.

“If you do that, we'll have to cut employees,” said Council member Allen Stapleton.

Council agreed to hold a work session Tuesday night to address what cuts could be made to the budget.

The airport property again was a topic of heated discussion.

According to City Attorney George Hogg, the deed has an easement agreement attached that obligates the city to maintain the road to the property.

The agreement in question is an “in perpetuity” easement, which means that the agreement is endless and is not subject to termination.

“If you sell the property and the new owners don't maintain that agreement, the city could be liable. You don't want a lawsuit after it's sold,” said Hogg.

Rather than face the potential legal hassle of selling the property, Council voted 5-1 to keep the airport, with Glenn Meade the only dissenter.

The next regular meeting of Olive Hill City Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the Senior Community Center.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.

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