The Williamsburg City Council took the first steps during its monthly meeting Monday towards paying its part of a federally ordered recertification of the floodwall and levy that took place last year.
The council held the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $13,100 worth of revenue bonds, which covers the city’s 10 percent share of the project costs.
Revenue bonds are the government equivalent of a home mortgage and are used to finance various long-term projects, such as new buildings.
Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison said the that recertification was ordered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and he thinks it was prompted by the failure of the flood levies around New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.
Harrison said he and other city and state leaders plan to fight any future recertification requirements by FEMA because the floodwalls and levies are already inspected annually by the Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition, the Corps of Engineers does a major inspection of the floodwalls and levies every five years.
“The problem I have with it is it is mandated with no funding attached,” Harrison said.
The city had to work with state and federal officials to obtain funding to cover the remaining 90 percent of the project’s costs.
Harrison said the recertification inspection only turned up a couple of minor problems.
The city had to get some sandbags and there was a broken float in a pump, which the city was already aware of and planning to fix.
The council scheduled a special meeting for 2:30 p.m. on March 29 to hold the second and final reading of the ordinance.
In other business Monday, the council:
• Presented the deed to the old railroad depot to the Whitley County Historical and Genealogical Society, which houses a museum at the location. The city recently obtained the building through a land swap with the University of the Cumberlands and donated it to the historical society.
• Established dates for the annual spring clean up, which will take place on April 4-8 and April 11-15 for the Highland Park side of town and April 18-22 and April 25-29 for the downtown side of Williamsburg. During the spring clean-up weeks, local residents can put out the equivalent of one pick-up truckload of garbage or debris that city sanitation workers will pick-up.
• Held the first reading of an ordinance adopting Dupier Lane as an official city street. Harrison said city officials thought this was already in the city limits and have even paved the street once.
City officials only recently discovered it wasn’t in the city limits after getting an inquiry from the postal service.
Harrison estimated that about a dozen people live along the street. Every house along the street is inside the city limits except for one.
Councilman Richard Foley suggested that the city get dimensions on the length of the road before formally adopting it.
• Announced that the annual city Easter Egg hunt would take place on Saturday, March 26 at Briar Creek Park. The Easter Bunny will be in attendance and there will be free hot dogs.
• Discussed that the Williamsburg Little League baseball season would soon be starting and some beams in the grand stands are in need of repair.
• Approved the second reading of an ordinance that establishes and defines the duties of the Williamsburg Architectural Review Board/Historic Preservation Commission.
• Discussed the University of the Cumberlands plans to stop broadcasting this summer on the public access channel of the local cable television system. Councilwoman Erica Harris said she thinks the $1,000 per month fee was a big factor in the decision, and she inquired about whether the city might be interested in the channel.
• Approved an agreement with the Kentucky Bond Development Corporation to assist Transylvania University with the issuance of about $25 million worth of bonds. Robin Cooper, Kentucky League of Cities Chief Officer for Member Services, said the agreement doesn’t obligate the city in any financial way and merely assists the university so it can get a lower interest rate.