If some Williamsburg City Council members have their way, city fire hydrants could be getting a little more decorative in the near future.
During Monday’s monthly meeting, the council discussed the issue of fire hydrants and the possibility of replacing some of them.
Councilman Richard Foley noted that the hydrant near his home has water leaking from it and needs replacing, and that other hydrants “really needed” painting.
Mayor Roddy Harrison replied that testing of hydrants was either just completed or would be completed soon and that the city is compiling a list of hydrants that need to be replaced.
Councilwoman Erica Harris noted that Williamsburg High School, Whitley County High School and the University of the Cumberlands have several “wonderful” art students who would likely be willing to paint the hydrants for free.
“We have some fabulous art students in all of those places,” she added.
Harris suggested that the students could submit designs for approval before the painting began.
“They all need the community service hours,” added Councilwoman Patty Faulkner.
Councilwoman Laurel West said she once visited a town, which had fire hydrants painted like that and the hydrants were all beautiful.
Mayor Roddy Harrison said that last year he had all the fire hydrants scraped and painted fire engine red, but he said that he is more than willing to try a decorative approach to the hydrants.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, Williamsburg City Attorney Kim Frost swore the council, who were all re-elected in November, into office.
Their oath of office included a vow that they had never participated in a duel nor served as a second during a duel.
In other business, the council:
• Discussed planned improvements at the Kentucky Splash Waterpark, which should cut down on wait times at the concession stands.
In response to a question by Councilman Loren Connell about work at the waterpark, Harrison noted that a second full concession stand is being built under the existing picnic shelter.
This second concession stand will have everything that the current concession stand offers.
Harrison said that his long-range plans are to eventually have a splash pad built near the waterpark so that those staying at the RV park and others could utilize it after the park closed, and that he would like to build a swimming pool inside the waterpark.
“If we have the money,” he added.
• Approved the Williamsburg Tourism Commission’s annual audit, which was conducted by the accounting firm of Marr, Miller and Myers.
Williamsburg Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe noted that there were no issues found in the audit.
“It is in good shape knock on wood,” Sharpe said.
The audit showed that the tourism commission finished the 2015-2016 fiscal year on June 30, 2016, with a ending cash balance of $341,036.
During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the commission collected $6,509 more in transient room tax or motel tax revenue than in the prior year, and $12,062 more in restaurant tax revenue. This was a 2.13 percent increase.
“During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016, the commission felt little impact of the declining economy,” the audit noted.
When asked what he attributed the increased revenue too, Sharpe said three new restaurants that weren’t here three years ago.
• Heard complaints from Joan Street residents Shirley Carmical and Veronica Carmical about a neighbor, who has overgrown trees that make it difficult to see around when pulling out on the street.
“There’s been more than once people have almost gone splat,” Shirley Carmical noted.
They also complained about the same neighbor burning things in his yard repeatedly causing the neighborhood to be filled up with smoke.
“I don’t see why we can’t have an ordinance about the number of times you can burn,” Shirley Carmical said. “I would like to be able to stand outside and breathe.”
When West asked whether the man had a logging business or something like that, Harrison replied that he just likes to burn things in his yard.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird noted that the individual in question was cited for burning plastic once during a prior incident.
Harrison said that he would check with fire and police officials about what authorities might be able to do about the problems.
• Discussed job surveys that the city is currently trying to collect from would-be job seekers for a call center that has expressed interest in opening in the city and providing up to 500 jobs if there is a sufficient workforce here.
“I am optimistic. I really feel good it is going to happen,” Harrison said.
The city is having a workshop on Jan. 11-12 from 3 – 7 p.m. at the Williamsburg Tourism Center to collect surveys for the company.
“You hear it all the time, I need a job. This is their opportunity,” Harrison said.
He added that applicants must be able to pass a background check and a drug screen.
“If you can’t pass a drug test there is no need to come to the workshop. If you are a recreational user, just quit. It is a life choice. Do you want to make a living and support your family?” Harrison said.
The background check will also check to see if people owe excessive debt or are late on things like child support and student loan payments.