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Mayor post shared

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By Kate Darnell

A week after their deadlocked vote, commissioners voted Tuesday night to split the position of Cynthiana mayor pro-tem between Commissioner Jack Keith and Commissioner Mark Mattmiller, with Keith assuming mayor pro-tem responsibilities this year, and Mattmiller assuming the position at the beginning of 2010.

Commissioner Amanda Moore explained at the beginning of the meeting that the decision had been reached under the entire commission’s “cooperation and mutual agreement,” saying the decision was in the best interest of the city.

The motion passed with a unanimous vote.

“I’m very pleased it went the way it did,” said Mattmiller during Tuesday’s meeting.

Mattmiller said the “frank and honest dialogue” between the commissioners at last Monday’s special meeting demonstrated the “underpinning of good government.”

“Our philosophy was the same - to do the best for this city...” said Mattmiller. “We just had different points-of-view.”

After the meeting, Keith said the decision to split the mayor pro-tem position had been reached through phone conversations between commissioners.

“The city couldn’t be held hostage,” Keith said.

Mayor Jim Brown was transferred to Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center last Wednesday, where he continues to receive therapy. Brown suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve.

Other business included:

•Jeff Neal spoke to the commission on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Positive Change about several issues, including the need for more police officers, the need for ordinances to be reviewed and enforced, the plans for the Oddville park to be resolved and implemented, the need for a Renaissance director, and the presence of dilapidated buildings in the community.

“It’s time to start taking some of those down,” said Neal, adding that the Concerned Citizens group was addressing one issue at a time.

Chief Ray Johnson responded to Neal’s concerns and said the police force was improving, despite the decreased number of officers.

“We will respond to the calls as quickly as we can,” said Johnson, adding that calls to the police department will be prioritized, with accidents and domestic violence incidents taking priority over complaints of barking dogs and similar situations. Johnson said the police department will respond to all calls.

Keith said he will ask that the vacant Renaissance Director position be advertised at the next commission meeting.

•The second reading of the ordinance eliminating comp time for city employees was tabled after a motion from Moore, who said she needed more time to speak with her departments since employees in the public safety departments will be affected by the commission’s decision on the issue.

•Moore announced that the fire department received a grant for over $10,000 to provide laptops for emergency vehicles to assist in obtaining structural information.

Moore said the fire department also received confirmation of another grant of $2,200 that will be used to purchase new radios.

•Commissioner New urged citizens to remain patient with the city’s leaf pick-up service. Due to damp conditions, leaves were unable to be processed by the city’s leaf-collector machine. New said individuals from his department were working daily to remove leaves with hand shovels.

•Wayland Quisenberry spoke to the commission about two grants concerning the Oddville park.

Quisenberry said one of the grants he was working on will provide for half the cost of a recreational trail, intended for mountain-bike use. The city and county would be responsible for splitting the other half of the cost, which would amount to $15,000 for each government entity.

While plans for the park do not already include the trail, Quisenberry said the trail would run through land that otherwise wouldn’t be used and wouldn’t interfere with pre-existing plans.

Quisenberry said the city and county could apply for the grant, and if they were chosen, then they could decide whether or not the trail for pedal-powered bikes was a priority to citizens.

“We can easily say ‘No, thank you,’” said Quisenberry. “It doesn’t cost us anything to apply.”

Quisenberry said he is working on another grant that would assist in the cost of surfacing two 50 ft. by 100 ft. playgrounds with crumb rubber.

“You don’t have injuries with this,” said Quisenberry. “This is a very common thing that’s being done.”

The board voted that Quisenberry continue to pursue the grants that would be completed by the end of the month.

•The commission voted to increase the Chamber of Commerce’s 2008-2009 appropriation by $2,500 for utility improvements.

The Cynthiana City Commission will meet again on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.