City addresses pipeline, taxes, park renovations

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By Brandon Mattingly

Springfield City Council held its monthly meeting last Tuesday at City Hall, and there were several guests in attendance interested to hear the city’s stance on the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.

Much to the visitors’ delight, Mayor John Cecconi read a resolution that declared Springfield’s safety concerns regarding the pipeline, and encouraged Gov. Steve Beshear and other state officials to make sure all precautions are being taken to ensure any proposed pipeline would be vetted fully to ensure the safety of Kentucky residents.

The city’s resolution stated that the council has concerns over public health and “safety associated with the transportation of flammable gases under pressure and the adverse impacts on the land, air and water resources associated with leaks and spills,” Cecconi read aloud.

“Springfield City Council also has concerns for the residents of the city of Springfield, that they may be burdened with easements on their property due to the threat of condemnation by eminent domain due to the lack of clear limitations in Kentucky law,” Cecconi added.

The resolution urged the governor to address the concerns of Kentuckians, and asked that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do a full study to ensure public safety. A copy of the resolution is to be sent to the governor, state legislation and the state representatives for Washington County. Per request from Sister Claire McGowan, O.P., executive director of the New Pioneers for a Sustainable Future, a copy will also be sent to the corps of engineers.

The council also voted unanimously to deny Williams Oil Company’s—the company spearheading the pipeline proposal—request to survey city property.

Tax increase
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, a public hearing was held to discuss an increase in real estate and property taxes for 2013, which would allow a four percent increase in revenue for the city.

The new tax rate, which will be set at 14.49 percent, was approved by the council and is expected to produce an additional $10,193 of revenue, or $265,160 total. The cost per resident on a $100,000 assessment will be an additional $5.57.

Idle Hour Park renovations
Council member Brooke Coulter and Idle Hour Park Director Bernard Smalley spoke last Tuesday on the need for improvements at the park in time for next summer’s big event in Washington County.

Springfield was chosen to host the 2014 Little League girls’ state tournament, as well as the Little League boys’ district tournament, and will host the tourneys in June and July of next year.

Coulter said now was the time to give the park a makeover, “because we’re extremely lucky to be able to host this, and it could be another 20 years before it happens again.”

The park will be getting a $20,000 grant from the city, as well as $20,000 from the tourism commission. The cost of hosting the tournaments is expected to approach the $20,000 mark with the other half of the money going toward improvements between now and next summer.

Smalley and Coulter both spoke on the economic boost Springfield will see during the weeks the tournaments are held, and said they expect as many as 10,000 visitors to the county. Among the improvements that are expected are new, open-air dugouts and additional shade trees and picnic tables. Painting and other landscaping work is expected as well. Sponsorships that could support the purchase of individual dugouts or picnic tables are also being explored.

The removal of the old dugouts has already begun, and bids from Bear Creek Fencing in Bardstown and Taylor County Fencing in Campbellsville were read last week. Taylor County Fencing’s bid of $10,580 (for materials and labor) was accepted pending approval from the tournament committee.

Other news

Springfield residents can expect a change in their tax collection, as carbon-copy receipts are to be replaced with a blue card. City Administrator Laurie Smith said the previous system is being forced out, and that the change will save postage and hopefully time for residents.

Trick or treat times will be the same in 2013 as they were in 2012—4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. downtown and 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for residential areas. Main St. is expected to be blocked off from the post office to B&E furniture for the event, which will be held on Thursday, Oct. 31.

Upcoming events

Sept. 21: Mackville Harvest Festival
Oct. 4-5: Jim Beam BBQ Classic
Oct. 5: Kentucky Crossroads Harvest Festival
Oct. 18-19: Bourbon Chase
Oct. 25-27, Nov. 1-3: Frankenstein by CKCT, Inc.