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Commissioners call for meeting on drainage study

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By Shannon Brock

Together, the City of Taylorsville and Spencer County Fiscal Court have paid an engineering firm $44,647.62 to conduct a drainage study on Houston Court, but a couple of city commissioners believe they have little to nothing to show for their money.
Commissioner Ellen Redmon, who lives on Houston Court, asked for a status report on the project during last Tuesday night’s City Commission meeting.
“I’m wondering where we stood,” Redmon said. “We’ve got another bill to pay ... how much more are we going to be spending before we know if we’re getting any money?”
The city and county contracted the Frankfort engineering firm DLZ to complete the drainage study in 2010. The firm has also been assisting the city with its application that will ultimately be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine if Taylorsville will be awarded $1 million in grant funds — the money Redmon referenced — to address the Houston Court drainage issues as well as some levee concerns.
If awarded, expenses up to this point will be reimbursed from the grant funds, Mayor Don Pay said.
Redmon suggested the city set up a status meeting with the firm.
“We need to get together and have a meeting,” she said. “Either we get the grant or we find the money to fix it. It needs to be fixed. How many more DLZ invoices are we going to get before we step up and say something’s got to give?”
The invoice approved during Tuesday’s meeting was the 13th paid since the contract began.
The city and county agreed to split initial costs up to $44,793.72. The 13th invoice brings the total amount paid to within $146 of that cap with no resolution in sight.
Redmon made a motion to ask for a hearing with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DLZ, Spencer County, Kentucky Emergency Management and the levee commission. Commissioner Kathy Spears seconded the motion, which passed unanimously, 4-0. Commissioner Beverly Ingram was absent from the meeting.
The commission asked City Clerk Steve Biven to tentatively schedule that joint meeting in the third week of January 2014.
Pay pointed out that if the city was not awarded the grand funding, it would be out the costs thus far.
“If we shut this show down, we’re out $44,000, or half of that,” Pay said.
Commissioner Jack Proctor suggested that the city look into the option of parting ways with DLZ.
“Is our option to get rid of DLZ and go to someone else?” Proctor said. “We may have our wagon hitched to the wrong cart. You never sit on an deal for [three] years when you’re paying for something and not getting anything.”

Public comment removed?
Typically, on City Commission agendas for regular meetings, a time period is allowed for comments from citizens. Those citizens are required to sign up to speak by the Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting and are usually given three minutes to address the commission.
However, the comments from citizens section was notably absent from Tuesday’s meeting and agenda.
As the meeting was starting, Lawrence Trageser made it known that he had requested to be on the agenda to speak, but was not listed. Trageser persisted in asking for an explanation, but was only “warned” by Mayor Don Pay that the meeting had already started.
After Tuesday’s meeting, Evelyn McKemie told The Spencer Magnet she had also requested to be put on Tuesday’s agenda, but was not on the agenda and was not given any explanation as to why.
Public agencies are not required by law to hear public comment. However, it has been a common practice of the city commission up to this point.