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Levee commission restructures operations

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by WILLIAM B. CARROLL, Spencer Magnet Editor

The Spencer County Levee, Flood Control and Drainage District No. 1 moved forward with several administrative actions apparently designed to provide more structure to the district’s operations.The special meeting was originally scheduled to finalize and approve a permit for relocation of the waterline running under the Blue Bridge. Commission members, however, added several other items to the agenda including items involving the procurement of general liability insurance, the formation of various committees, the retention of legal counsel and discussions regarding obtaining a loan to pay an engineering firm to help rectify the floodwall.
The original purpose of the meeting was resolved in short order with all three commissioners voting unanimously to allow commission president Mike Driscoll to sign off on the necessary permits for relocation of the waterline.The commission then looked into several of the additional items. Of importance to the commission was a motion to rescind a previous motion, approved over 17 years ago which made commissioners personally liable for accidents on the levee. According to minutes read at the meeting the original motions were made May 31, 1996 and Jan. 23, 1997. Attorney Jim Hodge was present during the meeting and advised commissioners that rescinding the nearly 17-year-old provision would bring them in line with standard practice. Hodge said that a commissioner can be held liable for violating the constitution of Kentucky, but not for actions which do not violate the constitution. The commissioners then voted unanimously to rescind the older provision.
Commissioners quickly turned the discussion to procurement of general liability insurance for the levee. Driscoll proposed that the district take bids for insurance and committee member Bobby Smith made a motion to make Driscoll responsible for obtaining bids. Driscoll said that he preferred to seek in county providers as much as possible. Driscoll resolved to discuss the matter with Nathan H. Bryan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine exactly what type of insurance the commission would need for the district.The commission also voted unanimously to give Driscoll the authority to hire an attorney for the commission. Driscoll immediately used that authority to hire attorney Jim Hodge, who was present throughout the proceedings. According to the commissioners, Hodge was the only attorney who has shown interest in the commission’s meetings. Hodge had also provided advice to the commission free of charge. Hodge said that his firm handles about two dozen different small government agencies. Hodge said he will charge the commission $75 per hour for his services and agreed to prepare a letter of engagement to that affect.
The commission also considered the possibility of applying for a loan in order to pay the estimated $150,000 to $200,000 cost to hire an engineer to help with rectifying the floodwall. Driscoll suggested People’s Bank as a possible provider of the loan funds.“They have the biggest dog in this fight,” Driscoll said, referring to the fact that People’s is within the floodwall zone.
“Because they are the only bank inside the levee, I feel compelled to discuss this with them,” he added.
Driscoll said that bank officials had approached him after a recent Spencer County Chamber of Commerce meeting and offered to help.
“They have offered to loan us money at 3.25 percent,” Driscoll said.
Comparatively the Kentucky League of Cities offers loans of between 3.25 and 3.5 percent according to Driscoll.
Hodge suggested the committee adopt Kentucky’s Model Procurement Code prior to making any final decisions on the loan issue. Hodge said that the MPC would help simplify the procurement process for the commission. The commission then unanimously approved adopting the MPC.
In other matters before the commission:
• The commission approved a proposal to submit the Spencer County Fiscal Court a request to draw up mutual aid agreements between the levee commission, the county, the city of Taylorsville and emergency services departments.
• Approved allowing Mike Driscoll to appoint members for various committees including policies and procedures, insurance, library and archives, maintenance, budget and purchasing.
• Treasurer Lois Platt provided the commission’s financial report. Platt said that the commission had a balance of $4,225.29 as of Oct. 10, 2013. The commission collected $31,549.01 in assessments as of Feb. 12. An additional $15,754.60 was collected as of March 17. Minus expenses, the commission’s current balance is $49,676.86. The commission also has a $5,000 certificate of deposit. Platt added that as of March 17, 81 properties remained uncollected for a total value of $11,557.
• Smith presented a report on the commission’s revised election process. Smith said that the new process will be by mail-out ballots. The commission approved paying for election expenses to provide for the new election method.