Maysville city officials expect a traditional July 4th celebration could be possible this year and took the first step towards approving the event at the city commission meeting Thursday.
Commissioners agreed to contract Rozzi’s famous fireworks display for Maysville’s pyrotechnic show for the Independence Day holidays on a budget of $ 15,000, though they hope to keep it below that ceiling.
Last year, city officials provided fireworks for the community because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but canceled other events around the display, including a parade, entertainment and vending booths. City manager Matt Wallingford said he was confident the city could have a full “return to normal bash” this year.
Commissioners are expected to discuss plans for the celebration at their next meeting on March 25th.
The commissioners also discussed the city’s abandoned and destroyed property ordinance.
In December, city commissioners passed the ordinance adding a tax of $ 5 per $ 100 on abandoned property.
The regulation also defines what an abandoned property is, sets out the steps to take to remove an abandoned property designation, and enables a complaints procedure.
The tax penalizes owners whose property is on a list of properties that have been vacant for at least a year, on the list of delinquent property taxes for three years, dangerous, maintenance-free, contaminated with methamphetamine or faced with other identified problems by regulation.
City Commissioner David Cartmell said he considered the ordinance “punitive”, pointing out that the $ 5 per 100 fee is well above the $ 1.50 per $ 100 levied by Covington, whose ordinance is modeled on Maysville .
Wallingford recognized the higher fee.
“If these rundown real estate owners don’t want to do anything with it … let’s reach into their pockets,” he said. “If we want to evolve as a community, we need to keep attacking this rundown and ruined lot. As simple as that. “
The city currently has a list of more than 120 properties that meet the criteria, and about three dozen of those property owners have appealed, he said.
Cartmell said the list and tax penalty are unfair and discourage real estate investments. He pointed out that there are currently people working on their properties and giving work to others.
“Why let them come here and let their neighbors judge them?” he said.
“We want people to fix their properties,” said Mayor Charles Cotterill. “For the past 30 years, properties have been allowed to fall …” He said abandoned properties have become havens for drug users.
The city has destroyed about 35 buildings in the past 20 months and 13 more are due to be demolished, the mayor said.
“It’s not fair to people who keep their properties, it’s not fair to their neighbors …” he said.
Also on Thursday, commissioners heard from community activist Bryan Helpenstine of a recent incident in which city officials burned a homeless camp on the banks of the Ohio River in Maysville. He asked those responsible to be accountable.
Helpenstine then asked why his nonprofit recovery group had been denied free use of old Washington city property as a meeting point, but was informed that it would cost $ 75 for each group meeting. Another for-profit group uses the site for free every week, he said.
“I have the feeling that sometimes we forget who’s boss here,” he said.
In other business areas: Commissioners:
– Approved department reports.
– Agreement to continue the operation of the street sweeper, suspension of the ordinance providing fines for those who do not move their vehicles at set times.
– Set spring cleaning for March 19-29. Dumpsters will be placed in strategic areas for residents to use and there will be a place for equipment and tires to be collected.
– Approved a $ 47,000 bid for a wood chopper.
– Agreed to send a letter of support for the Rotary club’s Two Bridge Run on September 4th. Cotterill suggested that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet review the construction of the William Harsha Bridge to see if it affected the event.
– Approved a resolution to apply for a crumb rubber grant.
– Approved a $ 105,000 bid for a new ambulance.
– Approved a resolution approving a loan application for pending legal action.
– Implementation of the first reading of an ordinance amending the backfilling and surface restoration ordinance.