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Council gets updates on solar, EMS, park

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

City Council members had several questions pertaining to ongoing projects during their Tuesday meeting.

• Council member David Nutty asked if a contract with PSG Energy had a provision for a penalty for not completing the work on time. PSG has been installing solar power on city facilities. Originally, the plan had been for the solar fields to be operating by spring 2019.

City attorney David Butsch said he could not find a penalty provision. The contract was approved before he became city attorney.

Clerk-Treasurer Rosemary Brown said four locations are ready to switch to the grid but Duke Energy has not provided meters for the switch.

Mayor Harold Gordon said the roof at the street department must be repaired before solar panels can be installed there.

• The project to move Fayette County Emergency Medical Services is moving forward. Two crews are stationed at the new location, 2330 Park Road, the former Eldridge CPA Group building.

The employees have agreed to do some of the interior construction work without additional pay, Gordon said. EMS employees will not be doing any work on electrical, plumbing, the structure or the overhead door but working on interior items, said EMT James Burn.

The building has two overhead doors but a third door is needed.

“Where are you going to get the money to pay for that?” Brown asked.

Council member Mike Bishop said a concern is that parking one unit behind the other inside the building could delay getting out for a run.

The current building on Mount Street has patches on the roof, mold in the building and the plumbing is bad, he explained. There is not a separate restroom for the women employees and in the sleeping area, the men and women are separated by hanging a blanket.

The estimate to make needed repairs at the old Mount Street facility had been $88,000, which is why when Ralph Eldridge made the proposal for using his building, it sounded like a good proposal.

Bishop said he has heard the cost for cutting a hole for the new overhead door and installation of the door would be around $100,000. Council member Chad Frank said that cost sounds high.

The city cannot get door companies to even make bids for the project because they are so busy, the mayor said. 

The department can function with two ambulances leaving simultaneously and the third behind one of the others. Although inconvenient, two doors will work, Burns said.

The department is jointly funded by the city and county but operated by the city.

• In response to a question about Rivers Edge Park, Gordon said construction has started on the buildings and amphitheater. Those should be completed this fall. Ball diamonds will come later.

Council action on the 2020 Connersville City Budget will delayed.

The ordinance for the budget had been scheduled for first reading Tuesday but Brown said there will have to be some additional cuts before being presented for approval. First reading will be Sept. 16 meeting and approval will be scheduled for Oct. 7.

A pay increase for employees of the Fayette County Emergency Medical Services, Street, Parks and Recreation and Sanitation departments will be 1%, not 3% as reported in Tuesday edition of the Connersville News-Examiner.