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Council approves restaurant tax on split vote; money earmarked for city park renovation

Morgantown City Council met in regular session on Thursday, August 8th at the Eva J. Hawes Building. All council members were in attendance: Dustin Embry, Sharon Johnson, Dionne Merritt, Russell Givens, Jason Gaskey, and Sterling White.

The council heard from the City Administrator Jerrod Barks concerning the recommendations from the committee to research ways to fund the needed improvements to the Charles T. Black City Park. According to Barks, the committee met several times and researched several options. They recommended deleting four items from the proposed projects for the park including enhanced disc golf course ($18,000), splash pad adjacent to the playground ($115,000), upper parking lot for swimming pool($123,800), and a new pavilion($68,200). They did recommend adding a playground at the cost of $200,000.

CLICK HERE FOR City Park Projects.pdf

CLICK HERE FOR Restaurant tax ordinance.pdf


CLICK HERE FOR City Tourism and Convention Commission.pdf

The total cost of the renovation of the park would be $3,502,241. The committee recommended adding a three-cent restaurant tax for all restaurants and places serving food to cover the cost. Barks stated that the projected income from the restaurant tax would be $240,000 annually. The city would bond the project for 25 years at the total payback of $5,297,049.50, principal $3,645,000, and interest of $1,652,049.50.

The council split on the tax. Council members Sterling White and Jason Gaskey voted no, while the other four - Embry, Johnson, Merritt, and Givens - voted yes.

"I will not add more taxes to the citizens of Morgantown," stated Gaskey.

The 4-2 vote approved the first reading. They also approved the establishment of a City Tourism and Convention Commission, a one-percent transit room tax, and a Restaurant Tax Ordinance by the same 4-2 vote.

The council also voted 6-0 to lower the property tax rate from 11.4 to 11.1 per $100 assessed value. Due to increases in property evaluations, the 11.1 will generate the same amount of money for the city. Barks also stated that the City tax bills will be combined with the County tax bills and the Sheriff will be collecting them.

John Dix, president of the Kentucky Rural Water Association, spoke to the council concerning the Rochester Dam Project. He gave the history of the dam and the plans for the renovations through a slide show.

"There will not be an increase of the elevation of the water level," said Dix.

Work will start within the next two weeks.


Morgantown Fire Department Report:

-Structural Fires- City -0, County -1

-Vehicle Accidents - City-1, County-2

-Calls for Assistance - City-3, County-2

-Medical Assistants - City -1, County-1

Total Calls -11


Morgantown Police Department Report: 

-Dispatched calls for service- 367

-Arrests- 23

-Criminal cases -7

-Special details- 18

-Vehicle Accidents -7

-Other Agency assists 12

Total Calls for Service 1231


Maintenance Report: 

-They worked the Green River Catfish Festival, worked on potholes, mowed and have picked up 26 loads of brush.

 MOGO Shuttle Report: 

-The shuttle has been in operation for three months and has provided transportation for 1489 riders. They are averaging 41.5 passengers per day.

 Planning & Zoning Report: 

-They have completed the updated zoning map which is online at Proposed Zoning Map can be found at: (Click on Pending Zoning Map button). No permits or request made. They rezoned property at 170 Boat Factory Road from R-2 to Commercial.


Housing Authority Report: 

-2019 Capital Fund improvements are in the planning stage. Paving of the Boys &Girls Club parking lot and the foundation repair at the 3200 building is complete. Wall mats for the gym at the club are here. The Housing Authority provided two meals for the club when the summer feeding program ended. The authority thanked the city for the MOGO Shuttle, which has been very helpful to residents.




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