City Council approves term limits for mayor, council members

·5 min read

Jul. 13—Term limits has been a controversial topic in the political ring for many years and now London has set its own policy for the city government seats.

During last Tuesday's special-called meeting of the London City Council, council members passed the second reading of Ordinance 2022-09 which places an eight-year term for both the mayor and council members.

The mayor serves a four-year term and Tuesday's vote would limit a consecutive service time to two four-year terms. Council members serve two-year terms and the ordinance would limit those elected officials to serve a maximum of four consecutive terms. During the discussion in last month's meeting, council members said the term limits would not prevent either a former mayor or council member from seeking office again — instead, it would limit a consecutive service time to eight years. However, after remaining off the council or out as mayor for one term, the individual could run for council or mayor again. Those terms would also be limited to a maximum of eight consecutive years.

That ordinance was passed unanimously, although councilman Judd Weaver said he objected to the council members being limited to four years. It was then explained that council member terms were restricted to four two-year terms, giving them a total of eight years, with Weaver agreeing with that term limit.

Ordinance 2022-10 and Ordinance 2022-11 which dealt with the annexation of property off KY 192 were also approved in their second reading. Those ordinances allow for private property owned by True Choice Development LLC to be annexed into the City of London. Ordinance 2022-11 rezones that property. True Choice Developments will develop a living complex for active citizens 55 and over who wish to reside in a community focusing on their specific age and interest. The facility will include individual housing as well as a clubhouse, meeting rooms, mini golf course, pool, walking area and other features in a gated community. The area along the back of the property will be available for persons to purchase lots and construct their own home.

The property will feature an entrance and exit off KY 192 as well as one onto Parker Road to alleviate the high traffic flow on KY 192.

Council members also heard from other persons with public concerns and information.

Brent Jackson, Member Relations for Jackson Energy, addressed the council, telling them that the utility cooperative is governed by the PSC (Public Service Commission) and buys electric power from East Kentucky Power. Jackson said that although Jackson Energy has not raised its rates since 2013, East Kentucky Power has — which is why customers have seen rate increases over the past years. Approval of rate raises takes approximately 6 months and must be approved through the PSC. Jackson said Jackson Energy cannot raise rates for electrical usage, but that rate increases through East Kentucky Power to the utility companies it serves has caused customers of Jackson Energy and other cooperatives to see higher rates.

Jackson Energy, he said, has 5,801 miles of line across the 15 counties they serve. Building those lines involves 15 employees with Jackson Energy serving over 52,600 members and is a non-profit organization. He said three things customers needed to know about the energy cooperative and how it utilizes its money.

"We're a non-profit so we have no pile of money. The money goes into three main buckets. The first is infrastructure and build out," Jackson explained. "Everything it takes to provide electricity and distribute it to our members — that's where most of it goes. Then we have donations and community outreach. We're involved with all the schools — we do career fairs, Ronald McDonald House, Chamber of Commerce, in all our counties. We're heavily involved in all the communities."

"The third bucket is called Capital Credits. If you don't know this, you need to know because this is your money," he said. "You only get that money when you pass away, so your estate gets this money. So when Joe who has been on Jackson Energy for 40 years passes away, that money goes to his estate — we return it back to our members."

London Fire Chief Carl Hacker also addressed the council regarding a resolution recognizing the Centennial of the fire department. Hacker said the department is hosting a Fireman's Ball on Aug. 20, at the London Community Center. Part of the history of the fire department will be celebrated with the band — the son of long-time firefighter and fire chief Ernie Clark will be traveling from his Michigan home to play with his band for the event. Hacker said tables of 8 can be reserved for $500, with individual tickets priced at $75 each.

Two residents of Ridgewood Road also expressed concerns regarding speed bumps in their area. The resident appearing before the council said the speed bumps were "obnoxiously" high, which is causing damage to vehicles crossing them. The speed bumps, he said, cover the entire road and are in sets of two bumps in three spots. The couple said they reside on Hacker Drive, immediately off Ridgewood Road. Risk Management and Safety Director Rick Cochrane said the speed bumps were now made from rubber and could be removed and replaced with smaller speed bumps. He added that those barriers to slow down drivers were no longer made from asphalt due to the complicity and cost of equipment to remove and redo the speed bumps. After some discussion, council members agreed to remove the speed bumps in that area and order smaller, wider ones.

Council members also approved the sole bid for a new vehicle for the London Police Department. That bid was for a 2022 Dodge Durango for $34,971. The Dodge Chargers, which were being purchased by police departments across the state, were $500 higher, with police officers stating the Durango was a better vehicle. That vehicle will replace a cruiser that was damaged in an accident.

Like most other commodities, council members noted that prices for blacktop have also increased since last year. They did, however, approve the sole bid, submitted by ATS, to provide materials for blacktop for $83 per ton, sealed base at $79 per ton and hauling at $32 per ton.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com