Commission approves new city attorney

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Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky.
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May 5—Owensboro City Commissioners approved the hiring of attorney Mark Pfeifer to serve as next city attorney during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Pfeifer replaces former attorney Steve Lynn, who retired last March.

Josh Bachmeier, city human resources manager, said previously that Pfeifer's first day will be May 24 and that the city attorney's position pays $100,000 annually.

In other business, the Commission also heard the first reading of the ordinance adopting the city's 2021-2022 fiscal-year budget.

"It is the same budget that was provided to commissioners at the beginning of April and was presented in detail two weeks ago," said City Manager Nate Pagan during the meeting.

Pagan said the new budget includes no changes to Owensboro's tax rate, a balanced general fund, investments in public safety and enhancements to medical services.

Key initiatives of the budget include new wayfinding signage, a downtown entry zone and Northwest Neighborhood imitative incentives.

"Overall, this is a good budget...," Pagan said.

Commissioners also approved the transfer of city-owned property at 622 Elm Street to Habitat of Humanity of Owensboro Daviess County Inc.

"We have a healthy relationship with Habitat For Humanity of Owensboro-Daviess County and regularly we transfer properties to Habitat to build single-family homes for low-income qualifying families that are deserving through sweat equity," said Abby Shelton, community development director.

The lot, which was once the sight of Saint Paul AME Church, will be divided into two, with one half transferred to Habitat for Humanity and the other used by the city to build single-family affordable housing. The city will use Federal HOME funds for the project.

"We have been doing this for over 20 years and we think that it is a great partnership, and we continue to have a fruitful relationship with (Habitat for Humanity)," Shelton said.

Commissioners also unanimously approved a municipal order directing Mayor Tom Watson to apply for Law Enforcement Protection Program Grant funding for the purchase of 10 new tasers for the Owensboro Police Department.

Commissioner Mark Castlen asked Police Chief Art Ealum, who was present during the meeting, if the police department currently utilized tasers.

"We currently have tasers; we have had them for several years," Ealum said. "With the new technology coming out, the tasers we have for the most part are out of their natural service life."

Ealum said the suggested service life of the department's tasers is about five years, but they have been using them for about eight to 10 years.

The $12,845 grant to purchase the tasers requires no financial match from the city.

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837