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Mayfield OKs resource officer, sports funding

Andre Markoch, president of the Graves County Soccer Association, addresses the Mayfield City Council on Monday night to ask for $5,000 in funding. The council unanimously approved a resolution for the full amount of funding.

SHELLEY BYRNE/The Mayfield Messenger

BY SHELLEY BYRNE sbyrne@mayfield-messenger.com

The Mayfield City Council will provide a school resource officer for Mayfield Independent Schools and money for a recreational soccer league and fund a full-time ball park and sports manager, but will wait before addressing a request for security funding for Graves County Schools.

The council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell to sign an agreement with the Mayfield Independent Board of Education in which the school system will reimburse the city for the salary and benefits of a city officer, who will become a school resource officer.

Officer Crystal Nadeau has been chosen for the position and will start when school begins in August. The school system will pay the $60,375.01 for Nadeau's salary and fringe benefits.

The county school system sent a letter to the mayor and council members last month, asking the city for partial funding of the school resource officer who serves Central Elementary, Graves County Middle School and Graves County High School. All are within the city limits after annexation.

Council member Chuck Whitnell asked if the city would be willing to make the same arrangement with the county schools as it had with the city schools, if requested.

"I would be in favor of doing the exact same thing for the county if we set it up exactly the same way," Councilman Steven Elder said.

Councilman Barry McDonald pointed out that the arrangement still costs the city as the city will continue to provide Nadeau's training, vehicle, uniform and equipment at an estimated cost of $20,000 annually.

Councilman Phil Myers said he wasn't saying no to the county's request but would like to see what the actual cost is to the city for the arrangement with the city schools before doing anything for the county schools. Elder disagreed on waiting that long, saying, "I don't think that's a position we should take as a council."

Rochetti-Cantrell pointed out that no agreement was on the table for discussion with the county schools at this point. She also suggested the timing for such an agreement might not be right. "I don't think that's a position we need to be in right now since we're currently in a lawsuit with them," Rochetti-Cantrell said.

The city sued the county schools in February, alleging the county school system had not turned over occupational taxes to the city for employees who work in Central Elementary, Graves County Middle School, the central office and the school bus garage, property the city annexed in January 2016. Graves County High School was already part of the city. The school system has since turned over the money, but it paid roughly $30,000 in taxes for the third and fourth quarters of 2017 from its general fund instead of taking money out of employees' paychecks that it hadn't withheld. School employees in the annexed region have been taxed on their earnings since January of this year.

Since the city is providing a school resource officer to the city schools, the council also had a first reading of an ordinance that elevates the cap on Mayfield police officers to 28 instead of 27 so that the number of officers patrolling the city will not change. It passed unanimously.

The only other ordinance introduced Monday night established a $100 yearly fee for mobile food truck licenses. The amount is separate from the business license fee all city businesses pay, Rochetti-Cantrell said.

"We checked around," she said. "That's pretty much what the going rate is." The ordinance passed 9-1 with Elder voting no.

A municipal order created a job description for the new full-time ball park and sports manager position. Jason Darnall had been filling the position in a part-time capacity but began full time as of July 5, Rochetti-Cantrell said after the meeting.

Darnall's salary is $40,000, and the county will continue to fund $12,000 of it at a rate of $1,000 a month since the position involves care of some properties owned jointly by the city and county.

"He's done such a good job, and he's already secured the USSSA tournament here for next year," Rochetti-Cantrell said of the city's desire to keep Darnall and expand his position.

She added, "He's started fall ball, which hasn't been here for a long time."

The job description the council approved requires Darnall to direct, manager, supervise, coordinate and promote all activities and operations of the ball park and development of sports and recreational activities. During winter months, Darnall will plan for future activities through fundraising, building and equipment maintenance.

Darnall will also take over the hiring of seasonal employees who oversee the city's spray park and miniature golf course.

The council also heard a presentation from Andre Markoch, president of the Graves County Soccer Association, and immediately passed a resolution to give the association its requested $5,000. Myers is treasurer of the organization and said he will provide paperwork showing how the money is spent.

Councilman Nate Cox asked John Poole, director of planning and community development, for an update on the cracked and leaking privately owned mausoleum within the city-owned Highland Park Cemetery.

Poole said he and representatives from Swift Roofing had been on the mausoleum's roof Monday and that the roofing company president is going to provide two estimates on possible ways to repair it. A ballpark figure for repairs could range between $80,000 and $120,000, not counting engineering fees, Poole said. "Is there structural failure?" McDonald asked in trying to determine whether an engineer would be necessary.

Poole said portions of the concrete roof over the mausoleum's breezeway are sinking in and that an engineering consultation appears to be needed.

"If you get rid of the I-beams (on the roof) without having an engineer approving how to shore that up, it could collapse in the middle there," Poole said.

He added that the city is trying to work with the state attorney general's office to determine what its options might be in getting the mausoleum repaired since it appears the owner, Jason Baker, has not fixed the problems despite being under court order to do so or pay $147,000 in fines.

"We're going to have to do something," Poole said. "You can't let the building fall in." He added that the city will do everything possible to ensure that Baker is responsible for the cost of repairs.

The next step will be providing Graves District Judge Deborah Hawkins Crooks with a report on the state of the mausoleum's problems and expected cost for repairs. The city will do so by Baker's next court appearance on July 18, he said. Baker was on the roof when Poole arrived with the Swift Roofing representatives but didn't speak to Poole, he said. "When I went up on the ladder, he left."

In other business the council:

• Heard from Fire Chief Jeremy Creason that the fire department is now a participant in the regional HAZMAT 1 hazardous materials response team and hopes to have equipment stationed in Mayfield which will make a faster response possible if there is a chemical spill or other hazardous materials release. The equipment would be too expensive for the city or even the city and county together to purchase, he said, but they can receive access to it as needed by participating in the group. Creason also reported that the county is paying $158,000 for a new ambulance for the Mayfield/Graves County Emergency Medical Service. He added that the county also had what may be its first confirmed heroin overdose and put its overdose protocol into action. When EMS arrived, the patient had no pulse and was not breathing. "By the time the patient got to the hospital, he was sitting up, talking to staff," Creason said.

• Heard from Poole that after re-bidding the project the city received one bid for the purchase and installation of 26 light poles at Kess Creek Park. It came in at $86,625, which was more than expected. The city has also ordered two decorative light fixtures for Anderson Park and installed a water meter, which could lead to eventually having a water fountain and irrigation for plants.

• Learned it may take until November for a new police hire to get a police academy training slot because the Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training's classes are full until then.

• Heard a report from Public Works Director Russ Brower that the city is assisting the city schools with fence replacement around War Memorial Stadium and the ballparks and will soon replace the handicapped access ramp and patch the sidewalk at City Hall.

• Recognized Food Giant employee Darrell Sims with a Mayfield Hidden Treasure award.

• Named Pocket's Shell Food Mart business of the month.