PINEVILLE — The no vote from the Bell County Tourism on use of the restaurant tax for the hotel project in Pineville did not sit well with Mayor Sherwin Rader and members of the Pineville City Council.
At Monday’s meeting of the Pineville Council, Mayor Rader addressed the hotel project issue. This was the first council meeting since the tourism commission voted down the use of the restaurant tax for the hotel project. Rader told the council that she, Middlesboro Mayor Bill Kelley, and Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock went to the meeting to present their side of the story.
Rader said that they took five legal opinions (which included the Kentucky League of Cities and Kentucky Association of Counties) with them that day, but it was still voted down. The meeting was only allowed to last one hour.
“We (as far as the city itself goes) have no authority to change that (decision),” said Rader. “We have no ability to say how our money is spent, suggest how it is spent, or put anyone on that (tourism) board. (The tourism board) has total, complete authority as far as that project goes to vote it up or down.”
Rader added that she did not understand how one has the ability to tax the people, but have no ability to say how the money is spent or put anyone on the board that spends the money.
“If it’s not taxation without representation, I don’t know what is,” said Rader.
Rader also discussed the press conference that was called by Brock and Kelley. She talked about how Brock and Kelley removed three members from the board after looking at the statues for the tourism commission, which got a “kudos” from councilman Tuck Woolum.
Rader stated that the hotel project is far too important to just accept no and walk away from the issue. According to Rader, this project would provide jobs, promote tourism, and promote the county.
“They call themselves a tourism commission but they don’t want to do anything for tourism, especially in Pineville,” said Woolum.
If the hotel project passed, the tourism commission would receive a hotel tax (room tax). Rader stated that the citizens need to call the tourism commission and give their opinion about the project.
It was also decided that there will be an admission fee for adults to use the Pineville City Pool this year. The council voted to put a $2 entrance fee for anyone that is not in school. Children age 6-years and under will be admitted free, as well as students in grades one through twelve, and college students with a valid ID.
The council voted this way because of some loitering problems that were voiced last year. It was also stated that if a child cannot swim then they will have to be supervised by an adult.
The date for the pool opening has not been set, as there has to be several different inspections before the city can open it. Officials, however, estimate that it should be open at some point next week, which is two weeks earlier than last year.
The council also talked about the new ADA regulations that is causing a stir for public pools across the nation. The new regulations require all public pools to have a chair lift or ramp for disabled children and adults.
As of now, the deadline for enforcing the new regulations is May 21. The deadline may be extended until June, but nothing is for certain, according to Pineville City Clerk Ina Robbins.
“If you have it (the pool chair lift) on order then you’re good to go because there is a backup. The manufacturers have not been able to manufacture these lifts fast enough to get them to all the pools in the United Stated,” said Robbins.
Robbins stated that they had received a quote from Tipton Pools on a chair lift. The quote was for around $10,000. Robbins stated that there was some money that had been saved for events, but the money will most likely go toward the lift.
JoAnna Foley gave a main street update during the meeting. Main Street Pineville is starting the summer concert series in June. There was also discussion about starting a movie night, which would be held on the courthouse square.
Foley discussed the possibility of having a “fit fun in the sun” event at some point in the upcoming months using the new workout equipment at the mini park on Walnut Street.
The council also approved the second reading of an ordinance that changes the time and day that Main Street Pineville meets. Main Street will now meet on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m.
The council approved the closing of Pine Street and half of Walnut Street for the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival, which is set for May 24-26. They are also looking to close some of the parking in the downtown area during the festival for safety reasons.
The council approved the minutes from the previous meetings.
At the end of the meeting, the council went into executive session to discuss a CSX letter in regards to repair charges that could involve possible litigation.