City Council reviews, approves four community groups’ funding requests

Johnny Warren, the executive artistic director at The Stephen Foster Story, discusses the drama’s recent history regarding its application for $10,000 to help its rebuilding project.


Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 — For the first time in the City of Bardstown’s history, its annual budget includes a line item for community grants. And less than two weeks into the new budget, the council reviewed the first group of five grant requests at the Bardstown City Council meeting Tuesday night.

The majority of the meeting time was spent on the grant requests, which totaled $27,500.

Mayor Dick Heaton explained that this was the first year for making funding available as a line item. In the past, requests for donations usually were funded from the mayor or council’s contingency funds.

From left, Councilmen David Dones, Bill Sheckles and Roland Williams.

Representatives from most of the groups seeking funding were in the meeting audience Tuesday night. City Attorney Tim Butler explained the criteria the city uses when considering requests for donations. The criteria includes a requirement the city must obtain a benefit from the results of the funding; and the project on which the money is spent must have a broad appeal.

The city has a long history of making donations, Butler explained. But beginning this year, the city will follow-up on those groups that receive the funding to make sure the money was spent as was promised.

OLD BARDSTOWN VILLAGE. The Old Bardstown Village board requested $10,000 to help pay the expense of re-chinking the cabins at the facility. Chinking is the material that fills the gaps between the logs of a log building.

A board representative said the cost to rechink each of the cabins is about $7,500. The board would like to be able to complete two cabins a year. The rechinking is necessary to preserve the integrity of the cabins.

THE STEPHEN FOSTER STORY. The drama applied for $10,000 to help the large construction project that will begin at the end of the summer that will remove the existing stage and demolish the sets. The goal is to have the work completed in time for the next year’s 61st season.

Executive Artistic Director Johnny Warren recounted the events of last December that left the future of the Drama in doubt when state inspectors shuttered the facility.

Councilwoman Kecia Copeland suggested increasing the amount of the city’s grant to the Nelson County Black Citizens Arts Council after a proposal to cut the amount was cut by half.

NELSON COUNTY BLACK CITIZENS ARTS COUNCIL. Bill Sheckles introduced a request for $5,000 in funding to go toward needed work to renovated the Bowman-Cherry historic school building.

Carrie Stivers, president of the organization, told the council some of the building’s history and the many roles it has played in addition to serving as a public school for blacks. She said the organization believes the building has a mission to continue to serve and education the community.

The group is also seeking in-kind help through city engineering department.

BUTTERMILK DAYS FOUNDATION. Roland Williams introduced the organization’s request for $2,500 to fund security, and parking at the annual Buttermilk Days Festival.

Joey Sheckles explained to the council how the money is used, and how widely attended the festival is from groups of all ages.

NELSON COUNTY DISTINGUISHED WOMAN PROGRAM. Butler said that in his review, this program — formerly known as the Junior Miss program — failed to meet the council’s criteria for funding. The money goes to fund a scholarship the winner or winners receive, he said, and that doesn’t provide a benefit to the city, only to one or a small group of people.

Councilwoman Kecia Copeland said she thought the group’s request was simply to buy an advertisement in their program, not a donation that would go to the scholarship fund.

The council didn’t consider the group for a grant, but left the door open for the group to apply again in order to meet the criteria.

REQUESTS EXCEED AVAILABLE FUNDS. Because the requests exceeded the $25,000 allocated in the budget for the grants, the council discussed and finally settled on giving reduced amounts to the remaining four groups.

Bill Sheckles suggested the smaller grants in order to leave some funding available for later requests in the fiscal year.

“This is the first wave of requests we’ve had,” he said. It wouldn’t be fair to everyone to give away the entire amount during the first two years of the fiscal year, he explained.

“In fairness to the community, I think we should cut them basically in half,” he said. After additional discussion, the council voted to give the Stephen Foster Drama Association and the Old Bardstown Village $5,000 each — half of what was requested.

The council increased the amount it gave to the Nelson County Black Arts Council from half of its original request — $2,500 — to $3,000 after Copeland explained that the group can’t even hire a roofer until they get the roof checked that its safe to have a man on the roof. She supported increasing the donation to the organization, as did Councilman David Dones.

The council voted to provide the Buttermilk Days Foundation a $2,000 grant.

The grants approved total $15,000, which allows $10,000 for future grants submitted this fiscal year, Heaton said.

CITY STREET USES, CLOSURE REQUEST. The council approved requests by Tri-County United Way and Bardstown Mainstreet to to use or close some city streets for separate events.

Tri-County United Way sponsors the Spirit 5k run that takes place each year in conjunction with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. This year’s Spirit 5k will take place Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018. The course takes place on city streets, but does not require the closure of any streets. The council approved the 5k’s route, which is unchanged from previous years.

The council approved a request from Bardstown Main Street to close East Flaget from North Third to Second Street, and the entire city parking lot and Farmers Market pavilion, for the 2018 Farm to Table event on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.

The closures — from 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. will allow time for setup and clean up for the event. The Farm to Table event will host a cocktail hour at 6 p.m., with a seven-course dinner served on one long table set up on East Flaget.

In other business, the council:

— heard from Bardstown Police Chief Kim Kraeszig that her department has received a $3,200 grant to purchase bulletproof vests for city police officers. The department is also waiting to hear on a grant application for new Tasers.

— heard Heaton announce the city recently received a historic preservation grant of $9,569 that will be used to fund historic preservation workshops on different topics. The city has already budgeted the $6,379 in matching money required by the grant.

— gave final approval of an ordinance that updates the fees charged by the city fire department for emergencies that involve people who live outside Bardstown and Nelson County. An individual or business’s insurance will be assessed the fees for emergency services provided by the fire department.

The original 2014 ordinance has a fee schedule for emergency services. The new ordinance expands the list and updates the services and costs.

— reappointed Tiger Huston to the city’s Cable TV Programming committee.


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