Somerset Council to consider state of emergency, annexation ordinances

Carla Slavey I CJ

Somerset Mayor Alan Keck conducts business at Monday's City Council meeting. Keck said that bids for the proposed farmers market project came in higher than expected.

Monday's Somerset City Council meeting involved the first reading for an ordinance that would establish the procedure for allowing the mayor to declare a state of emergency, as well as first readings on ordinances that would allow for the annexation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) building in Shopville.

Second readings on all ordinances will be held at a later meeting.

The first details procedures for giving Mayor Alan Keck and his designated official the right to declare a state of emergency during disasters such as weather related events and fires.

City Attorney John Adams explained that Somerset does not have such an ordinance on the books, and, following recommendations from the Kentucky League of Cities, the city decided to look into it.

The ordinance would give Somerset's Mayor the authority to declare a state of emergency, enforce laws pertaining to disaster emergency response, direct emergency personnel, allow the forceful removal of an uncooperative individual from an evacuated area, declare a curfew and to request emergency assistance from the state or federal government.

The other ordinances under consideration - a trio of requested annexations that ultimately brings in VFW Post 269 - were all initiated by the owners of the properties.

One is a right-of-way annexation of around 2.9 acres along Barnsburg Road, off of east U.S. 80.

The second and third annexations run up VFW Drive, ending at the veteran's building.

Also at Monday's meeting, Mayor Keck gave an update on the farmers market project, saying that the design of the building is being reconsidered due to project bids coming in higher than expected.

"The bids came in, and they came in a little high," Keck began.

"Well, they came in real high. ..."

"We were thinking originally it was, hopefully, going to be under what we had budgeted, and it was much, much, much higher, and so I just said that's not going to work."

Keck said the lowest of three received bids came in 80 percent higher than officials expected. Keck said reasons for that may have been because of an increase in building materials and that the building's plans were possibly over-engineered.

They are looking at ways to reduce costs, and will hopefully have an update at the next meeting, he said.

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