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Junction council members question joining EDP, but agree to pay for it

JUNCTION CITY — Two Junction City Council members have questioned why the city’s mayor agreed to pay for a voting seat on the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors and appointed someone to the seat, when they believed the council was against the move.

After the Junction City Council approved the minutes from its April 12 meeting Thursday night, Mayor Jim Douglas asked if council members had looked over the city’s bills that need to be paid and if they were ready to approve payments or if anyone wanted a discussion.

Councilman Bill McCowan said, “Yeah, I’ve got a question. What about the EDP — $1,500 to the EDP? I thought we was dead set against that.”

Mayor Douglas said, “Well there’s a lot of things that can come out of this. And I couldn’t get a representative in town … nobody would, didn’t want to go to the meetings and know what’s going on, find out what’s going on. There’s a lot of benefits for us to be in the EDP.”

Douglas appointed Steve Knight, who does not live in Junction City, to the EDP board in April.

“I felt like EDP was promoting Perryville, promoting Boyle County and the City of Danville. But I just didn’t feel like they were doing anything for us,” Douglas said at the time. “Therefore, I felt like we ought to join in. We’ve got a lot of potential over here in Junction City that folks don’t recognize and I think it’s about time they do.”

In order to add Knight as a voting member, Douglas had to agree that Junction City would give the EDP $1,500 annually.

Douglas said Thursday night now that the city has a representative on the EDP, Junction City will know what’s going on and be aware of any development that’s coming into the county.

“We’ve been back-door to a bunch of stuff and I won’t let that happen again,” Douglas said.

No one replied and for several seconds the only sound in the room was the air conditioning humming and the constant clicking of McCowan’s ink pen.

Douglas finally said, “In other words, I think it’s money well spent. It could be a big boost for us. And it could have been all along — somebody there question what goes on and knows what’s going on. Too many meeting behind closed doors.”

Douglas looked at the members of the council and said, “Anybody else? Anybody?”

The council then unanimously approved paying the fee.

Later in the meeting, Councilman Pete Kendrick said, “Can we back up just one second? I apologize I missed last month’s meeting, but did we discuss the EDP in last month’s meeting?”

Douglas replied, “I don’t think we did.”

Kendrick asked, “What’s changed in the last three or four months?”

Kendrick said EDP representative Hal Goode had visited the council twice since the first of the year trying to convince the city to join the EDP, but he thought Junction City didn’t want to join.

“I just don’t understand how we went from not really seeing the benefit to us, to getting somebody that doesn’t live in Junction City to represent us, and all of a sudden we’re all for it.”

Douglas said, “We didn’t have nobody in Junction City that would accept it.”

Kendrick said, “I didn’t know we were looking for somebody to represent us.”

Douglas said the reason Junction City decided to drop out of the EDP in the first place was because he couldn’t get anyone to attend the meetings on a regular basis.

“So we didn’t know what was going on. I had four or five that had been appointed to attend meetings. They’d go to one and never go back again,” Douglas said. “I think the city needs to know what goes on in economic development.”

Kendrick asked, “But where was this discussion? … The last couple of times that Hal was here, I didn’t see anybody really in support of us paying that money to be a part of a 17-member committee.”

Douglas replied, “Well, if it’s bothering you, we can drop right back out. I don’t have a problem dropping out of it. I just think it would be a benefit to the city now that we’ve got somebody to go to meetings. We’ll know what’s coming.”

Kendrick said, “I didn’t know representation was a problem. I thought it was priorities with them and what they’re looking for and how Junction City is regarded. I don’t remember anybody mentioning we can’t get anybody to go to meetings.”

The discussion quickly ended when Angela Arnett Garner entered the meeting late. “Pardon me, is this the city hall meeting? I’m sorry I’m late,” she said.

Douglas looked around the room and said, “We all done? … That’s if you’re done Pete. I’m sorry.”

Kendrick shrugged and the meeting continued, with Garner asking the city to sign a proclamation establishing an Indigenous People Day. The proclamation was unanimously passed.

In other city business, council members held a public hearing to discuss the paving of streets in fiscal year 2018-19, but no one from the public attended.

Jacob Pankey, chair of the Boyle Landmark Trust, also asked the council members to declare May 2018 Historic Preservation Month, which they approved.

They also had a discussion about traffic flow problems and the hazardous conditions it creates when vehicles line up on North Lucas Street in order to pick children up from Junction City Elementary School.

Police Chief Merl Baldwin said when school ends for the summer, the school board and police will work out a plan for the traffic and the school’s four buses so the city won’t need to get involved right now.