Perryville to hold public forum for smoking ban

Published 7:07 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

The Perryville City Council discussed possible smoking ban options in the community, but took no action during its regular meeting Thursday night.

A short presentation was given by the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy’s Community Advisor Amanda Bucher about the health risks of smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke, and how tourists prefer smoke-free environments. She also thanked the council for considering enacting a smoke-free policy in Perryville.

City attorney Justin Johnson told the council he researched what types of smoking ban ordinances other cities have in place.

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“There are different things to consider if you’re wanting to do a smoke-free ordinance,” Johnson said.

For example, “How extensive or comprehensive you want it to be. Do you want it to be a 100-percent comprehensive ban, like Danville’s? … Do you want to cover public places and certain outside areas?”

Johnson added, “Do you even want a ban? What impact will it have on businesses currently here?” He also asked the council to think about how a smoking ban could affect the potential for future businesses in Perryville.

Some communities in Kentucky have partial bans, and allow smoking in some motel and hotel rooms and Airbnbs. Smoking is sometimes allowed in outdoor areas or places of employment.

“Another thing though to consider is … it’s easier to fend off any legal challenges if it’s a comprehensive ban.”

Johnson suggested the council have a public forum to hear residents’ opinions about smoking in public places.

Council member Carlos Miller said it’s going “to be a big concern” for many residents. “The whole council needs to hear their thoughts about it.”

Johnson said for the council to make an informed decision whether or not to pursue a smoking ban ordinance, a public forum would allow people to voice their opinions on the matter. “Will you be hearing just one person saying no, or are you having a bunch of people saying 100-percent comprehensive?”

Mayor Brian Caldwell said the council will figure out a day and time to hold a special called meeting for a public forum to hear residents’ thoughts on a smoking ban “and go from there.”

Other business

The council also unanimously decided to uphold the city’s ordinance banning swine within the city limits. At last month’s meeting, Cody Czajkowski asked the council to adjust the ordinance because one of his pets is a 200-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

Council member Trent Bottom in April, “I was OK with it,” but has changed his mind.

“I come from a farming background, but even if it is a pet, it’s still a messy animal. It roots around and might decrease the value of the property,” Bottom said. “There’s a place for farming and it’s really not in the city. I know it’s not really farming, but the place for that is not the city.”

Other city business included:

• The council agreed that semi-trucks coming into town too fast are causing loud disturbances when the drivers apply their mechanical brakes. It’s called “jake braking” Caldwell said. He suggested the council should contact the state highway department and request signs stating that no mechanical braking is allowed between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

• The council voted for the city to obtain a credit card that will be kept at city hall for city employees to use for small purchases.

• The council had its first reading of the 2019-20 budget. The budget includes 4-percent raises for city employees and adds a part-time police officer. The three largest sources of estimated income are from insurance tax premiums of $72,000; payroll tax/net profits revenue of $31,000; and $90,000 in property taxes. The budget plans for a beginning general fund balance of $50,267.52. After expected expenditures of $285,023.33, the year-end balance on June 30, 2020, is projected to be about $7,000.