Danville commission updates Covid policy; Airport annexation discussed

Published 6:10 am Friday, January 28, 2022

The Danville City Commission voted to update Covid-19 policies for employees at their meeting on Monday.

HR Director Randy Boyd made the presentation to realign the city’s policies to follow updated CDC guidelines.

Those guidelines state that when someone has direct exposure to Covid-19, or test positive, they should quarantine for five days. They can return to work when they are free of symptoms for 24 hours, then they are required to wear a face mask in the workplace for five calendar days.

Visitors will not be required to wear masks within city facilities, but the city will encourage it. Employees will also not be required to wear masks.

However, with the Covid-19 situation constantly changing, Boyd proposed that the city manager have authority to change the city’s Covid policies when necessary and/or during a surge.

City Manager Earl Coffey will have discretion to put in administrative protocols he deems necessary during a red incident, mainly to prevent loss of time from waiting to discuss protocols in commission meetings. The commission approved these policies unanimously.

The commission also discussed the Danville-Boyle County Airport’s annexation. After Commissioner Denise Terry made a motion for the first reading of ordinance number 1985 to annex 583 acres that includes the airport, Mayor Mike Perros seconded the motion. The commission then discussed the ordinance for nearly an hour.

Coffey emphasized that the main goal of annexation is to promote economic development for both the city and the airport. The city would not tax individual airplanes.

Chairman of the Airport Board Robert Caldwell said board members feel that the airport doesn’t need to be annexed to promote economic development. He said the airport has already achieved economic development on its own.

He is disappointed in the way the city is going about annexation, and about the amount of communication and collaboration between commissioners and the airport board.

“I just feel that there’s really no reason to do this unless you’re wanting to run an airport, and if you do, you should, but I wish you would come out and get to know more about it,” Caldwell said.
City Attorney Stephen Dexter said Danville would not have any authority over airport operations or the airport board if annexed.
“Annexation has zero to do with operations,” Dexter said. “Not only is the city not interested in operating an airport, the city is precluded by law in doing just that.”
Coffey said annexation would promote partnerships with the city for tourism and businesses. With no interstate highway through Danville, the city relies on rail and air travel to attract big businesses looking to relocate.
Annexation would result in a decreased total tax burden. It would also improve fire services to the airport, as federal grant dollars for the city could provide on-air fire protection equipment.
“It makes it easier for the city to be a partner moving forward if it is in the city; that is the biggest purpose,” Coffey said.
Terry said she attended the recent Kentuckians for Better Transportation conference. After speaking with elected officials and people who work at other airports, she has no doubt that annexation would benefit both parties and spur economic development.
“Leadership, collaboration, a plan, and moving forward together are the only way we are going to succeed as a community,” Terry said.
While Terry and Perros expressed support for the annexation, commissioners Kevin Caudill, Jennie Hollon and J.H. Atkins indicated confliction and confusion.
Hollon said she has been on the fence about the ordinance since the beginning. Atkins said he hears mixed opinions from his constituents about annexation. After the discussions and hearing the airport board’s concerns, he is undecided on the issue. Since Atkins had been traveling during recent city meetings, he requested that the commission table the matter.
Wanting to learn more and have more time to make a decision, Atkins asked that they postpone the vote until the next meeting on Feb. 1. Perros rescinded his second motion for voting on the ordinance, and Terry rescinded her motion.
In other business, the city commission:
• Approved the first reading of ordinance number 1988 to change the zone for approx. 56 acres at 0 S. Danville Bypass from agriculture to multi-family residential and highway business.
• Recognized Water Treatment Plant Operator Johnny Hogue, who retired in January, for years of service. He worked at the water plant in Danville since early 2020, and has worked in water and wastewater for 26 years in different places. He is also an air force veteran.
• Approved a fee increase of $35,500 from the streetscape consultant. The consultant needed to increase the design fee to work on a portion of 4th street that was not included in the initial scope. They will make upgrades to the Weisiger Park fountain. City Engineer Josh Morgan said they plan to start construction on June 6, the Monday after the Brass Band festival.
• Approved a fee increase of $22,500 for the architectural firm that designed the Public Works building improvements. The firm designed drawings several years ago, but building codes have changed since then. They will use the fee to update drawings using current building code requirements.
• Boyle County Public Health Director Brent Blevins said that from Jan. 1 to 20, the county had 659 new cases. He said the current Omicron surge is likely at its peak and cases may start to decrease soon.
• With the postponement of the MLK celebration on Jan. 17 due to a snowstorm, the city has 150 MLK t-shirts they are giving away to citizens. Atkins said people can come to city hall and ask for the free shirts at the front desk. They are available in small, medium, large, XL, and XXL.