Danville discusses retail development plan on bypass, utility projects, noise ordinance

Published 5:50 pm Monday, July 18, 2022

By: Jared Darwish and Fiona Morgan

The Danville City Commission welcomed Casey Bolton from Commonwealth Economics to discuss a possible investment into a multi-million dollar infrastructure project at their meeting on Monday.

Bolton went over plans with the commission to build a 100-room hotel, two retail stores, and two restaurants next to the Lowes on the bypass.

The suggested funding was to use an Industrial Revenues Bond (IRB) which would allow the city to take life of the property for a 30 year period without having it go on the city’s tax rolls during that time. By Commonwealth Economics projection, the project would create $243,000,000 in wages and over 200 permanent jobs.

The revenue the city would see from the project is in the form of property tax abatements owed by the county and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) owed by schools and other taxing districts.

This plan would net $15 million in tax abatement and $10 million in payments in lieu of taxes over a 30 year period.

Bolton said the project would generate $26.7 million in local tax revenue and would leave $17.2 million in net tax benefits for county, city, and schools.

When Commissioner J.H. Atkins asked about project fall out and downside, Bolton told the commission there isn’t much downside.

“The great thing about this is that it puts the pressure on developers to find interest and revenue because if they don’t, then they lose out on the abated taxes and other benefits,” Bolton explained. “Unlike other projects this isn’t the city’s responsibility just to generate interest.”

City Manager Earl Coffey ended the discussion with a notion of support saying, “Me, C.J Mains, and Casey have been working on this hard and I think it’s a good thing for our city.”

The next step for the project is to start formalizing agreements and get participation from all schools and the county.

Utility projects

Utilities Director Marshall Carrier updated the commission on a number of topics, such as Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) rate increases, and new projects taking place.

According to Carrier, the city has seen a $1.4 million increase in utilities compared to the last budget. This uptick can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on COLA, Carrier explained.

The COLA increase currently sits at 7% from its usual 1-2%. However, Coffey said that this was a penny to penny increase rather than an actual 7% rise in cost.

“On a $10 bill, you’re looking at a 70 cent change in billing,” Coffey said.

Carrier also provided updates on city projects such as Perryville Booster Pump Station, Perryville Road, Danville Waste Water Treatment Plant, Kate Drive Waterline, Sanitary Sewer phases 1 and 2 on Lebanon Road, Springfield Interconnection project, and Spears Creek Sewer Pump Station.

For more information on completion of these projects go to the City of Danville YouTube page, click on the meeting video from July 11, and start at the 1:48:10 mark in the video.

Noise Ordinance

In the previous meeting, the commission passed the first reading of ordinance 1997, which amends the alcohol ordinance. Since that time, Codes Officer Bridgette Lester had recommended minor changes. One of the changes to the amendement deletes a requirement in the ordinance that says outdoor seating is limited to a temporary basis, weather permitting.

City Attorney Stephen Dexter said the city will either allow outdoor seating indefinitely, or give permits to business owners and not restrict the outdoor seating to a seasonal basis.

Police Chief Tony Gray said businesses would be able to choose whether or not to keep outdoor seating past the summer, especially since Kentucky usually has nice days in October.

With this change, the alcohol ordinance became a first reading, and the commission passed it.

In other business, the council:

• Passed the second reading of ordinance 1996, which amends the nuisance ordinance. The amendment serves to exempt sounds from retail establishments, sidewalk cafes, and outdoor entertainment and event venues.

The amendment is in response to restaurants and other businesses downtown wanting to play music outside for their outdoor areas.

A change to the amendment for the second reading regards the permitting requirement for entertainment. Before, businesses had a limit of four permits per year for events. This did not include recurring events, like the farmer’s market or library events. Now, there is no limit to the number of permits a business can receive for events.

• Received updates from Kentucky School for the Deaf on events coming up for their 200th anniversary celebrations, such as their Deaf Olympics going until July 16, DeaFestival starting on September 3, Finke Fun Run 5k on October 22, Pancake breakfast on November 5, Jacobs Hall Museum Christmas Tour December 10 and 11, KSD 200th Anniversary Celebration Gala April 10-15, 2023, and more events. For more information go to https://www.ksd200yearsold.com/

• Finance Director Leigh Compton brought up the software purchases the city made for both the finance and utility department. She spoke about how the new software will help with better budget making for finance, and more efficient billing for the utility department.

“This new software will allow better transparency than we currently have in our departments,” Compton said.

• Fire Chief Doug Simpson gave a fire department update. He said the department has made 1,336 runs so far this year. Their average response time is 3 minutes and 43 seconds within the city limits.

The new central fire station on Main Street is almost ready to open. They will have a dedication ceremony on August 26 at 11 a.m., and will have public tours at noon.