Author: cityofbereaky

Move-in Day at the Berea Municipal Police and Fire Safety Building

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It was move-in day Tuesday at the Berea Municipal Police and Fire Safety Building. Workers arrived to install furniture in the new facility, and some city employees began to unpack. Though the whole staff isn’t expected to be fully settled in until the first week of March, the Berea Fire Department may occupy their space as early as this weekend. The new building will provide long-overdue upgrades to training and living facilities for Berea’s firefighters. An open house for the public is tentatively planned for early March.

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Codes Administrator Amanda Haney checked a list of furnishings to be delivered to the Planning and Codes Department’s new offices on Chestnut Street.

Community Room

The new community room in Berea’s municipal building on Chestnut Street is larger than the previous room, providing a spacious venue for staff and local community and civic groups.

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Workers were busy assembling furniture in the offices of the Berea Police Department. Unlike the damp, windowless facilities in the basement of the current police and municipal center, the new building is more secure, provides more security and privacy for the public, and it provides a healthier working environment for officers and staff.

The biggest change order for the $12.7 million project was for $2.3 million in savings when the city opted to purchase supplies directly instead of having them purchased by the building contractor. Currently, the project cost variance is approximately three percent over the original estimated cost, though that cost is expected to drop further after the final change order is submitted.

 

 

 

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Phase II of Berea Bypass Nixed from 6-Year Road Plan

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The end of the road? Hopefully it’s not the end say city officials, who believe the bypass could greatly impact Berea’s potential for future economic development.

 

Berea Bypass Phase II has hit a snag after it was recently removed from the state’s six-year road plan.

Berea City Administrator Randy Stone made the announcement last week at a meeting of the Berea City Council, noting the next stage of the roadway didn’t make the cut. The project, which is estimated to cost between $24 million and $27 million, has been in the works for years, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently secured right-of-way that would have enabled the project to proceed. The second phase of the road was planned to run from U.S. 25 N. to Highway 21 E.

Officials expressed concern about the cut, noting the bypass means a lot to Berea’s potential for industrial and economic growth. The matter is currently in the hands of state legislators, and city officials say they have consulted with Senator Jared Carpenter (R-34) in the hope of having the second part of the bypass restored to the state’s road plan. Carpenter aided the city in securing full-funding for the widening of U.S. 25. N.

Champions: Feb. 7 Proclaimed Madison Southern Varsity Football Day in Berea

footballTuesday night at a meeting of the Berea City Council, Mayor Steve Connelly signed a proclamation honoring the varsity football champions of Madison Southern High School. Southern’s 2017 gridiron squad broke a number of school records for achievement, including wins in a season and a Region 3 championship. Mayor Connelly’s proclamation read as follows:

 

Whereas, The Mayor and City Council of the City of Berea value and support the school systems in Berea and their work in educating and training the students of our community to be good citizens and our future leaders; and

Whereas, the Madison Southern High School varsity football team achieved significant accomplishments in 2017, starting with winning the 6th District championship, and then becoming the first Madison Southern team to win the championship of Region 3, and the first to win semi-state and to play in a state championship game, and the first to be Class 5-A runner-up, and in the process, becoming the first Madison Southern team to win 11 games, concluding with an overall record of 11-4;

Now, therefore, to publicize and celebrate the achievements of these young athletes, and to express our community’s pride and respect for their accomplishments, I hereby declare February 7, 2018 Madison Southern Varsity Football Day in Berea and ask all citizens to congratulate them on their performance and to wish them success in their future education and life’s work.

 

Berea’s major infrastructure investments since 1993

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Since 1993, the City of Berea has embarked on over 60 major infrastructure projects, employing 21 primary contractors and an untold number of subcontractors. That’s not including the city’s most recent investment in the Berea Municipal Police and Fire Safety Building. The partial list below highlights a significant turn-around for Berea when compared to the late 1980s, when officials considered closing city parks for lack of revenue. Berea’s fortunes turned in 1993 when the Berea City Council levied occupational license fees on local employers.  In addition, the city secured many state and federal grants. Since that time, Berea has completed nearly $27 million worth of infrastructure and improvement projects, according to a recent inventory completed by the Berea Planning and Codes Department.

                                                 CITY OF BEREA MAJOR PROJECTS
PROJECT DATE PROJECT DESCRIPTION FINAL PRICE
1993 Berea Community Park $  2,300,000.00
1993 Intergenerational Building $     350,000.00
1995 Landfill Closure $   4,000,000.00
1998 Sidewalk Project (Various) $        93,077.99
1998 Valley/Boone St. Drainage $       112,725.50
1998 Forest St. Drainage Project $         48,347.96
1999 Glades/1016 Intersection $       225,032.00
1999 City Hall Renovation $       500,000.00
2000 Post Office Renovation $       903,507.77
2001 Glades Road Reconstruction $     1,834,261.75
2002 Logston Lane Reconstruction $       119,613.38
2002 N. Broadway Reconstruction $       737,508.12
2002 Intergenerational classroom add. $       102,280.00
2003 Boone Street $       190,112.12
2003 Ball Field Refurbish $         73,723.05
2004 Shirley Street Reconstruction $         95,434.75
2004 Glades/Rash Rd. traffic signal $         49,000.00
2004 Ellipse/Jefferson Traffic Signal $         33,345.00
2005 Utility and Public Works Build. $       655,000.00
2005 Park Storage Bldg. and Office $         49,900.00
2006 Maintenance Garage $       185,810.00
2006 Blythe Court Reconstruction $         99,223.00
2007 Shortline Pike Reconstruction $       405,315.75
2007 Chestnut Street Park $    331,698.00
2007 Forest /Center Street Intersec. $         54,287.00
2007 Boone Street Improvements $       238,000.00
2008 McKinney Right Turn Lane $         23,538.65
2008 Berea Industrial Sewer Line $       286,626.96
2008 Industrial Pk. Rd. (Farristown) $       874,805.00
2008 Jane Street Connector $       184,205.90
2008 Mayde Road Reconstruction $     2,339,900.00
2009 1016 Sidewalk (Cemetery Hill) $       139,515.75
2010 Park Expansion Contract #1 $     1,049,999.75
2010 Park Expansion Contract #2 $       651,610.40
2010 Park Expansion Contract #3 $       162,926.00
2010 Prospect St. Reconstruction $     2,253,978.00
2011 Welcome Center Renovation $       535,352.00
2011 Baldwin Street Bridge $         36,509.00
2011 Folk Center Roof $       118,836.00
2012 Shortline Pike Extension $       179,223.88
2012 Menelaus Pike Design $       414,005.00
2013 Mayde Road Bike Path $       109,415.00
2013 Prospect Street Lighting $         26,203.00
2013 Folk Center Kitchen $         81,294.00
2013 Menelaus Road Utility relocate $         77,137.76
2014 Bratcher Lane Reconstruction $     1,074,733.25
2014 Pumphouse Chemical add. $         11,615.00
2014 Indian Fort Trail and Bridge $       377,631.00
2015 Water Street Drainage $       291,183.26
2017 Richmond Road Design $       687,883.00
2016 Ford Building Renovation $         33,185.00
2016 Food Bank Addition $         76,042.00
2016 Salt Bin Expansion $         17,702.00
2016 County Clerk Renovation $       101,301.00
2017 Cumberland/Hughes Street $       277,585.00
2018 Filtration refurbish $         40,000.00
2018 Splash Pad at Berea Pool $       225,000.00
     
2018 Berea Community Stadium $      225,000.00
TOTAL $ 26,771,145.70
1997- Present Total $ 20,121,145.70

Parks and Rec Committee Considers Alternatives for Dog Park

dogparkcutThe location for a proposed Berea dog park has changed, according to Berea City Councilman Tom Schultz. On Tuesday, Schultz said the decision was made during a December 28 meeting of the council’s Parks and Recreation Committee.

The originally proposed site for the park was located between the John Stephenson Trail and Berea Country Club on a decommissioned sewer plant. But after Harrison Road and Harrison Court residents voiced concerns about the park at a recent town hall meeting, committee members offered another solution.

“The committee has agreed to pursue a new site above the BMU building, near where the solar farm is located,” Schultz said. “This location still offers trail access, and is large enough to provide for the original plans for the park. The new site also takes the concerns of Harrison Road residents into account.”

Initial sketches for the dog park include plans for two separated areas (to segregate big and small dogs), playground equipment, restrooms, an athletic field, and a pavilion. The final cost of the project is yet to be determined. According to Schultz, the committee plans to present two options for the new dog park at a town hall meeting next month.

In other business, Schultz said the committee is considering options to allow local businesses to sponsor advertising near Indian Fort Theatre and the Pinnacles. Schultz said the use of signage that includes Quick Response or QR barcodes at the site would allow visitors and hikers to visit websites sponsored by local businesses. Ideally, visitors could then use the QR codes to obtain discount coupons with their cell phones, then spend money in local restaurants, hotels and shops. That idea will be explored further when committee members consult with Berea Tourism and Peter Hackbert from Berea College, Schultz said.

On the issue of the Swing for a Cure charity softball tournament, Schultz reported the committee heard from organizer Tom Howser. After a meeting this month, Howser said he will be reporting back to the Parks and Recreation Committee to let them know what they can expect from the July event.

Concerning progress on Duerson Field at Berea Community School, Schultz reported the city finalized a 10-year agreement in which Berea Independent School District will pay the city $6,000 annually to cover the cost of the stadium press box. The city will pay for the new bleachers. Work on the stadium will begin in the spring, and plans are to have the new facility in place in time for the annual July 4th celebration.

The next meeting of the Parks and Recreation Committee is January 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Berea Municipal Utilities building on Harrison Road.

 

Council Faces Million Dollar Question on Hazardous Duty

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The City of Berea will pay at least $580,000 more annually for non-hazardous retirement benefits for its employees in the next fiscal year. That is a certainty. But it may pay an additional $550,000 every year for a total of $1.1 million if the city enrolls police and fire personnel in hazardous duty retirement coverage. $550K or $1.1 million. Council members were presented with that financial dilemma Monday night when officials met in a special called meeting to discuss Berea’s participation in the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). The city has been enrolled in non-hazardous coverage since 1992.

Monday’s session consisted of a presentation by City Administrator Randy Stone, followed by questions and comments from council members. Points addressed at the meeting included:

  • Councilman Steve Caudill suggested the city should offer hazardous retirement duty benefits to police officers and firefighters so Berea can continue attracting and retaining a qualified group of first responders. The program enables first responders to retire as much as 5 years earlier than non-hazardous duty employees, theoretically allowing the city to maintain a younger stable of police officers and firefighters.
  • When informally polled by council members Tom Schultz and Billy Wooten, first responders indicated they want hazardous duty retirement benefits.
  • Caudill noted Berea is the only entity in the county that is not enrolled in hazardous duty coverage.
  • Councilman Jim Davis cautioned there’s no way of knowing how much CERS program costs will increase next year, adding that once cities are enrolled in the hazardous duty program, they can’t drop out.
  • Bluegrass Health declined to continue as the city’s health care provider next year. Until bids are solicited, it is unknown how much health care will cost the city and its employees in 2018-2019.
  • Councilman Ronnie Terrill suggested the city should wait until after the upcoming legislative session to determine whether enrolling in hazardous duty is in the best interests of the city.
  • Councilman Jerry Little, while not opposed to joining the program, stated city leaders should know how much it will cost and how the city will pay for it before enrolling.
  • Stone said because he doesn’t anticipate an increase in the city’s revenue stream, council would likely have to consider a number of options for funding the yearly rate hike, which would not be less than $1.1 million annually if the city enrolled in the program. Options include cutting expenditures, paring back current staffing levels, doing away with the city’s rainy-day fund, cutting certain equipment purchases, or possibly exploring increases in property and/or insurance taxes.
  • If there are increased retirement costs in the coming years, Little questioned whether that could necessitate personnel cuts, and if so, whether having fewer police officers and firefighters could potentially endanger public safety.
  • The council directed Stone to assemble budget projections to determine the potential costs of the program, and to present said report to the Audit and Finance Committee.
  • The council’s Audit and Finance Committee will discuss the matter again in a future meeting to determine if the city should enroll in hazardous duty retirement coverage program before the next fiscal year.

The City of Berea’s Accomplishments for 2017: 35 Highlights

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The City of Berea’s commitment to infrastructure investment is one reason manufacturers expanded their operations in Berea in 2017. Infrastructure upgrades are among the city’s many notable accomplishments for the year.  

 

The City of Berea completed several projects in 2017, improving the infrastructure of the city, creating a positive atmosphere for job and business creation, and keeping Berea on solid financial footing, all while addressing the future needs of the community. Here’s just a sample of what the City of Berea accomplished in 2017:

  1. Property was acquired for shared use trails that will link up as much as 15 miles of trails around Berea, expanding tourism options for visitors and creating new health and recreation resources for local residents.
  2. A plan to widen U.S. 25 North from Ellipse Street to the Bypass was approved after city officials successfully lobbied state legislators to fully fund the road project.
  3. Confronted with a 40% increase in electric rates over five years, Berea bid out its contract for an electric power provider and will now be paying lower electric rates beginning in 2019. The change potentially saves rate payers up to $2 million annually.
  4. The Berea City Council unanimously passed a budget for the first time since 2011. Meanwhile, in fiscal year 2016-2017, the city took in $2.8 million more revenue than expected, and spent $6 million less than it had budgeted.
  5. Duerson Stadium was removed and recycled, and the city is working with Berea Independent Schools to install a new facility in time for the 4th of July celebration and the beginning of the Berea Pirates football season.
  6. Parks and Recreation won funding for the Splash Pad at the Berea Swimming Pool, providing for safe summer activities for small children.
  7. Berea City Park fields were improved, including upgrade of baseball and soccer fields.
  8. The City ended the fiscal year with money in the bank, including $2.7 million set aside for emergencies and $2.2 million in a capital projects fund.
  9. Berea Business Development supported and encouraged the opening of several new business ventures in the city, including restaurants, retailers and craft businesses. More establishments, such as Apollo Pizza, are working toward openings after the new year.
  10. The South Cumberland/Hughes Avenue drainage project was completed under budget.
  11. Manufacturing sites in the Berea Industrial Park were shown to 6 prospective clients in 2017, up from just 2 prospective clients in 2016.
  12. The City passed a resolution and provided logistical support for the 2017 Spoonbread Festival, which organizers reported was the best attended yet.
  13. Berea Planning and Zoning is processing new building permits at an increasing pace as the demand for new housing continues to grow.
  14. A 2008 park improvement debt bond was paid off years ahead of schedule.
  15. The Walnut Meadow Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation project was completed.
  16. Hitachi and Novelis finished expansion projects on their property, investing in their Berea operations and employing more people. Both cited a successful partnership with the City.
  17. The City of Berea supported the expansion and continued development of the Central Kentucky Regional Airport, a facility that is vital to future economic progress.
  18. Berea supported a syringe needle exchange program to help combat the scourge of heroin abuse and the spread of deadly disease in Madison County.
  19. The design for a dog park facility was completed and reviewed in public meetings.
  20. The City helped financially disadvantaged residents by partially funding the Summer Food Service Program to the tune of $4,000.
  21. The Berea Police Department continued the Too Good for Drugs program in local schools, encouraging middle school students make positive life choices and resist substance abuse.
  22. The City began extension of the sewer collection system in the Menelaus Road section of the Berea Industrial Park.
  23. Berea Tourism’s craft workshops continued climbing in overall sales, drawing out-of-town consumers that benefited local artisans and boosted sales at Berea restaurants, retailers and motels.
  24. The Berea City Council unanimously passed a resolution denouncing hate and harassment.
  25. Berea Tourism supported new and successful community events, including the Amp-Levitt Concert Series and the Swing for a Cure charity softball tournament. Existing events, such as the Twilight Christmas Parade, Celtic Festival, Berea Maker’s Market and Berea Arena Theater were also supported with Tourism funds.
  26. Berea staged the inaugural First Responders summer camp for local youths.
  27. Most of the Berea Municipal Fire and Safety Building was completed, including needed facilities for new fire and police stations.
  28. Berea’s first online auction of surplus property was a success, enabling the city to recover funds for unused or obsolete inventory.
  29. The City supported the first Berea Business Fest, an event that encourages Berea College students to patronize local businesses and organizations.
  30. Officials worked with Berea College to initiate a low cost “movie night” event in Berea, a pilot project that potentially provides a new entertainment alternative for local residents.
  31. The City has contracted for a study on the prospect of attracting a major grocery retailer.
  32. Berea Business Development trained emerging entrepreneurs through the Kauffman- FastTrac NewVenture program, giving participants skills and tools to launch home-grown businesses in Berea. Some graduates have already opened storefronts in Berea.
  33. The Berea Human Rights Commission recognized Mae Suramek and Nick Carpenter for their contributions in making Berea a more inclusive and welcoming community.
  34. The City of Berea received a clean financial audit for Fiscal Year 2016-2017.
  35. The Berea City Council did not raise property tax rates in 2017.