Bowling Green City Commission Tackles Many Topics at Special Meeting

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

The Bowling Green City Commission held a special work session and meeting Thursday.

The meeting was originally scheduled for last Monday, March 5th.

However, a glitch in advertising for the meeting caused the change.

The Commission was supposed to discuss Fiscal Year 2007's General Obligation bonds, but it was the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts that got all the attention.

"When I saw this $1.8 million being a part of our bond issue to borrow $1.8 million the specific purpose of buying the land, I got excited that finally we're gonna meet our promise," says Commissioner Brian Strow.

The promise Strow is referring to is the City's agreement to purchase the rest of the property needed for SKYPAC to become a reality.

Even though the 1.8 million dollars is supposed to go to buy the land.... that may not be happening anytime soon.

"What we are not committing to do at this point in time is to move forward and buy land without that commitment on the part of the SKYPAC board," says Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker.

The City has been waiting for SKYPAC to raise $5 million to get construction off the ground.

SKYPAC says they're waiting for the City to purchase the rest of the land so they can attract the needed money.

Under the bonds guidelines, if SKYPAC fails to hold up their end of the deal, within the next three years, the City can use the $1.8 million on other capital projects.

But Commissioner Brian Strow says if the City earmarks the money for SKYPAC, that's where its should go.

"All I ask is that if we're going to borrow 1.8 million we need to spend it exactly how they stated it and gave the reason for borrowing it," says Strow.

In the end, the Commission voted to bond the money for SKYPAC.

"I'm excited that we have committed to the $1.8 million for acquisition of land for SKYPAC because it sends a message that we are serious about this.

Mayor Elaine Walker says the ball is now in SKYPAC's court.

For the second time in the past two months Mayor Elaine Walker's traveling expenses were discussed in Commission Chambers.

Commissioner Brian Strow told the Commission that he thought Mayor Walker should pay for her own trip to the United States Conference Of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Mayor Walker took a train from Birmingham, Alabama to D.C.

The total cost was $421.

"I believe the taxpayers should only fund for a round-trip flight, the cheapest round-trip flight to go to a conference. I think if you want to take a different means of transportation, you should have to pay for that," says Commissioner Strow.

Tempers flared as Mayor Walker defended herself and told the Commission that she checked with the City's Finance Department and got the okay prior to the trip.

"Before I took the trip, I ensured that there was a policy in place, that I was in compliance with that policy so that by taking a train trip I would not violate any policy," defends Walker.

Last month both Commissioners Brian Strow and "Slim" Nash questioned a $800 price tag for her November trips to the National League Of Cities Conference and the U.S Conference Of Mayors in Washington.

The Commission voted 3 to 2 in favor of Mayor Walker, so the city will pay the Mayor's traveling expenses.


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