WILMINGTON — “We never said no at anywhere in the process,” said Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers during Thursday night’s council meeting.
Evers addressed concerns and speculation involving the recent news of Amazon locating its cargo hub in Northern Kentucky instead of at the Wilmington Air Park. One of these included a suggestion that the Port Authority declined to sell the air park to Amazon, which Evers said was incorrect — he stated they were never asked by the company, any representative, or anyone involved in pursuing this opportunity.
“It is probably worth noting that an acquisition of that type would have a significant impact on the purchaser because all of the real estate at the air park would then become subject to real property tax. This would include the runways, the ramps, and the parking areas,” he said.
Evers then addressed a statement that said they had declined to lease additional square feet to the company. He said that they never had a lease with the company.
“We endeavor to be as flexible and as accommodating as we could possibly be in both accommodating the pilot project as well as laying the groundwork for a longer-term opportunity,” said Evers.
He said that the air park was one of the three places in the country that Amazon considered choosing, which he thinks speaks volumes about the viability of that asset.
State of the City
Earlier in the council meeting, Mayor John Stanforth gave his State of the City address. He said the state of the city has improved, due to the hard work of the departments that were able to keep their spending under control and minimize finance requests in 2016 — all while getting the job done.
Stanforth also noted the increase of jobs which was reflected by income tax collection being up for 2016.
“It is a boost to future projects and gives the city a chance to look for new opportunities for improvement,” said Stanforth. “It’s going to continue to improve because of the faith and generosity of the citizens who have trusted us with more of their money, approving a (temporary) .5-percent income tax increase. I am humbled by the trust the citizens have given the city council and the administration. As I have said previously, I won’t let you down.”
Stanforth also spoke about how already scheduled paving projects were secured because of the ability to leverage grants and having funds available for the grant match requirements. He is also developing a plan to maintain the streets, and beautification projects will continue which include “aggressive code enforcement” for neglected and abandoned properties.
“We will continue moving forward together for an even more successful Wilmington. We will continue to be accountable to our citizens. We will continue fulfilling our promises,” Stanforth concluded.
Stanforth then made a proclamation that Feb. 2, 2017 would be known as Paul Hunter Day. The motion was made in regards to the hard work and dedication that local citizen Paul Hunter has shown toward the community. His work with the Clinton County Regional Planning Commission, his efforts in creating a no-cost summer food program for kids, and for the contributions he has made “as a champion of truth, transparency, and progress” were cited as reasons for the proclamation.
In a short speech, Hunter said that what motivated him was that the city educated, recreated, and protected his children while he was overseas working.
“A pat on the back is worth thousands of dollars when it’s serious,” said Hunter.
Also during council:
• During the Water Committee report, council member Kelsey Swindler requested that the fluoride resolution removed from the table be put on the agenda for the next council meeting. This was done out of concerns that they could not keep the resolution tabled for multiple meetings. The motion was approved by council.
• Three ordinances and two resolutions were passed during the Finance Committee report. The ordinances involved making supplemental appropriations, and the second was to make a new fund called “Natureworks CLIN-20”, and authorizing payment of expenses incurred in prior fiscal year. The resolutions involved approving the submitted finance requests for retained hotel lodging tax funds and authorizing a request for advance payment of settlement from the county.
• Council member Matt Purkey said the Judiciary Committee would be meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 15 to discuss the timeline for the re-zoning process.
• Council member Joe Spicer said the Solid Waste/Recycling Committee will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 16.
• Council member Joe Spicer told the council that a citizen of his ward expressed concerns over feral cats. Council member Matt Purkey added the topic to the Judiciary Committee agenda.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574