City of Middlesboro to hold Strategic Planning Workshop on April 25

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, April 18, 2024

Middlesboro Mayor Boone Bowling invited everyone to come out to the city’s first ever strategic planning workshop on Thursday, April 25 during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“It’s a very exciting thing for our city. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a strategic plan from our government side, it’s something we’ve been wanting to implement from all of our budgeting to really move our city forward,” he said. “Several cities have been putting these together — London, Corbin, Prestonsburg, Pineville. You see these plans as one of the first steps in getting to larger projects. Pineville did this probably 10 years ago, they found out that their downtown was a big priority and that laid the foundation for what’s going on there.

“It’s a way to get everybody from the community together in one place and say, ‘This is our community, where do we want to take it?’”

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The strategic planning workshop will start at 6 p.m. at the newly renovated Community Center on Thursday, April 25.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted to establish the Middlesboro Broadband and Technology Board and approved the appointments of Brad Cawood, Larry Grandey, Austin Jones, Matt Saylor and Tommy Joe Mike to serve on that board.

“Right now we do not know entirely what that will entail. We have been asked by the state to get it set up. Pineville has already done it and other cities will be in the next few months,” Bowling said. “The hope is that some money will be coming down from the state level at some point for more broadband technology.”

There is some grant money available for broadband expansion, but cities must have a Broadband Board in place to be eligible to apply.

“I think it’s a good thing to go ahead and have this done,” Mike said. “Instead of playing catch-up, we’re going to be ahead of the game so it’s a good thing for the city.”

The council also voted to advertise for bids for the pressure washing of sidewalks from 19th to 22nd streets.

“This looks like it’s a very time-consuming and big project that we are not equipped to do ourselves,” Council member Glynna Brown said.

Bowling said he had looked at the area to be pressured washed and it was about 80,000 square feet.

“We don’t have the manpower nor the capability to do that,” he said.

He said the council would hold a special called meeting to open and award the bids.

The official city zoning map was accepted by the council upon the recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Board. Bowling said there were no changes in zoning, but a new map would be printed by JMT (previously Vaughn & Melton) with more distinct lines outlining the city’s zones.

“They have redone that just to make it more of a professional image for our variance board to use so they can see what each area is zoned for and what they are not,” he said.

Travis Heck was formally appointed as the Street Department superintendent.

Action to approve and sign a resolution for a Land Water Conservation grant was tabled until next month’s meeting. Bowling said he was waiting on two quotes to come in so he would know the exact amount needed.

Romell Johnson asked if the city had to hire an attorney for the Codes Enforcement Board. During last month’s meeting the council voted to enter into an employment agreement with Samuel Davies as a specialized law enforcement lawyer.

Bowling explained that Davies, based in Barbourville, has become a leader in helping a lot of cities with their codes and enforcement.

“The Kentucky League of Cities will often reference him on anything code-related,” the mayor said. “He’s not an attorney for the board, he’s for our actual code enforcement. He’ll go through and let us know what ordinances and maintenance agreements we need to get in place in order to have a better product for our codes enforcement. He’ll take over any litigation for our codes enforcement.”

Mike added that Davies helps out with making sure the city’s codes don’t overlap or contradict each other.

“We need to go through as a whole group and really get our codes where they need to be. Some of those are really out of date,” Bowling said.

Davies will be handling codes enforcement cases while Jessie Moberg remains the city’s attorney for any other matters.