Russell

(Austin Horn | The State Journal)

In a short work session on Monday night, the city commission voted unanimously to put $316,000 in state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) towards work on a city sewer pump station that would service the long-languishing sewer service for the Farmdale Sanitation District.

The funds would help a project outside city limits that has long been aimed at fixing major sewage issues in the southwest quadrant of Franklin County — much of which is serviced by inadequate wastewater treatment plants. The Franklin County Fiscal Court is currently seeking federal funding to install the interceptor sewer system, which would eliminate the need for six wastewater treatment plants to direct all wastewater to the planned Twilight Trail pump station and send it to the city for treatment.

The city’s $316,000 is designated to go toward that pump station. The money comes through ARPA funds that the state was awarded through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. Franklin County’s total allocation is approximately $1.9 million.

Sewer Director Kenny Hogsten presented briefly on the project, expressing his strong support for it. He assured the commission that if his department needs to change something about the funds’ allocation, then he would come back to them.

Russell’s goodbye

July 12 was city manager Tom Russell’s last day on the job, marking 11 months at the city’s highest administrative office. He is replaced by Laura Hagg, a Frankfort native with extensive international local government experience, whose first day is Tuesday.

Russell, who has continued to serve as Frankfort-Franklin County Emergency Management Director, took on the role in a 4-1 vote from the previous commission shortly after that group voted to fire former city manager Keith Parker. 

All city commissioners — even Katrisha Waldridge and Kyle Thompson, who openly advocated for removing Russell as City Manager earlier this year — spoke highly of Russell’s service to Frankfort. 

“I know that I came in like a bull in a china shop,” Thompson said. “… I’m thankful that you and I have become friends throughout this. You were thrown into this position and you have performed in a good way.”

“I slept a lot better at night knowing that you were at the helm,” Commissioner Kelly May said. “I’ll continue to sleep well at night knowing that you’re still going to be in the building and continuing to do what you do.”

Waldridge and Commissioner Leesa Unger, as well as Mayor Layne Wilkerson, also thanked Russell.

Russell kept his comments brief.

“All of those comments go to those people back there,” Russell said, pointing to members of city staff. “I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The city ended its meeting with a lengthy closed session discussion on pending litigation.

Per the agenda, the discussion included “potential litigation regarding past personnel actions and claims of discrimination against the City of Frankfort.”

Waldridge made a motion, which was unanimously passed, to send the letter discussed in closed session to Terri Bradshaw, President/CEO of KCDC.

The State Journal has requested a copy of that letter, but did not receive one by press time.

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