The Frankfort City Commission discussed a de-annexation request at its Tuesday work session.
Thomas Keesling, owner of a property on Cardwell Lane, said he requested de-annexation of his property a year ago, but the city commission took no action.
“Waiting for an action over a year is not conducive to good government,” Keesling said. He showed drawings from a 1978 ordinance showing his property is not part of the city.
"Cities are loathe to de-annex,” said Commissioner Scott Tippett, arguing that de-annexing Keesling’s property would set a negative precedent, forcing the commission to consider similar requests over and over.
“From a general standpoint, we don’t recommend it,” said City Manager Laura Ross. “As far as the city goes, our burden rests in relying on a properly enacted ordinance and the Property Valuation Administrator records, which is what we have before us at this time.”
According to the current ordinance, Keesling’s land was properly annexed by the city in 1978. Initially, the PVA did not have it correctly listed, but made the change.
“We have to rely on the 1978 ordinance,” Ross said.
The commission did not vote to proceed with consideration of the de-annexation.
“You don’t have three votes,” Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge told Keesling. “That’s your final answer.”
Next, commissioners discussed plans to revitalize Blanton’s Landing, a 30-foot dock free public dock. City Manager Keith Parker said the best approach is to seek requests for proposals from outside developers.
Commissioner Eric Whisman disagreed.
“I would like to maybe step back just a little bit,” he said, noting that the city’s original master plan for revitalizing the area was too limited. For instance, he added, there was no planning for the South Frankfort side of the river.
Commissioner John Sower suggested that waiting for more changes would not be helpful.
“I agree with Sower,” Waldridge said. “We need to go ahead and step forward with this.”
“It’s very much a progress,” Tippett said. “If we mess it up, we can fix it, but I don’t think we will mess it up."
Parker discussed the Broadway Bridge feasibility project, noting that the lowest cost to save the existing bridge is $2.3 million.
“This does not include underwater inspection,” he said.
A brand new bridge would cost $1.6 million.
Whisman argued for restoring the old bridge, calling it “an absolute goldmine” to the community.
“You can have the Toyota or you can have the Ferrari,” Whisman said. He proposed partnering with outside groups and locals to raise more funds.
Ultimately, Parker said he will go back to the Transportation Cabinet after getting the underwater inspection done. At that point, the city can work with the state and other entities to explore funding possibilities.
Commissioners also discussed a Frankfort Independent Schools interlocal agreement that provides internet access to students in certain areas of the city. Waldridge said she and FIS Superintendent Houston Barber made updates to the agreement.
“I like this version a lot better,” Sower said, noting that it requires more accountability for how the city’s money is being spent.
Commissioners debated whether the program serves enough students, but Tippett argued, “We’re not trying to keep folks out of the program; we’re targeting needy kids.”
Waldridge said she was concerned that FIS did not use all the money it was granted by the city last year. However, the commission agreed to move forward with the revised plan.
Finally, Parker gave an update on the TIGER Grant Project, saying that due to unanticipated design challenges, the total cost is going to be around $18,500 more than the city originally committed, raising the final design cost to nearly $540,000.
Tippett made a motion to approve a resolution with a request for the additional funding. The vote was unanimously approved.
Mayor Bill May was not present.