By MEGAN PARKER
The Needle Exchange program was the first item on the agenda at last Thursday nights Stanton City Council meeting.
“Some people say it’s (Needle Exchange Program) promoting drugs, I think different,” Mayor Dale Allen said. “At first I thought that, but when you get into this program and see what it is, it’s not that.”
There have been nine confirmed cases of HIV in Powell County, and 49 confirmed cases in neighboring Wolfe County.
“We’ve already lost our county to drugs; everybody already knows that,” said Mayor Allen as he addressed the packed room. “This is something we can do to help prevent the spread of these diseases.”
Kevin Hall, with the Lexington/Fayette County Health Department and a Powell County native, was present at the meeting to give those in attendance an accounting of what the needle exchange program entails. Fayette County has been participating in the program since Sept. 2015.
“The Needle Exchange Program will help the drug user, his or her loved ones, entire families and whole communities,” Hall said.
The Needle Exchange Program is a public health program that allows injecting drug users to exchange used needles for new ones and helps stop the spread of communicable diseases, primarily HIV and Hepatitis C.
“It’s here,” Councilman Tommy Mays said. “I’ve picked up five used needles at our city park. To me, it’s a no brainer.”
In order for the Health Department to begin with the program they had to have approval from two governing bodies. The Powell County Fiscal Court voted and agreed to having the county participate in the program. The Stanton City Council voted unanimously as well.
“I think you are the smallest community in Kentucky to do this, and you should be very proud,” Hall said.
According to Mandy Watson with the Powell County Health Department, the program should be up and running by the first of the year or early spring.
Members of the Powell County Tourism Commission were in attendance for the meeting to see how the City would vote pertaining to the recent issue arising over the restaurant tax and how the monies collected are used to promote the city.
Tim Hibbard, chairman of the Powell County Tourism Commission handed out a packet to the council that included maps, a brochure on Powell County that shows lodging and dining listings, a restaurant guide as well as a Red River Gorge Guide.
“Our goal is to attract people, visitors, to Powell County through advertising or issuing grants to different entities that are doing events that we think will bring people to Powell County,” Hibbard said.
According to Hibbard the tourism commission spent one hundred and sixty thousand dollars combined just in advertising and grants last year. Those grants were spread from Clay City, Stanton, and to the Slade area.
“Creating a board is actually mirroring what we have now,” Hibbard said.
By passing the ordinances, it would allow the city where the taxes are implemented, to have more control over how the monies collected are spent on local tourism.
The council voted four to two in favor of having the first reading of the ordinances detailed below.
The council held the first reading of an ordinance which levy’s a restaurant tax which will be effective beginning Jan. 1, 2017.
According to the ordinance the City desires to fund marketing and development of tourism within and around the city. The city will levy a restaurant ax that will not exceed 3% of the retail sales of all restaurants doing business within the city limits. By imposing the restaurant tax, the funds collected will be used to fund the City Tourism and Convention Commission to be prudent and in the best interest of the City and the residents within the city.
The council also had the first reading of an ordinance establishing a tourism and convention commission for the purpose of promoting and developing convention and tourism activities and facilities; and establishing an effective date upon publication and severability. This ordinance states that the city established a tourism and convention commission to be named the City of Stanton Tourism and Convention Commission. This Commission is for the purpose of promoting and developing convention and tourist activities and facilities within the jurisdiction of the city. The commission will be an administrative agency of the city government. It also states that nothing in the ordinance shall preclude the City of Stanton Tourism and Convention Commission for joining with other local governing bodies of cities or other counties for a joint commission upon future action of the city council and the appropriate inter-local agency agreement (KRS 91A.350). The ordinance will be published in the Clay City Times within 30 days following the adoption and will become effective upon publication.
The new city hall is almost ready, they are currently waiting on AT&T to come and install the phones. Stanton City Hall will be closing their offices on Thursday, Oct. 27 and Friday, Oct. 28 for the move into the new building and should be up and running in their new location on Monday, Oct. 31.
The city also had a recent officer resign. Council members voted to raise the pay of officers from $11.33 per hour to $13 per hour. This will also allow the City to hire a new officer since the resignation of one leave the City with just six officers.
The annual Trick-or-Treat Community Meet has been set for Monday, Oct. 31 at the Stanton City Park from 6 – 8 p.m. In case of bad weather, the event will be held at the Powell County High School.