09/06/06 — Pikeville considers change in governing

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Pikeville considers change in governing

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on September 6, 2006 1:49 PM

The Pikeville Town Board of Commissioners is considering changing the town's governmental structure from an administrator-commissioner format to a manager-council format.

The change would give the town administrator more responsibility, said Mayor Herb Sieger, including the power to hire and fire employees. Commissioners agreed that current town administrator Bob Buchanan has the skills needed to carry out the proposed increase in responsibilities.

"This would give him the authority to take care of things that need to be taken care of," Sieger said.

Board members discussed the possible change at their meeting Tuesday night and decided to hold a public hearing Oct. 2 on the issue.

Changing the structure would require amending a section of the town's ordinances but its charter would remain unaffected, said Commissioner Lyman Galloway.

Town Attorney Jean Hollowell cautioned the board to study the possible change carefully before taking action.

"It is unusual for a town this size to run a government that way. It concerns me to change the ordinance in that way, but it can work if you have an understanding with the manager. It all depends on how the board views the future of the town and how you want it governed, but there is no right or wrong to this," Ms. Hollowell said.

Commissioners Johnny Weaver, Edith McClenny, Al Greene and Bruce Thomas voted to hold the public hearing. Galloway voting against the measure.

The board also considered another major change in town government.

Yvonne Smith, who owns the former BB&T building on Main Street, offered the town the vacant building for use as a future town hall in return for $750 in property taxes on the building this year.

Board members voted 3-2 to accept Smith's offer, with Weaver and Mrs. McClenny voting against the idea. They said making needed repairs to the building would be too costly.

"We don't need a new building. It's free, but not if we have to fix it," Weaver said.

Town officials have considered building a new town hall or moving to another location in the past but considered it too expensive.

Sieger told commissioners that accepting the bank building would give the town a chance to look ahead to its future needs. He said the offer was a good deal for town residents.

"If it sits there for two years, we've still only spent $750 in taxes," Sieger said.

The building could provide a good location for a town hall, Thomas said.

In other business, the board unanimously approved purchasing four waterproof security cameras worth $1,200 for the town's park. The commissioners also accepted an auditor's contract from Anthony Moore for $5,500.

The town's community building, which currently holds the commissioners' meeting, should have a new heating and cooling unit soon. The commissioners accepted a $5,200 bid from Ronnie Jones, who will install the separate heating and cooling unit. If the air conditioner is used during regular commissioner meetings, one unit has to cool the whole building. With a separate unit, Buchanan said the board should save money on energy costs.