03/22/09 — Pikeville commissioners discuss Town Hall status

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Pikeville commissioners discuss Town Hall status

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on March 22, 2009 2:00 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Pikeville Town Commissioners met Thursday evening at the Community Center to start discussions of the upcoming budget.

An even though the session was more of a wish list to start out this year's budget process, with officials knowing that the town won't be able to afford all of what is requested, several ideas were thrown out that would improve the town and would save the town money.

When it was Commissioner Todd Anderson's turn, he said he was concerned about the state of the town hall building and said that, at the least, repairs should be made to the leaking roof.

Town Administrator Kathie Fields agreed.

She said that she was concerned about what would happen if the town had a large amount of rainfall.

"I'm concerned that it would get to the computers," she said. "And then we would have a much bigger and more expensive problem."

Repairing the roof would cost around $17,700, but some commissioners believed that was too much money to put into that building right now.

Commissioner Vance Greeson said that he doesn't want the town to keep putting money on top of money to repair the building's flat roof every few years. So he suggested an elevated metal roof.

But Commissioner Lyman Galloway told the group that he just installed a metal roof on property he owns, and that the town would see a much higher price tag if they put a metal roof on the building.

That's when the group came up with a few other options, such as moving Town Hall to the Pikeville Community Center.

"Why don't we move it here?" Greeson asked.

"Why don't we?" Anderson echoed. "Instead of putting money into the roof there, why don't we put $30,000 into this?"

The group talked about how much revenue it would lose, which Ms. Fields said wouldn't be much, and discussed whether groups that normally rent it out for meetings would still have space to do so.

"We could get those fabric walls put up like the banks have, and we could keep this space (the small meeting room) open for local meetings," Greeson said.

Then another option came up -- moving Town Hall to the old BB&T building, as it is known locally, at 105 W. Main St.

The town purchased the building from the bank, and commissioners said that currently the town has no plans for it.

It would likely cost $100,000 to rid it of household mold, refurbish the floors in the building and fix it up overall.

"Wouldn't a $100,000 investment for the future be better," Greeson asked, than spending about $17,000 now on the old roof to patch it up, and possibly have to spend more on it in years to come?

And then there was talk about what to do with the current Town Hall building. Galloway said the building "is about in shambles."

Mayor Herbert Sieger said that the commissioners wouldn't decide on which option to pursue Thursday, and that the issue would need much more discussion in upcoming weeks. But he did say that something needed to be done.

"We need an adequate Town Hall. The town deserves something the people will be proud of," he said.

At the beginning of the session, Ms. Fields brought up a way to save the town some money this year, and for the town employees to help out.

"We know how hard of times things are. We know how tight the budget needs to be," she said.

So the employees got together and agreed to ask the commissioners for no salary increases this year, but there were a few small stipulations.

They wanted to close Town Hall on the day after Thanksgiving to have the day off and for the commissioners to consider an increase in their Christmas bonuses.

"Now this is for one year," Ms. Fields said.

The commissioners agreed that the idea was a good one.

"It sounds like a win-win situation to me as far as the town's concerned," Sieger said.

"I think this is a very good initiative on behalf of the town employees," Commissioner Dennis Lewis said.

"I think it's an admirable request, and I think we need to honor that," Commissioner Edith McClenny said.

But Greeson wanted to be cautious.

"I think it's a good gesture, but when we get down to the nitty gritty, and see how the budget is, we may have to cut a few positions. We will just have to see," he said.

The board of commissioners will meet at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting Monday, and will likely set another budget work session then.