Message, not words, concerns city official

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Unlike one of his fellow council mates, Jose Cubero did not take personal offense at a recent newspaper advertising questioning the safety of city revenue.

     Despite using the closing line of “Just Say No Way, Jose,” Cubero did not agree that it was meant to be racist.

     What the first-term councilman did find offensive is the continued attack by some in Shepherdsville where incorrect information is being spread and the whole truth is not being told.

     At the conclusion of the recent Shepherdsville City Council meeting, board member Gloria Taft called that line racist and bigoted and was upset that the local newspaper would run such an ad.

     She said the sponsor of the ad, which was paid for by former councilman Larry Hatfield, should apologize.

     Cubero said he took no offense to the language of the ad and did not feel it was any type of racist remark.

     At the same time, Cubero said the ad talked about his support of making the occupational tax increase a permanent fixture. To solve extreme financial woes, the city council voted to increase the occupational tax for those who work in Shepherdsville from 1.0 to 1.5 percent. There was a sunset period for the tax increase to roll back to its previous mark.

     Cubero, who was not on the council when the increase was approved, has supported taking the temporary tag off the action. He also supported collective bargaining for the police department, if the civil service system was abolished.

     To date, both ordinances have been taken off the docket for consideration.

     “I just wish these people would stick to the facts,” said Cubero.

     He said there were pay raises given to city employees after many departments had suffered cutbacks over the past few years.

     Cubero said the added revenue from the increased occupational tax, as well as the commitment to collect the money which has been owed the city for years, has produced revenue which has allowed Shepherdsville to not only make some expenditures but to also pay off a lot of debt.

     City attorney Joseph Wantland congratulated the council for paying off over $1 million in debt during the past year.

     He said that debt was accumulated by a past administration but the city leaders the past three years have made an effort to bring stability to Shepherdsville.

     Councilmembers Bernard Brown and Faith Portman reminded the crowd that tough decisions had to be made to restore that stability. Those included the increase in sewer rates and the occupational tax rate.

     Wantland agreed.

     In the past year, Wantland said the money owed to police officers from an agreement on overtime reached several years ago was paid off. The fire department debt was paid off, as well as $300,000 in other debt service.

     At the same time, the city has been able to generate a reserve account and to fulfill bond obligations, besides purchasing police cars and other equipment by paying cash.

     Cubero said that the general public may not know the many positive things that are happening.

     He said there is much more that needs to be done but it takes time. He agreed that things such as beautification should be a topic of discussion but the city must also continue to bring jobs to the community.

     Despite the delay until a spring groundbreaking, the recruitment of Wal-Mart to the community is important, said Cubero.

     “We all want to make Shepherdsville an attractive place to live and to work,” said Cubero. “My concern is that things like this (the ad) will take away our focus.”

     In other business:

     *Wantland reported that the Bardstown Junction Baptist Church has appealed a recent decision by Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress.

     Burress recently ruled that the rezoning of property next to the church was done properly by the city of Shepherdsville.

     The church fought the rezoning due to concerns about the affects the proposed light industrial distribution facilities might have on their property.

     The matter will now go to the state Court of Appeals.

     *The city council opted to go with blue backgrounds on the new street signs which must be installed over the next few years, thanks to federal guidelines.

     With the county having green signs, the blue signs will help distinguish who provides maintenance and whether the street is in the corporate limits.

     *The first reading of the personnel policies and procedures was presented.

     For well over a year, the council has had an outside consultant assist in the revision to existing policies and procedures.

     City clerk Tammy Richmond said that the job descriptions should be ready for council review in the next week or so.

     The 73-page document would replace prior handbooks. A second reading is slated for the July 22 meeting.

     *A 5K run could be sponsored by Love’s Truck Stop on Sept. 21 along Buffalo Run.

     Jack Vrocher, manager of the local facility, said the company is a major supporter of the Children’s Miracle Network and would be having events the entire month of September.

     The local funds would go to Kosair Charities.

     Police chief Doug Puckett will work with Vrocher to coordinate the logistics of the event.

     *Could you soon be able to purchase liquor on election day?

     Under changes to state law, local ABC officer Jerry Pile said liquor could now be sold on election day. However, cities of the fourth class, such as Shepherdsville, still has local control.

     No discussion was held.

     The next meeting of the Shepherdsville City Council will be on Monday, July 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the government center. The public is invited to attend.