Representatives from Atmos Energy, a Texas-based natural gas company, presented the city council with a $ 431,000 increase in the budget for the pipe replacement program on March 15. To date, 7.4 miles of pipe has been replaced at Princeton. The pipe replacement program removes and updates infrastructure gas lines that are more than 50 years old.
Last year, $ 1.1 million of work was completed. The project budget for 2021 is $ 3.3 million – $ 2.1 million is expected to be spent on the pipe replacement program next year.
The project was initiated and planning began in 2011. The project didn’t start in Princeton until 2019, before Princeton Mayor Dakota Young was appointed, which explains his frustration with the abrupt budget hike.
In September last year – after the start of the project – a pipe ordinance was introduced that Atmos had not expected and included in its budget.
“We were a little disappointed that we didn’t receive the same courtesy from Atmos before we started cutting these roads,” said Young. “Now that we’ve spent much of the taxpayer’s dollars, we’re looking at chopped up streets, streets that should last 15 years.”
Councilor Sheila Gates said, “For our taxpayers, we need to make sure they have good benefits.”
All city council members were present. The council meets twice a month on Mondays at 5 p.m. in the town hall.
There were no public comments during the meeting.
The first department report was from Police Chief Chris King. He announced to the council and the public that Princeton Police Department has four vacancies. He also made it clear that the ex-cops are joining the Caldwell County sheriff’s office. King doesn’t know why his officers are leaving the department and joining the sheriff’s office.
Councilor Morgan Rousseau asked if the sheriff’s office had lost staff, which would explain the new transfers. King had no answer to that.
King’s activity report listed 334 notifications, 263 community-based police program activities, 27 arrests for misdemeanors, 16 arrests for criminal offenses, and 2 arrests for DUI.
The report by Fire Brigade Chief Brent Francis shows that there were two training courses, five false alarms, one vehicle fire, one structural fire, one rescue, seven MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident), four Assist EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and one meeting in February and a dangerous situation and “other”.
“Hopefully we were able to close a deal last Thursday to remove a very well known rundown church in the ward,” Young said during the code enforcement report. “Hopefully we’ll have an announcement in the next few days so I think the community will be very excited.”
Councilor Patricia George of the Princeton Water and Wastewater Commission noted the upcoming meeting dates for her commission.
City Councilor Jim Joiner of the Airport Board noted that the appraisal of the 50 acre property for sale has been completed. The land is used by Princeton-Caldwell County Airport for approximately 12 daily landings.
Young briefed the public on Thursday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. about the community’s blood donation. The Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center offers service in the Welcome Center in City Hall. Antibody coronavirus tests will also be available.
He also noted that Princeton’s Health First Community Health Center will be doing vaccinations at City Hall this month.
The Executive Order 2021-01 was approved. With the contract, Breanna Springfield was appointed to the Princeton Housing Authority Board.
The final task was to discuss a franchise application for a telecommunications company. This company is interested in registering with Princeton to provide Internet and other telecommunications services. Fastnet Wireless LLC is based in Franklin. The board approved the franchise application.
The council reminded the public that the position of Executive Director at the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce remains vacant. There was no other business. The sitting was suspended at 5.42 p. M