DAWSON SPRINGS — The Dawson Springs City Council met on Tuesday evening, Jan. 17 in its first meeting of the new year, and featured some new and returning faces.
After a one-term hiatus, Jenny Sewell is back in the mayor’s chair and presided over the meeting. She greeted new council members Darla Adams and Jesse Robinson and welcomed Kenny Mitchell, Mark McGregor, Martha Woolsey and Rhonda Mills back to the council. Mills had also stepped away from the city’s legislative branch for a term.
Joe Evans III, an lawyer with an office in Madisonville, has been retained as the new city attorney, as longtime city attorney Ben Leonard was elected as a District Court judge in Webster, Union and Crittenden counties in November.
The majority of the meeting was spent listening to pleas or reports from visitors and updates from several of the town’s departments.
Brian Thomas, superintendent of the City Water and Sewer System, was up first. When asked about the ongoing work on Arcadia Avenue/Hwy. 62, he responded the highway department is “going on plans from 2011,” and because it is now 2023, those plans are outdated and a new plan of action is being drafted.
Thomas also vocalized that his door is always open to the citizens of Dawson Springs who have questions or concerns. “You can always call, but please know that if I’m busy at that moment, I will get back to you,” he said.
The 2022 audit was presented by Jeffrey Walker of Walker & Associates CPA, PLLC. Walker reassured Sewell and the council members that, “you’ve come a long way in a short period,” when giving his firm’s clean opinion of the city’s finances for fiscal year 2022.
Resident Tina Hopper asked the council for an intervention in regards to her neighbor’s canines. “There’s a lot of dogs — a lot, a lot, a lot of dogs, and there is no peace,” she said. “The ordinance allows for five dogs,” Mitchell responded. “There are way more than five,” Hopper replied. Sewell asked Police Chief Mike Opalek to investigate the matter further.
David Thorp, organizer of the monthly installments of “Dawson Springs Cars and Coffee” for the past two years, requested a green light to proceed with the event throughout 2023. “It’s totally a volunteer effort and we do it simply for the pure joy of doing it,” he said. The council unanimously gave Thorp and his group of volunteers the go-ahead to host the car show downtown each month.
Local Mason Shane Alexander, on behalf of Beulah Lodge #609, requested to plant a tree and flowers at the city park. Sewell referred him to Tammy Workman, chairperson of the City Park’s Board of Directors.
In other news, the council:
• gave permission to Opalek to surplus two police cruisers, to purchase new radios, and in collaboration with city consultant Matt Watson, apply for a weather station through SAFE funding. According to Opalek, the two Dodge Chargers currently parked at the Darby House are in-operational, and the new radios will allow communication with the Caldwell County’s Sheriff’s Office and the Princeton Police Department. The weather station will give him a “greater ability to help our people” during inclement weather in regards to storm sirens.
• approved Sewell’s request on behalf of the City Park Board to allow City Engineer Frank Williams to begin official plans for Phase I of the park’s rebuild. Phase I includes two ball fields and parking areas for both. “We’ll try to get the plans approved within a 90-day window,” Williams said.
• resolved that the land zoned for industrial uses on Industrial Park Road will remain zoned for industrial purposes. This resolution was imperative, Sewell said, after requests were made to use the “industrial property for other uses.” “Dawson Springs needs housing and jobs, and jobs create housing,” she said.
• reappointed Mitchell and McGregor to the budget committee. City Administrator Julie Sellers addressed the council and asked for volunteers. “These two councilmen represent continuity,” said Sewell, as Mitchell and McGregor have previously served in that capacity.
• voted to move ahead with Sewell’s “Strategic Plan Proposal,” which will be based on 150 comments made by citizens in July, in the aftermath of the Dec. 10, 2021 tornado.
• renewed the Fire Protection Agreement with Outwood-Rescare. The facility on Hwy. 109 will pay a retainer of $500 to the city.