New city council in place

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It was out with the old and in with the new for the Paris city government this week as the term of one city council closed, and a new four-year council term began.

One new feature was added as three-year-old Brinkley Colvin joined the mayor to gavel the meeting open, and also led the opening pledge to the flag.

Monday the old city council, after four years of service, officially accepted the results of the city election held April 2, paid the final bills and salaries for the month and closed business. Moments later the new city commissioners read their oaths of office and the city was back in operation with almost the same cast.

One new commissioner, Paris attorney Drew Griffin, joined the council, and a new police chief, Eric Brown, was sworn in succeeding Chief Mike Henness. Otherwise the administration is unchanged from the past several years.

Craig Smith begins a new four years as mayor, serving as commissioner of public affairs, which includes the police department, and also as city liquor commissioner.

Harry Hughes continues as commissioner of accounts and finances; Jerry Branson as commissioner of street, parks and public improvements; and Steve Kemper as commissioner of public property (water and sewer utilities). Griffin succeeds retiring commissioner Bob Boyer as commissioner of fire, public health and safety.

The council also reappointed all city administrative positions. These include Bridget Anderson as city clerk; Michael Martin, city administrator and finance director; Rich Kash, legal counsel; Dennis Thiel, treasurer; and Jamey Littleton, properties director and code compliance officer.

Completing the administrative organization, the council reappointed all department chiefs and superintendents. These include Fire Chief Brian Gates, Police Chief Eric Brown, Superintendent of Streets and Parks Chris Redman, Superintendent of the Water Department Andy Bess, Superintendent of Water and Sewer Maintenance Steve Kemper II, and Superintendent of the Waste Water Treatment Aaron Shanks.

After the old council officially closed, Mayor Smith presented Boyer with a plaque recognizing his 12 years of service on the city’s governing board. He also presented the traditional key to the city. Boyer expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work with the council, and commended the cooperation of the entire city staff working together for the benefit of the citizens of Paris.

Mayor Smith then officially presented Brown his commission as chief of police, with members of the chief’s family present for the event. Chief Brown is a 19-year veteran with the department, serving much of that time as a department detective.

The new council then moved on to regular business. The city liquor ordinance was amended to increase the class B number of licenses from seven to eight, with the new license awarded to the Eagle Ridge Golf Course. It allows sale of liquors in addition to beer and wine.

The city will grow a bit. Annexation requests were approved for residential properties owned by Thad and Melissa Cary at 110 Blue Heron Road, and Rebecca Step at 118841 1500th Street.

The city is also interested in returning some property to private use. It will offer for sale property at 404 and 406 South Main Street.

Property at 626 North Central Avenue, the former Trinity United Methodist Church, was rezoned from residential to commercial at the recommendation of the Paris Plan Commission. Now privately owned, the former church building is proposed as a future restaurant.

In other business the council:

Reappointed Michael Martin to the Police Pension Board.

Authorized temporary closing of North Main Street on June 23 for the first Eiffel Tower Triathlon.

Approved the annual $2,000 donation to the REC for its summer camp program.

Approved a $2,000 grant from the hotel/motel tax to the Edgar County Shrine Barbecue for promotion.

Approved the White Sheet Metal proposal for a new air conditioning unit at the police annex for $3,447.

At the opening of the meeting, Mayor Smith presented the American Legion Auxiliary a proclamation calling for Poppy Days May 24-25 when Auxiliary members seek donations to assist in support of military veterans.

He also called attention to the opening of this season’s “Music In The Park,” on Thursday evenings at the Spicer pavilion. The 19th annual series opens May 23.