The Bowling Green City Commission on Tuesday approved first reading of a $124 million 2019-20 budget.
The budget, which was detailed at length at the last city commission meeting, passed unanimously without comment. Likewise, the high-profile recent arrest of City Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash went undiscussed during the meeting.
After the meeting, Nash said he did not want to discuss the issue beyond the public apology he issued this week after his May 23 arrest on a charge of alcohol intoxication in a public place.
Nash, 49, was arrested after a Warren County sheriff’s deputy saw him leave the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center “in an intoxicated state” and get into his vehicle, according to his arrest citation. Nash pleaded guilty to the charge May 28 and was ordered to pay a $25 fine and court costs.
Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said last week that Nash was seen backing his vehicle up during the incident, leading some to question why Nash was not charged with driving under the influence.
In his apology posted to Facebook, Nash accepted responsibility for his actions and said he intended to stay on the commission.
Among the numerous items Nash voted on Tuesday was a budget that holds the line on occupational and property tax rates, which have not increased in 16 years. The budget is down nearly $3 million from the budget adopted for the 2018-19 fiscal year as it forecasts a small drop in occupational fees, the city’s main revenue source, from last year’s $53.3 million to $50.1 million.
The budget includes a 1.9 percent pay increase for full-time personnel, hiring five police officers and three firefighters, $1.2 million for continued work on the Shive Lane widening and roundabout, $600,000 for new sidewalk construction, $425,000 in parks improvements, $500,000 for Smallhouse Road intersection improvements, $500,000 for continuing downtown renovations and a total of $4.8 million for facilities and equipment.
Also Tuesday, commissioners:
• paid tribute to Commissioner Joe Denning on the 50th anniversary of him being sworn in as the city’s first African-American police officer. Denning was also the first African-American to serve on the city school board of education and to serve as the city’s mayor. After a tribute video was played and he received a proclamation naming Tuesday Joe Denning Day in Bowling Green, Denning said “I just hope I have played a small part of making Bowling Green a better place.”
• authorized a $1.2 million grant application to the Kentucky 911 Services Board to be used for 911 system upgrades.
• authorized a $256,230 grant application to the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security for a multipurpose response and rescue vehicle to be used by the police department.
• approved two land annexations: 26.94 acres on Old Scottsville Road owned by the Club at Olde Stone and 2.9 acres on Cumberland Trace Road owned by the Warren County school board.
• accepted a $396,417 bid from Net Connection LLC of Trussville, Ala., for netting to be used for a driving range the city is constructing at the Golf Course at Riverview.