Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry displays one of the signs the city has recently had printed to discourage speeders.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry displays one of the signs the city has recently had printed to discourage speeders.

The Leitchfield City Council, under the leadership of new Mayor Rick Embry, held its first meeting of the new term on Monday and saw returning and new city officials sworn in, as well as the new Mayor line out his goals for his term.

District 5 State Sen. Steve Meredith attended Monday's meeting to swear in Leitchfield's unelected officials, City Clerk/Treasurer Lori Woosley, Finance Officer Kim Sowders, City Attorney Dennie Fentress, Police Chief Bryan Langdon, and Fire Chief Tim Duvall.

The City Council also voted, based on Embry's recommendation, to name City Councilman Harold Miller, the highest vote-getter in the most recent City Council election, Mayor Pro-Tem and Fentress the Mayor Delegate.

The Mayor Pro-Tem fills in for the Mayor in such a case as he is unable to attend a City Council meeting, and the Mayor Delegate conducts city business on the Mayor's behalf should he become incapacitated.

Embry then addressed a number of topics, ranging from his goals for the city to some previously contentious issues.

First, he addressed the criticism he has received regarding his serving on the Leitchfield Utilities Commission while his brother, Dwight Embry, is Leitchfield Utilities Superintendent.

According to Fentress, the city ordinance creating the Utilities Commission states that the Mayor is automatically on the commission, and that, when the Mayor is elected after a family member has already been hired as an employee, there is no conflict; however, Fentress recommended that the Mayor recuse himself from personnel matters involving his brother should they arise.

Returning City Councilman Billy Dallas then questioned Mayor Embry about the current status of the Rite Aid building, as well as the bond issue that has already been taken out.

Embry said that the bond taken out for the purpose of establishing a new city hall does not have to be used to renovate the Rite Aid building specifically, and, Fentress said, the bond ordinance only requires that the funds be used for work on a new city hall. Embry is looking into other uses for the building, as well as other options for where a new city hall may be placed.

Dallas also asked about the employment status of Public Works Director Sheila Puckett, and Embry responded that she is no longer working for the city. Embry then declined to comment in the public meeting on why Puckett's employment had been terminated because it is a personnel issue.

Embry then displayed one of 100 signs that he had printed discouraging littering and speeders within the city. The signs cost the city $700 to have printed.

The goal of the signs is to improve the safety and appearance of the city, and this segued into Embry's discussion of some of his goals for his term as Mayor.

Embry said the city is looking into streaming City Council meetings live online either on YouTube, Facebook, or both. Additionally, he wants to open up Utilities Commission membership to permit one member who resides outside of the city limits of Leitchfield; however, this person must be a Leitchfield Utilities customer.

He also looks to implement a text messaging system through which city residents may text the city about an issue with which they are dealing and receive a prompt response as to when their situation will be addressed. He wants to also implement paperless bill pay confirmation for customers who have auto-pay set up for their bills.

Embry said he wants to change the city ordinance regarding how long the Leitchfield Animal Shelter must hold dogs to require the shelter to house them for at least 10 days, with the consent of the City Council, as well. He also wants to increase the minimum pay rate for city employees from the current $9.50 per hour to $12 over the course of the next year, with the end goal being a minimum pay rate of $14 per hour.

Embry said he will be at Leitchfield City Hall each day from 9 a.m. until noon and welcomes any input from the community.

In other business, the City Council:

*Approved setting bond amounts for the Mayor at $100,000, City Clerk at $500,000, and Finance Officer at $500,000.

*Accepted a $7,931 bid for rubber mulch from Miracle of KY & TN for DeWitt Park. Parks and Recreation Director Tammee Saltsman said the city has received a $3,000 grant for this purpose.

*Approved, based on Saltsman's recommendation, setting the city ball park rental fee at $100 per field per day.