Ripley City Council approves 2021-22 budget and Eagle Scout project

Suzette Lowe
Boy Scout Wyatt Ridenour presents his Eagle Scout proposal of adding 10 benches to the West Side Park to Ripley City Council.

Ripley City Council approved its operating budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 at the March 16 meeting.

The $2,497,428 general fund monies do not differentiate much from last year. The largest impact to the budget was hotel/motel taxes. With the COVID-19 health pandemic, fewer visitors came to stay in the city’s motels. That trend is expected to continue for at least a few more months. Therefore, the revenue for that line item was lowered. The coal severance tax money is budgeted at $7,000.

The city is also expected to receive funds directly from the COVID relief package recently approved by Congress and signed by President Biden. Split between the current and next fiscal years, the city is expected to receive a total of $1.31 million which can be used for infrastructure and COVID-related expenditures.

The city parks will be one of the main focuses of the council for the next year. Boy Scout Troop 152 will be helping the West Side Park to be more comfortable for visitors, especially for spectator sports fans.

Wyatt Ridenour, a candidate for Eagle Scout, has chosen the park for his project. In his presentation to council, Ridenour said that adding benches to the area will be beneficial to the city.

“People coming to games don’t have any good places to sit,” he said. “My project is to construct and place 10 benches that can be mobile so could possibly be used on the courthouse lawn during the 4th of July events.”

Council members enthusiastically endorsed the project by approving $700 to cover materials for the benches. Ridenour and his fellow Scouts will do the construction, with hopes of completing all by April 10.

Mayor Carolyn Raider praised the 16-year-old’s efforts, saying, “This is perfect timing and the perfect project.”

Another project that is in the beginning planning stages is repair to the Route 21 bridge near Country 21 Market. The Thrasher Group has been awarded the bid and will begin the design phase soon.

In other business, council members Danny Martin, Carolyn Waybright, Rick Buckley, Bryan Thompson, John McGinley and Reporter David Casto:

  • Approved the appointment of Raymond Swisher and Fonda Moore to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • Approved Good Friday (April 2) has a paid holiday for all city employees.
  • Learned the city pool will open June 10.
  • Learned that a license plate reader has been installed on one of the city police vehicles.
  • Learned that the city has received its certificate for the Source Water Plan Approval from the Department of Health & Human Services.
  • Learned that while the postal service did not approve a new office for Ripley, Representative Alex Mooney’s office will be seeking funds to make the building ADA compliant

After going into a closed-door executive session at 7:41 p.m. for the purpose land sale discussion, council adjourned at 8:04 p.m. with no action taken.

The next meeting will be April 6 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.