Leitchfield meets to plan for the future | News
Leitchfield held its first official working session on Monday to begin implementing a strategic plan to move the city forward.
The City of Leitchfield recently released its City Council Work Plan, which was prepared by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and details how the city can meet its economic and community development goals.
The plan says Leitchfield is “on the cusp of growth” and that planning “for the city’s short and long term growth is essential to maintaining economic prosperity and enhancing the quality of life.”
The main one of Leitchfield’s current priorities, as detailed in the work plan and announced by Leitchfield Mayor Rick Embry, is to annex surrounding properties outside of the city limits.
The work plan states that “the widening of the current boundaries through annexation should be considered to ensure that adequate and suitable land for business, industry, housing and public spaces is available now and in the future. “.
Leitchfield City Councilor Jessica Embry led the strategic planning initiative and said on Monday she viewed the resulting work plan as a roadmap for the city’s future, as evidenced by the four goals outlined in the report that should be prioritized in order to move the city forward. .
- To ensure that every resident and business has high speed internet access in Leitchfield.
- Building a well-educated 21st century workforce to meet the needs of a 21st century economy.
- Increase tourism and attract lake residents to local businesses in Leitchfield.
- Enhance existing efforts to beautify the Town of Leitchfield.
City Councilor Billy Dallas said he believes all four of these goals are achievable; however, building a well-trained 21st century workforce to meet the needs of a 21st century economy will be the biggest hurdle to overcome.
According to KLC’s work plan, of the 6,500 people who work in the city, nearly 5,600 of them commute to the city; around 1,200 workers live and work in the city; and about 1,500 city residents travel elsewhere for work.
Additionally, in 2019, median incomes for workers living in Leitchfield were just over $ 26,000, which was below the statewide level of over $ 31,000, and incomes Household medians were about $ 31,000, “considerably lower than the state median of about $ 50,500.” Â», Specifies the work plan.
Mayor Embry noted that another obstacle to the town’s progress is above-average debt for a town’s size in Leitchfield.
The work plan says that although Leitchfield’s tax revenues have nearly doubled since fiscal 2010, property tax revenues have remained stable, and city officials have only adopted a 4% growth rate allowed by state law since fiscal year 2017. Additionally, the city’s total spending – excluding utilities – increased 48.6% between fiscal years 2010 and 2020.
City Councilor Embry said a key factor in improving the city’s economic situation is ensuring it has a sufficient workforce to keep restaurants open and, to do so, the city. must look for ways to offer help with mental health and addictions, among other things. problems, as well as workforce training.
“It’s our job to improve our community, in my opinion,” said City Councilor Embry, who suggested potentially creating a community resource officer position, a person on the city’s payroll who could work with law enforcement to connect people with the resources they need.
Councilor Margie Decker said the citizens of Leitchfield want jobs and the town is being cleaned up, and she agreed with Councilor Embry that mental health must also be addressed to help address these issues.
Mayor Embry said having a skilled workforce is a necessity, and officials plan to meet with representatives from Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) in the near future to discuss expanding services. from college to local level.
Monday’s working session was open to the public, and Jeanna Carnes, who recently announced that she had applied for Leitchfield City Council, said that while a college education is a good thing, it isn’t isn’t the only avenue for local residents; trade schools are just as important.
City Councilor Carl “Moon” Smith said the city should explore possibilities for collaboration with the Grayson County Technology Center, the vocational school of schools in Grayson County.
Former Leitchfield Councilor and City Attorney Dennie Fentress said he saw no reason the city could not offer financial / tax incentives to expand the Leitchfield ECTC campus, as well as to attract new industries or revitalize properties.
Fentress also said he supports annexation as it will help increase Leitchfield’s median income, which in turn will attract more businesses to the city.
Councilor Clayton Miller said the goal of attracting tourism to Leitchfield could not succeed without addressing the vacant / dilapidated properties of Leitchfield, and praised efforts in recent years to revitalize Leitchfield Public Square .
Councilor Raymond âTootyâ Cottrell said that while all of these goals are important, Leitchfield cannot forget its infrastructure (roads, ditches, sidewalks, etc.).
He said the city has been talking for 10 years about paving sidewalks on Cave Mill and Lilac roads, but Leitchfield is limited in the work he can do each year because he feels the city is not allocating enough money. funds for infrastructure projects, especially road paving.
With many topics discussed, officials decided they would continue to hold public strategic planning working sessions in the future, with the next meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. before the second Leitchfield City Council meeting in February ( Monday February 21). Citizens are encouraged to attend these meetings.
The Town of Leitchfield Strategic Work Plan can be read in full either on the Town of Leitchfield Government Facebook page or by contacting Leitchfield Town Hall.
Following the working session, the municipal council held its ordinary session at 6 p.m.
At that meeting, council voted to re-re-elect Michael Pierce to the Grayson County Airport Board of Directors; rename Leon Shaw to the Leitchfield Planning Commission; replace David Langley on the Leitchfield Planning Commission with George Hack; and replace Steve Kinkade on the Leitchfield Adjustment Council with Langley.