With the second reading of an amendment to its human rights and housing ordinances, on Thursday Maysville became the 10th Kentucky city to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
“What you did took a lot of vision and courage,” John C.K. Fisher of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights said following the approval of the ordinances. ”It makes Maysville even more beautiful and more historic than it already is.”
Maysville City Commission voted unanimously to adopt the ordinances becoming 10th among cities in the commonwealth which include the groups along with race, age, sex, disability and religion in their human rights ordinances.
“We are pleased that Maysville has joined with other progressive cities around the commonwealth by adopting a fairness ordinance,” Mayor David Cartmell said. “I wish to commend the Human Rights Commission for the dedication and diligence in crafting this legislation.”
The Maysville Commission on Human Rights has worked for more than a year with the city attorney to research and draft the legislation, which also balances the right to religious practices, officials said.
“The passing of this fairness ordinance by the city of Maysville has shown that we value and respect and protect of all human beings who choose to live and work in our community,” said Mike Thomas, Human Rights Commission chairperson.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Maysville as Kentucky’s 10th city to adopt a LGBTQ anti-discrimination Fairness Ordinance. By doing so, the city’s leadership has affirmed that basic dignity of all who live in and visit Maysville, and sent a public signal that their community’s doors are open to all, including LGBTQ people and their families” said Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign.
On behalf of the Kentucky Commission, Fischer presented city commission and the Maysville Human Rights Commission with Unbridled Spirit for Justice awards.
Tax issues were also on the table for Thursday’s meeting, with commissioners approving the first reading of tax rates for the 2018 tax year at .246 for motor vehicles, .16 for real and personal property and .025 for financial institution deposits.
Commissioners also approved a raise in the occupational license and payroll tax from 1.95 to 1.99, beginning Jan. 1, 2019.
A second reading of the rates is set for Aug. 30 at noon.
Downtown business owner Patty North addressed commissioners with concerns on possible businesses which could locate within the city’s entertainment destination center, The Landing at Limestone.
Once established, The Landing at Limestone EDC will open up the quota system for more by-the-drink licenses for businesses within and adjacent to the EDC. The license will also allow patrons to move throughout the zone, taking with them their drinks in plastic containers.
Maysville is one of the destinations on the B-Line, Northern Kentucky’s answer to the Bourbon Trail, which hosts more than 1 million visitors each year.
North said while she is excited for the B-Line, she has had negative experiences in the past with numerous disturbances and police calls to a neighboring karaoke bar. She asked if there is any provision for preventing the same situation in the EDC.
City attorney Sue Brammer said she met with City Manager Matt Wallingford and Police Chief Ron Rice to discuss options to the city in situations like North discussed and said an ordinance currently on the books may apply.
Any business which locates within the EDC also has to meet standards and safety codes, Cartmell pointed out.
Social activist Bryan Helpenstine also addressed commissioners, first to thank them for including body cameras for police officers in the city budget and to express concerns over the $25 fines for street sweeper violations. As an illustration, he brought several bags of groceries that costs $25 and could feed a family, he said.
In other business, commissioners:
— Approved a letter of support for the Women’s Crisis Center.
— Approved a resolution authorizing the monthly sewer line project payments.
— Appointed Beth Smith to emergency dispatch position.
— Approved the resignation of David Williams from the Utility Department.
— Approved the retirement of David Gray from the cemetery.
— Approved a amendment to the city ordinance banning pit bull breed dogs to allow pit bull dogs which serve as service dogs.
— Approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating the use of drones within the city.
— Agreed to replace stop signs in Washington Glen subdivision but leave current street signs while adding signs in compliance with state and federal regulations.
— Agreed to enter into a contract with Cann-Tech for $50,000 for consulting fees for the downtown waterline, sidewalk and streetscape improvement project.
— Approved an ordinance designating a portion of Hill City Road as a pedestrian/bicycle way.
— Approved a change order for the wastewater treatment plant improvements.