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Richmond, KY
10:22 pm, July 14, 2024
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Richmond Chamber of Commerce Hears Mayor Blythe “State of the City Address”

Mayor Robert Blythe was the guest speaker this morning at the Richmond Chamber of Commerce 2023 Business at Breakfast Series which was held at the Perkins Building on the Eastern Kentucky University campus.

Richmond Chamber CEO Colleen Spencer introduced Mayor Robert Blythe to the Chamber guests and reminded everyone that Blythe served eight terms as city commissioner before being elected Mayor of Richmond in 2018.

After his introduction, Mayor Blythe thanked his loyal staff, City Clerk Lisa Cassity, and City Manager Rob Minerich for their dedication and hard work and for their updates on the city departments. Mayor Blythe also specifically thanked County Judge Executive Reagan Taylor and Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley for their cooperation over the last few years as well as EKU President David McFaddin.

Blythe stated the city’s General Fund has a cash balance of $37 million and operated the Fiscal Year 2022 $12 million under budget. The 2022 revenues were 124% above the projected budget revenues and 2022 operating expenses were 87% of projected costs. In addition, Blythe stated the Contingency Fund ended the year with $14 million, the reserve fund is currently funded at 41% of annual expenditures,  and the Capital Projects fund has $5.1 million available currently. Finally, debt obligations are in great shape with one outstanding bond totaling $930,000. Mayor Blythe thanked the Finance Department on their outstanding job.

Mayor Blythe stated that 629 new business licenses were issued in 2022 and over the last five years 550 new jobs were created in the industrial and retail sector. Blythe also reminded the Chamber guests that the city had finalized a purchase option on 600 acres located behind Buc-ee’s. He also mentioned that he just returned from a League of Cities meeting and was asked at the meeting “how was Buc-ee’s doing” which created a laugh from the crowd.

The Mayor congratulated the Richmond Water and Sewer team for their dedication over the last 15 years getting Richmond poised for economic development and reminded everyone that $75 million has been invested in water and sewer projects during this time. Blythe reported 1,850 new building permits, 98 new commercial projects were started in 2022, and 4,000 inspections were conducted with 540 citations issued for ordinance violations. Blythe commended the Codes, Planning, Safety, & Risk Management Department on their accomplishments.

Blythe pointed out two new TIF projects, one for downtown infrastructure to help revitalize downtown and the second for new park projects. A new park on the corner of Second Street and Moberly will include a Vietnam Memorial, the first-ever skate park, a playground for neighborhood children, and basketball courts. The Mayor also stated the new park on the corner of Goggins Lane and Tates Creek Road is in the engineering stage and the bid will packages are scheduled to be solicited in June 2023. This 280 acre park will include soccer fields, football fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, and pickleball courts as well as an all-accessible playground with walking and biking trails.

Mayor Blythe also thanked the Police Department for their service and stated that a new administrative position will be created involving a Police Social Service Services Coordinator/Social Worker for the department. In addition, the Police Department will be adding a new K9 officer and canine partner by the end of June. He also mentioned that the Police Department has purchased a new armored vehicle.

Blythe also congratulated the Fire Department for taking Richmond from a Class 3 city to a Class 2 city and their work involving EMT training for the fire department who now have 46 licensed EMTs. Blythe stated out of 950 fire departments in the Commonwealth, only 45 are Class 2 and 7 Class 1.

The Mayor also addressed the work that the city has accomplished with Madison Homes providing a $150,000 grant and Enrich providing a $100,000 matching grant toward the purchase of their building. In addition, he thanked the Madison County government for their cooperation on a Men’s Rehab facility that is underway.

Next, the Mayor thanked the Parks Department for being named Department of the Year at a recent state conference by the Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society. The Mayor also pointed out the work done by the Tourism Department performed at the All “A” Classic and the economic impact on the community of this event and others.

Finally, Mayor Blythe thanked the Public Works Department for all their work to improve Richmond, the Maintenance Department for keeping the city’s vehicles operating, the Information Technology Department on their updates and security work, the Recycling Department for their service to the community, and the 270 full-time employees and 150 part-time employees for their dedication to the city. Mayor pointed out that the full-time employees received a 4% increase in salary pay in July 2022.

Due to the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021, the federal legislation provided $9 million, half of which has been delivered and the other half expected to be delivered in July 2023. These funds must be obligated toward projects by 2024 and all funds exhausted by 2026.

The Mayor ended his speech with “Thank you for listening. May God continue to bless you this and every day. And may God bless the City of Richmond.

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