By Dave Taylor
After originally postponing the Heritage Festival till fall, the Lewisport City Council voted Thursday to cancel it entirely for this year.
The annual celebration of the city’s heritage, normally held during the summer, was supposed to have been June 4-6 before the city pushed it back to September 24-26 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Thursday the organizers said they’d prefer to just start again next year.
“Josie and Marsha and I have talked and I think we need to cancel the festival for this year,” council member Mary Hawkins told the gathered council. Hawkins, Josie Hagan and Marsha Johnson, all council members, are also members of the festival’s committee.
Those three had voted in the festival committee meeting to cancel, but city manager Brent Wigginton, who’s also a member of that committee, had voted to hold the decision until at least after the Hancock County Fair Board decided whether they’d hold the fair.
“They pushed back to July 7 on making the final decision on the fair,” he said.
Mayor Chad Gregory said he was fine with canceling and that with the festival committee’s vote to cancel he’d take that as an official recommendation to the council.
“Do you all want to make the decision now or would you all want to wait till after the fair met and then make the decision? It doesn’t matter to me, it’s up to you all,” said Wigginton.
“I’d just as soon cancel it,” said Hawkins.
“I say cancel,” added Johnson.
Hagan, who’s been the force behind the festival each year, said part of her reasoning for canceling was to give the vendors and performers plenty of time to schedule something else for that weekend.
“I think if we went ahead earlier we could give the bands (time) if they had to go some place else, you know,” she said.
“It’s fine with me,” said Gregory.
The council also took the following actions:
• Approved the minutes of the May meeting.
• Councilman Kelly Vanover brought up underage kids driving golf carts in the city. Police chief John Garner said owners of golf carts have until July 1 to get their carts legal with the city because citations will be handed out after that.
• Approved the payment of the May bills.
• Approved the monthly financial statements. The water budget showed revenues of $40,401.07 and expenses of $36,384.64 for a net income of $4,016.43. The gas system showed revenues of $39,419.16 and expenses of $143,491.21 for a net loss of $104,072.05. The sewer budget showed revenues of $217.15 and expenses of $17,509.13 for a net loss of $17,291.98.
• Held the second reading and voted to pass Ordinance 20-3, which sets the budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Estimated revenues are $3,747,424 and including funds brought forward and other resources total assets are estimated at $4,856,109. Estimated appropriations are $3,602,616. The estimated total fund balances at the end of the year is $1,255,493.
• Approved Resolution 06-18-20, which extends the city’s letter of credit with Munigas on behalf of Dal-Tile until August 31. The letter of credit was usually renewed each year but with Dal-Tile announcing the closure of the plant in July the agreement is simply extended.
• Approved Resolution 06-18-20A authorizing the city of Lewisport to file an application for the Coronavirus Relief Fund to seek reimbursement for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Approved the wastewater plant headworks project to make improvements at the plant.
• Discussed the city’s welcome sign project and whether grants are still available during the pandemic.