City giving $1 million to Marty center
The city will give Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music $1 million, aldermen decided unanimously last week.
The city will provide the funding in annual $100,000 increments, officials said.
Aldermen in September adopted an $11-million 2022 budget that included a 1-mill tax increase to fund a $1.25-an-hour pay increase for city employees.
The city in October hired a Pearl firm to catch up on audits for Fiscal Year 2018, Fiscal Year 2019 and Fiscal Year 2020.
Last year, the city attempted to donate $1 million to the project with funds they were borrowing. However, the board later learned that bond issue monies could not be used for the project. The city then cut the bond issue amount from $2.5 million to $1.5 million and pledged to give the funding in $100,000 increments.
Located on the southwest corner of Byrd Avenue and Main Street, when completed the $30 million complex will feature a renovated Ellis Theater along with a museum to display Stuart’s 20,000-plus piece collection of country music memorabilia.
Fundraising efforts are underway to pay Stuart for his vast collection of country music memorabilia and annual operating costs will eventually have to be addressed, officials have said.
When completed, officials have said there will also be classrooms, a community hall, event space and a rooftop performance venue.
The Congress of Country Music will include international traveled artifacts, memorabilia, photography folk art and Native American programming, officials have said.
Work began in October on a $4 million state-funded renovation of the now gutted Ellis Theater, the old theater building where Stuart and his friends went to the movies while growing up in Philadelphia. The Ellis is the first of four phases Stuart has set into motion.
Aldermen last week also approved a resolution to adopt and implement a TIF plan on the south side of Highway 16 for Doc’s Toyota dealership to pay for infrastructure. Formerly known as Bullock’s Toyota, the dealership will be relocating to Philadelphia from Louisville in 2022.
In other actions, aldermen voted to:
• Approve the minutes from the previous meeting and the claims docket.
• Approve raising Sanitation Department employee Blake Howell’s pay. Howell recently passed the test to become certified as a Class 1 Rubbish Site operator, a much-needed position at the landfill. The vote was 4-1, with Alderman At Large Robert Waltman voting no.
• Approve the transfer of Arthur Breakfield from the Cemetery Department to Animal Control. Kevin Wilson is transferring from Animal Control to the Street Department. Aldermen also terminated Robert Windham from Animal Control.
• Accept the resignation of Paris Griffin from the Police Department.
• Approve hiring James Stalsup as a firefighter for the Fire Department. They accepted the resignation of Christian Breedlove from the Fire Department.
• Approve the city’s property and casualty insurance with Philadelphia Security Insurance for 2022.
• Approve the city’s employee health plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield through Philadelphia Security Insurance, including gap coverage.
• Accept around $30,000 as the city’s part in a statewide opioid lawsuit settlement. The money will go into the general fund.
• Approve the purchase of a MSWIN radio for the building inspector.
• Approve a request to close the sidewalk area in front of the Yates Deli on Main Street across from the Courthouse while repairs are made.