More jobs could be coming to Richmond

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At Tuesday night's Richmond City Commission meeting, Mayor Robert Blythe welcomed the mayor of Bowling Green, Mayor Bruce Wilkerson as a part of the Mayor to Mayor program along with the Kentucky League of Cities. The program matches similar cities mayors and they spend time in the other's city to exchange ideas and give feed back.

Just shy of a month ago, the Richmond City Commission voted to approve an order that would potentially expand Gill Industries Inc. through a grant tax incentive program by 30 to 40 jobs. Tuesday night, they approved a similar order, but this was for Project Red Zone, a company within an existing manufacturing facility in Richmond.

With the approval of this similar order, Project Red Zone could possibly add 20 new jobs.

Project Red Zone has applied to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Department for Business Development for certain tax incentives through the KBI Program.

In order to be able to execute the expansion, the company has to qualify for incentives through the KBI Program, and it is necessary that the city be willing to participate in the incentive program beforehand, which is standard procedure for state requirements.

The order that the commission approved states that for a period no longer than 10 years, the city agrees to forfeit 1% of its occupational license and payroll tax as it will potentially have the opportunity for more jobs.

Following that approval, David Stipes, executive director of the Richmond Industrial Development Corporation, announced that on May 30, ground will break for construction of a new plant in Richmond called AFX.

"That is really significant here for the city of Richmond, because this will be the Asahi Forge's third plant that they have here in the city of Richmond, and it is significant that we have an industry that brings that many jobs," Stipes said.

He said it will take about a year to build the plant, but that it would potentially bring 50 jobs to Richmond.

"That would be 110 new jobs, in our community," Commissioner Jason Morgan said. "It's a big deal. That is 110 families that don't have to worry about putting food on the table, don't have to worry about health insurance, don't have to worry about a mortgage payment."

• • •

In other business, the commissioners approved a contract with Tyler Technologies which will offer a software program that includes an interactive cellphone app that will allow the public to send maintenance orders, report suspicious findings or get in contact with specific city departments with the push of a button.

City Manager Rob Minerich described this as a smartphone application that would citizens walking down Main Street who see a stop light out, pothole or bad sidewalk they want addressed, they can now snap a picture and send it to the city directly through the app, requesting maintenance and reporting a problem.

The app also includes push applications so the city can send messages out to citizens in the case of an emergency, for example.

"I think it is a wonderful asset to this city," Minerich said.

He said the app will take 30 days to design and 45 days to get put into the app store for the public. There is a $5,000 initial cost with the app for the city, and a cost of $12,800 each fiscal year for the maintenance of the app.

• • •

Also during Tuesday's meeting:

• The city approved the filing of a 2019 Kentucky Community Development Block Grant Application, that, if awarded, would have the possibility of going to a new senior citizen center in Richmond. Applications for the grant are due July 1, and Minerich expects to hear back about being awarded the grant in the late fall.

• The city approved the green space at 224 E. Main St. to be named "Millstone Park" and feature millstones found and collected throughout Madison County with historical markers and nameplates. See article on page A1.

• Richard Tate was appointed assistant fire chief for the city of Richmond with a probationary period of 12 months.

The next Richmond City Commission meeting will be May 28 at 6 p.m. at Richmond City Hall.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.

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