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Councilwoman leaves, stops vote

VERSAILLES — Call it the case of the disappearing city council member.

Versailles City Council member Ann Miller acknowledged Tuesday that she left city hall before Tuesday's council meeting so there would not be a quorum. Without that quorum, the council could not take action on any agenda items, including the second reading and a final vote on an ordinance Miller opposes.

"I didn't know what else to do," Miller said afterward. "It stopped the vote on it. They were going to approve it tonight.

"I do apologize to those people who were there, but I just felt like I didn't have a choice," Miller added.

The ordinance Miller opposes would require Versailles residents to put garbage containers "behind their residence" when not set out for curbside collection.

Miller had greeted and talked with people in the city council chamber moments before the meeting was to convene. But when the meeting was ready to begin at 5:30 p.m., Mayor Fred Siegelman explained to people in the audience that there was not a quorum because council members Carl Ellis and Charlie Reed were out of town and Miller was absent.

As the council and audience listened, Siegelman called Miller and left a message for her. She called back moments later, but Siegelman would not disclose Miller's reason for her absence.

Miller said later in an interview that she presumed city council members Mary Bradley, Owen Roberts and Nickie Shryock would vote for the ordinance.

Miller said the ordinance should have been discussed in committee before it was presented to the council. She questions whether the issue is a community-wide problem that merits an ordinance. And Miller said she left city hall after she knew for certain that Ellis and Reed would not be there.

"I just felt like I was serving the community as a whole better by holding off on that ordinance and that decision until the rest of the council could be there," Miller said.

Miller said she isn't the only person who believes that the council is overstepping. She said she received a call from one resident who said, 'What's next? Are you going to tell me which window I can put my Christmas tree in?"

Lexington, Frankfort and Nicholasville have ordinances similar to the one proposed for Versailles. Lexington's ordinance exempts "properties which do not have rear-yard access," and Nicholasville has a similar exemption and also allows roll-cart receptacles to be kept in an "enclosed facility."

Siegelman said the council will schedule another meeting for 5:30 p.m. April 28.