2017-12-13 / News

City OK’s New Year’s Eve alcohol sales

By WILLIAM FARLEY

Restaurants serving alcohol in Whitesburg will be allowed to stay open on New Year’s Eve.

The Whitesburg City Council voted to allow the special Sunday opening at its December meeting Tuesday night after Mayor James Wiley Craft read a letter from City Police Chief Tyrone Fields, who also serves as the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Control officer, requesting that alcohol sales be allowed in the city on New Year’s Eve beginning at 2 p.m. and ending at 2 a.m. on January 1.

Craft said the city’s current alcohol ordinance already has a provision for holiday sales on Sunday by council vote. Councilman James Bates moved that the extension be allowed, providing that the Whitesburg Police Department be out in full force during the hours alcohol sales are allowed. The vote to approve the motion was unanimous.

The council also took the first steps toward three of its major goals for the coming year by accepting bids for engineering services for the replacement of city water lines and a city tank, the refurbishment of the city water treatment plant, and the rehabilitation of the iconic Daniel Boone Hotel. Mike Miller, Executive Director of the Kentucky River Area Development District, which is working with the city to administer grants to fund the projects, told the council that he and Mayor James Wiley Craft examined and scored each bid and announced the results.

Two bidders submitted bids for engineering services for replacing water lines and rebuilding the water tank as well as refurbishing the city water treatment plant. They were Nesbitt Engineering of Hazard and Lexington and Summit Engineering of Pikeville. Miller said that both bids were scored at 90 for Summit Engineering and 95 for Nesbitt. Following Miller’s recommendation, the council voted to award the contracts for engineering services for both projects to Nesbitt Engineering.

The sole bidder for rehabilitating the Daniel Boone Hotel was Poage Engineering of Lexington. Miller said that Poage, which scored an 87 on the appraisal, has done this type of job before, and its previous work was rated as highly satisfactory. He said its references were also very good and recommended hiring Poage Engineering for the hotel project. The council voted unanimously to approve his recommendation.

Paul Nesbitt told the council that he appreciated its vote of confidence in his firm, and said that the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority has shown interest in funding the water treatment plant project. He added that as water issues this weekend showed, city water lines will need a good deal of attention in the near future. He said that refurbishing the water treatment plant will make it operate more efficiently and at less expense to the taxpayers, and it will be more effective in providing water to the city. He added that new federal regulations governing engineering services and preliminary work on municipal infrastructure projects are a paperwork nightmare.

Nesbitt said in the future, every municipal project will have to be bid individually rather than as a larger project that gets split into several phases. He told the council this is due to some recently implemented changes in federal regulations that will also make it necessary for KRADD to take over some of the duties that engineering firms such as Nesbitt have usually done in municipal infrastructure projects.

Nesbitt said in the future, engineering companies that undertake the early efforts on projects, lining up funding, placing ads for bids, and other non-engineering work will not be able to compete for the actual project. Mike Miller told the council KRADD will be happy to take on the work of securing funding, placing bids, and other non-technical services. Nesbitt added that the KRADD staff’s understanding of state and federal accounting procedures and other regulations will help projects secure approval for compliance purposes. The council voted unanimously to make the procedural changes. Miller said that working in Letcher, Perry Breathitt, and Lee counties on similar projects would keep KRADD busy.

In other business, Craft said there were six water leaks in the city over the weekend, caused in part by the cold weather. One major leak occurred in an old wooden line that runs across Webb Avenue to the Masonic Lodge Building. Craft said the wooden line is something the city needs to keep for historic purposes, and that he had asked Chris Caudill to make sure it is preserved so it can be kept as a souvenir. Paul Nesbitt told the council that the origin of the term fireplug comes from wooden lines because plugs were inserted in the lines when they were cut open so the hoses could be inserted into them. Thus, the term “fireplug.”

Craft also said that an altimeter that measures water levels and regulates flow between two city water tanks has failed and will need to be replaced. He said it would cost about $5,500 and the council voted unanimously to approve the expense.

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