The City of Whitesburg will grow by approximately 11 acres, following a vote by the Whitesburg City Council at its January meeting. Following a presentation of survey maps by Surveyor Richard Hall, the council voted to add a development owned by Jarisa Land Development to the city. The property is located across US 119 from the Ermine Dairy Bar and the storage buildings just past Less Tax. Hall told the council Jarisa Development has built two multi-family houses there as rental properties, and said plans are underway to develop several more. The vote to annex the property was unanimous. Mayor James Wiley Craft said the city is already getting the necessary permits to extend water and sewer lines to the property.
Continuing on the subject of annexation, Councilman Derek Barto asked Mayor Craft if any progress was being made on annexing the rest of the Solomon Road area. Craft said the holdup is getting consent from each homeowner. Craft said that while some want to be annexed, other people do not, and said it will probably require a doorto door canvas of the area. Hall told the council that it will be a good deal more expensive to survey the area if there is not a contiguous line of properties coming in to the city, He said that surveying a number of unconnected individual properties is very expensive.
Hall said that annexation surveys are not property surveys and it will cost approximately $1,000 each to go around properties where the owner does not wish to be annexed and do the individual survey. Newly-elected Councilman Mike Jackson suggested the council advertise in The Mountain Eagle for a response from property owners, but Hall said that in previous attempts when blanket requests have been made, the rate of response has not been good.
Mayor Craft said the city has furnished water and sewer service to the area for quite some time, but added it does not provide police or fire services to properties that have refused annexation. Jackson said it would be a shame for somebody’s home to burn down while waiting on a response from an out-of-town fire department because the owner had refused annexation.
Councilman Barto suggested sending a city employee to survey the area, but after some discussion, Barto and council member Robin Bowen Watko agreed that they would volunteer to lead an effort to go house to house in the Solomon area and ask individual homeowners if they will agree to being annexed. Mayor Craft said that being in the city limits with service from the Whitesburg Police and Fire Departments will lower insurance rates for homeowners.
In other business, Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported that efforts to secure funding for several city projects are ongoing. Nesbitt also said that Water Maintenance Director Chris Caudill had asked him to give the water report while Caudill is on vacation, and passed on a request from Caudill for the purchase of sand and anthracite for filtration at the city water plant. In response to a question from Mayor Craft, Nesbitt said the purchase, which would amount to just under $20,000, was necessary. Craft said that since the amount would be under the $20,000 that requires that a bid be placed, the council could authorize it. The vote to authorize the request was unanimous.
Mayor Craft also told the council that at the last meeting of the Housing Authority Board of Directors, the board had asked that the council re-appoint Herb Caudill to the board for another term. The vote to approve Caudill was unanimous.