Whitesburg KY
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City to use cameras to fight illegal use of trash Dumpsters

Letcher County residents who haul couches, appliances and other large items into Whitesburg to dispose of them at city-owned Dumpsters will soon find themselves captured on camera. But instead of appearing on television, their screen debut will take place in court.

The Whitesburg City Council has given Mayor James Wiley Craft permission to negotiate with a local vendor to purchase a video surveillance system to use to monitor Dumpster sites. The vendor, Chris Baker, told the council at its November meeting last week that he has the equipment necessary to monitor the sites and bring the problem of illegal dumping under control.

Craft said it is an illegal act for people who do not pay city taxes to use city Dumpsters at all. He said the large volume of dumping costs the city extra in haul bills and takes time away from other necessary services. Craft told the council he had explored other alternatives, such as locking down lids on the Dumpsters, but that would unnecessarily inconvenience citizens and cause a larger pile up as well.

The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance granting a non-exclusive franchise to provide cable television and Internet service for the City of Whitesburg to TV Service of Hindman. Mayor Craft told the council that TVS has moved to offer immediate service on the first 50 channels through the existing wiring in the system and will work section by section to replace the old wiring with high capacity fiber optic cable. Craft said the city has reserved the right to review channels deemed offensive or to review rate increases. TVS will be liable for damage to city streets and will pay a five percent franchise fee to the city. The franchise fee first goes to the state which reimburses the city.

In other business at the meeting, Council member John Williams praised the Whitesburg Volunteer Fire Department for its work in sav ing a house in the Upper Bottom section from burning. Williams said a home on Texas Avenue, belonging to Kenny and Pam Spangler, was saved by the excellent response of firefighters.

Craft told the council one of the household members had to flee to the garage roof to escape the smoke and was rescued by jumping into the arms of city police officers and firefighters. Williams said he had received numerous comments from other citizens praising the fire department and police department for their actions.

Reverend Jack Sparks, who regularly conducts the opening prayer for the council, said smoke woke the couple up and that the fire had the stairs blocked. Sparks said the quick response helped to limit damages to the property. Craft joined Williams, a longtime member of the fire department, in his praise and added that the council has been very involved in helping to upgrade both departments.

“People who saw it raved about the job,” said Craft. “That (improving the fire and police departments) has been the focus of the mayor and council. I’m sure they (the Spanglers) are thankful you guys did such a tremendous job.”

Craft also praised the efforts of local businesses and volunteers for their work in putting on a Halloween “safe night” at Riverside Park. Craft said at least 1,000 children attended the event accompanied by adults, and that candy had run out before the evening was over. The council and mayor had a table at the event. Council member Freda McFall said the Whitesburg Woman’s Club also voiced its praise for the event.

In other business:

• The council heard the first reading of Ordinance 2007-9, which will keep the city in compliance with Kentucky Revised Statutes for flood insurance purposes.

• The council learned that work on the new wastewater treatment facility will begin on November 26 and should be completed within a year. Pipeline construction will begin in the spring so city streets won’t be torn up during the winter. Summit Engineering will present the council with plans for widening Maple Street at Route 15 for a turning lane.

• The council voted to allow Revealed Ministries to conduct a roadblock on December 1 for the purpose of funding a mission trip to Puerto Rico for young adults.

• The council voted to approve a planned expenditure of $19,500 to pour concrete for a skateboard park in West Whitesburg.

• The council voted to provide a choice of a ham or turkey to 35 city employees for Thanksgiving, including volunteer firefighters.

• In its monthly report to the council, Veoila Water reported ongoing problems with rags and other foreign objects in sewer lines damaging pump stations. Rags were removed from pumps at the college lift station twice and three times from the lift station near the middle and elementary schools in West Whitesburg. Veoila also had to “jet out” the manhole at the Letcher County Health Department to remove rags there.

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