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Fiscal court votes to have two buildings appraised




The Letcher Fiscal Court voted this week to hire a stateapproved appraiser to determine the value of the old Whitesburg Post Office building and the old Jenkins High School building.

Approval for the hiring the appraiser came in two separate votes Monday night at the fiscal court’s July meeting.

District One Magistrate Wayne Fleming made the motion to have the old post office appraised, and District Two Magistrate Archie Banks asked that the old Jenkins High School building be added. Fleming told Banks the high school appraisal would have to be made in a separate motion because he “wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole.”

Banks said the appraisal was not part of a movement to sell the old school. He said the court needs to know the value of the properties in order to make effective decisions.

The court also declined to make the final payment to Lee Sims, former project architect for the old high school after questions arose about a change order. The court agreed not to pay the final invoice until Sims or the contractor could provide a better explanation than what accompanied the bill.

Letcher Judge/Executive Jim Ward told the court the Cumberland River Ambulance Service has been forced to discontinue operations because of a lack of money. Ward said that because of the low number of ambulance runs, money had been scarce for the service and as fuel and other costs grew Cumberland River officials made the decision to close.

Ward said two coal companies with mines in the Cumberland River service area have offered to donate $30,000 each to keep the ambulance service going. Ward said that with the donations from Black Mountain Resources and Cumberland River Coal Company, plus the $20,000 annual allocation from the fiscal court, he believes the ambulance service should be able to continue to operate. Ward said if that isn’t possible, he would offer a contract to keep an ambulance service in the Cumberland River area to the other two services in the county.

In other court business:

. The Old Jenkins High School Committee reported they will offer tours of the old high school to the combined 1958, 59, and 1960 class reunions this coming weekend.

. Doris Adams of the Letcher County Tourism Commission told the court the commission will give each festival committee in the county $1,000 for expenses. Adams presented a request from the Blackey Festival Committee with her report.

. Jim Scott of McRoberts reported on the progress of a building renovation being done in McRoberts with funds from Toyota USA. Scott told the court the McRoberts committee had voted to name the building the McRoberts DeAngelo Recreation Center in honor of Toyota USA President Stephen DeAngelo. The court voted unanimously to advance the McRoberts group $11,000 to complete the center until coal severance tax funds are available to pay them back.

. Judge Ward reported that work began on Monday to clear the Pioneer Horse Trail on Pine Mountain. A complete report on the horse trail appears elsewhere in this edition of The Mountain Eagle.

. The court voted to authorize County Surveyor Richard Hall to survey the left fork of Marshall’s Branch to determine if a speed limit is needed there and to look at the intersection at Chopping Branch in McRoberts as well.

. The court took no action on a request to allow a coal company to rebuild a county bridge at Ice. Ward said that in the absence of County Attorney Harold Bolling, who had to attend another meeting, questions of liability could not be answered.

. The court voted unanimously to approve the budget of the Pine Mountain Regional Authority, a Harlan County Industrial Park with which Letcher County participates.

. County Treasurer Phillip Hampton told court members they have been good stewards of the people’s money during the last fiscal year and said there were impressive end-of-year balances in every account. Hampton said all accounts are in the black. He said the court’s achievement is especially impressive when compared to budget problems and lay-offs in several surrounding counties.

. The court awarded a contract for security devices for se- nior citizens centers to Lewis Electric, the low bidder. Ward said Lewis will install security alarms and motion detectors to guard against burglaries such as the recent theft of a wide screen television at Fleming. Ward said all Wii game systems are now locked up.

. Magistrate Archie Banks proposed raises for the front office staff. Banks said that Doris Jean Frazier, Hettie Adams, and Debbie Collins had performed above and beyond their duty and have been excellent representatives of the county government. The court voted unanimously to give Frazier and Adams each a $3,500 raise and to put Collins on salary with starting pay of $26,000. Collins had previously been paid hourly, and Banks said this represented a raise for her as well.

. The court voted unanimously to designate a portion of Meadow Fork Road as the Solomon H. Whitaker Memorial Highway in honor of the man who built the first road by hand.

In Reports from county departments:

. Litter Warden Darrell Banks reported checking 11 dumps in June and having three cleaned up. Eleven people were arraigned for littering and seven were set for pre-trial. Two were deferred and two pled guilty. Banks answered 14 complaints and had property owners clean up around seven homes.

. County Road Foreman John Adams reported that county road workers blacktopped the Whitaker Cemetery Road, Beetree Road, Yonts Fork, Setter Road, Grassy Fork, Taylor Road, Pheasant Drive, Darling Road, Goosecreek Road, Violet Drive, School House Hill, Allspice Drive, Jim Banks Road, Slate Avenue, Short Hollow, State Drive, Grays Branch, Phoenix Drive, Thornton Gap, Mack Drive, Sidney Drive, Four Wheel Drive, and Madden Lane. Workers also cut brush, graded and graveled roads, and performed other work throughout the county.

. Letcher County 911 Director Brandon Conley reported taking two men to World Wide Equipment to pick up two new Mack dump trucks, delivering pagers to Kings Creek Fire Department, picking up equipment throughout the county, making lettering for Senior Citizens Centers and county trucks, repairing pagers, and making signs and putting them up where needed.

Balances of county funds as listed in the treasurer’s report were:

. General Fund. $367,955

.Road and Bridge, $1,655,457

. Jail Fund, $199,195

. LGEA Fund, $259,068

. Senior Citizens Fund, $103,561

. Forestry Fund, $3,538

. Courthouse Funded Depreciation Account, $430,423

. Courthouse Debt Service Account, $386.87

. Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, $0.00


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