The Jenkins City Council found itself without a quorum at its May meeting, making it the second time in two months the council could not convene due to lack of a quorum. However, the council, with Mayor G.C. Kincer, City Attorney Randall Tackett, and members Kyle Walker, Rebecca Amburgey, and Chuck Anderson present, held an informal meeting to move things forward although no official business could be conducted and no votes could be taken.
Kincer told the council and audience that although the council could not conduct official business, it could hear an informal first reading of the city’s $2,024,850 budget for Fiscal
Year 2014- 2015, and City Attorney Tackett read the executive summary of the budget. Tackett added that a summary is available for public view in the City Clerk’s Office at Jenkins City Hall although the budget will not be official until it has been read and voted on by a quorum of council members. Financial Officer Robin Kincer told the council that the draft the members received will probably be changed in the coming month since at the time of the meeting, she had not received the rates from the insurance carriers that provide coverage to city employees or the rates for the city’s liability insurance. She added that final property tax receipts are not yet available.
In other business, Rebecca
Amburgey asked about “the bear issue,” the increase in the presence of bears in city limits. Police Chief Jim Stephens told the council he has spoken with officials with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Game, who told him they would bring bear traps to Jenkins and try to remove the animals in a humane fashion. Stephens said most reports have focused on two bears, a bigger one, and a smaller one, which may be a cub. He said that recently, one person had heard noises coming from his next door neighbor’s basement and when he went to check on it, he was confronted by a bear, although he got away unharmed.
Chief Stephens also told the council that former Jenkins Police Officer Crystal Davis, who is currently serving as a Letcher County ranger, has agreed to accept the position of deputy chief of police for Jenkins. Stephens said he is very pleased to have Davis come back to the department and added that he has another female officer in the pipeline to join the force. He said the addition of Davis and an additional officer should cut overtime for the currently undermanned department way down. Stephens said that once the hiring is completed, he would like to be able to keep the personnel in place for a long time and emphasized how important continuity is to a police department.
Stephens also told the council that the alleyway behind the hospital building is not a good place for vehicle traffic, because Appalachian Regional Hospital business office staff come and go from one building to another and it could endanger someone. He said the overlying issue is not so much using the alley as it is the poor visibility at the intersection of Lakeside Drive and Main Street. He suggested that the last three parking spaces on the side of Main Street facing toward Burdine across from Hardees at the site of the old Flower House building be limited to cars only, and said the action would enhance visibility and make the intersection safer.
Rebecca Amburgey reported that a swimming class will be held at the Jenkins Swimming Pool as part of a Century 21 Program that will be held through the Jenkins Schools System. She said the class will only be available for children eligible for Jenkins Schools and will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. during the first week of June. Mayor Kincer confirmed that the pool is on schedule to open on Saturday, May 17.
Kincer said state regulators and inspectors have held up the opening of the Jenkins Las Peñas Restaurant, located at the city center next to the swimming pool. Kincer said everything is ready except for the instal- lation of a range hood and the final inspection. Amburgey said the building also needs little work on the outside, but said the restaurant is beautiful.
The council also talked about the possibility of changing the regular meeting date to Thursday. Mayor Kincer pointed to several recent incidences when a meeting had to be postponed because of holidays or other events falling on Monday, as well as recent difficulties getting a quorum, and said it is also a heavy workday at City Hall. No vote could be taken, but a meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, May 8, to serve as the regular May meeting.
Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, who works with the city on water and sewer issues, attended the meeting and told the council that the sewer lines running to Dunham have been inspected using movie cameras and said city workers will conduct smoke testing soon to help locate leaks and improperly installed drains and downspouts. Nesbitt said workers will alert each home in the area when smoke testing will take place by hanging a notification on the door concerning the date of the test. He added that the new filters are in place at the city water treatment plant and are almost ready to go into service.