The City of Jenkins will be working with less this year, due to increased costs and a slightly smaller budget.
The Jenkins City Council conducted the first reading of the city’s budget for 2019-2020 Monday night. City Attorney Randall Tackett read a budget summary which calls for a balanced budget with expenditures of $2,047,615 against revenue of $2,047,615. The budget is slightly lower than last year’s budget of $2,071,197, and Mayor Todd Depriest told the council that at this point, the city is trying to stay even and accomplish what it can.
He said the city cannot take on any new programs at this time unless there are additional sources of revenue, and added that this year’s budget will be tight.
The city’s general fund will total $830,985; Local Government Economic Assistance $39,300; road fund, $45,000; water funds, $ 546,330; sewer funds, $331,250; and solid waste, $254,750.
In other business, the council learned that work on the Jenkins SmileFaith Community Center is nearing completion, but it will require additional fundraising to complete. Shannon Sizemore, director of the center, told the council that the interior walls are up and that part of the building now has gas heat.
Sizemore said locker rooms with showers, a fitness space with equipment, a walking track, and table game like ping pong are all part of the recreation facility. A space for children to play, a party room, an inflatable slide, and a bouncy house are also part of the plan. The check-in area will have a coffee bar with smoothies, books, and music, and there will also be a kitchen area and a meeting room. Sizemore about $100,000 is still needed to complete the work and SmileFaith has partnered with SOAR (Save Our Appalachian Region). She added that they have applied for grants and are in the process of recruiting corporate partners.
According to information on its website, Smile- Faith is a Florida-based non-profit corporation that provides charitable dental care, wellness programs, and what it calls “life changing resources.” It serves underserved populations in Florida and Appalachian Kentucky, and has a Veterans Dental Clinic in Port Richie, Fla., that provides dental care to honorably discharged veterans on a one-time basis. Veterans can choose between extractions, cleaning, or fillings, and they will be put in touch with low cost dental providers in the Tampa, Fla. area.
SmileFaith delivers dental care in eastern Kentucky with the aid of dental volunteers. It has dental “events” sponsored by various volunteer dentists that can be accessed through its website, www.smilefaith.org. Sizemore said that one of SmileFaith’s most important outreach programs in Appalachia is providing dentures. The Veterans Lab fulfills digitally-transmitted denture orders from virtually any location. A scanner is used on site in eastern Kentucky to take pictures and all of the necessary measurements of a patient’s mouth, then the machine will then create a pair of dentures in about five minutes. This cuts out a lot of the labor and time spent on the denture-making process.
In a later conversation with The Mountain Eagle, Sizemore said the cost for an entire set of dentures is $60, and $30 for a partial. It is necessary to fill out an application to get into the denture program and there is a waiting list. She said that the program helps 60 patients who need dentures each year and is in the fourth year of service. SmileFaith has reached its capacity for both 2019 and 2020 and is not currently taking applications.
Sizemore called special attention to Dr. Myron Schrock and his wife Sharon of Blountstown, Fla., who visit Jenkins every summer. She said the Schrocks will be in Jenkins on June 14 and 15 to see patients who have appointments. He will be back July 26 and 27 for follow-up care. Another free dental clinic will be held July 7 and 8. Dentists who wish to volunteer should contact Dental Coordinator Chrystal Bentley at 606-634-9335. Dental professionals who volunteer with SmileFaith will receive continuing education credits.
The councilanswered a complaint from B&O Hill resident David Back, who told them a neighbor is blocking the road with garbage and a junk car. Back said the right of way to his home is blocked and right now, a mattress is in the road. Back also said the road on B&O Hill needs repairs. Council members Sammy Elswick and Ernestine Hill told Depriest they have both visited Back’s home and looked at the problem. Both said the road is blocked and Elswick said he had to back up to a place where he could turn.
City Attorney Tackett said he will need to look at a map to see if the road that is blocked is a city road or a private road. Depriest said he will look into it as well, but if it is a private road there is nothing the city can do. He added that a zoning plan that is underway should protect homeowners from similar problems. However, he added that zoning can be unnecessarily restrictive and he is trying to avoid that. In the past, zoning has been a highly contentious issue in Jenkins and other parts of Letcher County.
Hill reported that volunteers from the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Jenkins have been trying to help with the lily pad problem in Jenkins Lake by cutting the pads back before they have a chance to bloom and get established. Depriest said the volunteers are using a machine the city purchased last year and he hopes it will help to solve a problem that has plagued the city for years.
Depriest reminded ATV riders that although Jenkins is an ATV friendly town, the use of city roads is restricted to riders who are in city limits to buy gas or supplies at city vendors, and that all riders must obey the law. He said that includes wearing helmets. After riders purchase supplies, Depriest said he hopes they enjoy the trails and ride safely.
Depriest also reminded citizens that the city cleanup is underway and that city crews will pick up large items at designated sites. He asked for patience because the city only has one sanitation truck in operation, although the engine is being installed in the back-up truck. He added that Jenkins police officers will be looking at code enforcement in regard to keeping homes and yards neat. For information on pickup sites, call Jenkins City Hall.
The Jenkins Police Department responded to 54 calls. The officers issued 18 citations, three summonses, seven warrants, and eight warnings. They made 10 arrests, including one for driving under the influence, four drugrelated arrests, and four arrests for domestic violence. The department answered three collisions with injury and four collisions without injury, and made four motorist assists.
Police Chief Josh Richardson reported that in April the Jenkins Police Department seized two vehicles while making narcotics arrests. The vehicles are a 1999 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Motorcycle, and a 2016 Ford Explorer. Richardson said both vehicles were being used to transport and distribute narcotics, including cocaine and methamphetamine. He added that both are subject to forfeiture to become the property of the Jenkins Police Department.
The city produced 11,560,000 gallons of treated water in April and sold 5,160,000 gallons, for a difference of 6.4 million gallons. Of that 4,224,000 gallons were accounted for, and 2,176,000 gallons were unaccounted for, a 19 percent loss.
Depriest attributed the 2,176,000 unaccounted gallons to water losses due to leaks on steep hillsides and side streets where new water lines have not been installed. He said the city is waiting on notification from the Appalachian Regional Commission to determine final approval for a grant to replace the remainder of the city’s water lines. He said that he has been notified that a grant to finish the sidewalk from the Jenkins football field to Jenkins Middle High School has been approved and the city will receive 100 percent funding.