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Jenkins council hears about finished water project, success of Christmas lights at Fishpond

Mayor hails tourism efforts

A water line project that replaced lines to the far reaches of the City of Jenkins has been completed.

Harold Kelly, of Nesbitt Engineering, who inspects the contractor’s work, said at the Jenkins City Council meeting Monday that the water meters for the new lines are on order, and there are a few driveways still left to repair, but otherwise the work is done. He said driveway repair will have to wait because of the weather.

“We’re going to wait till spring to complete it so we can do a good job,” Kelly said.

The city voted to pay Ronnie Mullins and Sons, the contractor, $73,389.01, which will bring the project to 95 percent completed and paid. Mayor Todd Depriest said the city is holding the remaining 5 percent until the work Kelly mentioned is completed. Another $6,400 went to Nesbitt for its work on the project.

Also at the teleconferenced meeting

Monday night, Depriest said the city is still waiting for more information about the Infrastructure Act passed and signed into law last month, and is waiting for word on a BRIC grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the city’s dam.

BRIC, which stands for Building Resiliant Infrastructure and Communities, is intended to reduce risk of natural disaster, including dam breaks. The dam at the city’s reser- voir is 109 years old and has a leak that needs to be repaired. Depriest said the grant hasn’t been awarded, but it hasn’t been denied either.

“Questions are still coming in, which is good because it means they’re still interested in it,” he said.

Depriest also called councilmembers attention to Letcher County Tourism’s Lights on the Pond event at Fishpond Lake at Payne Gap. He said the tourism commission and the county judge’s office have put a lot of effort into the event, and it’s paying off with carloads of people circling the lake to see the Christmas lights.

“If people here would help promote what’s going on, whether it’s the museum, the lake, the golf course, Lilley Cornett, Bad Branch Falls or anything in the county, we need to brag on it,” Depriest said. “I know we take it for granted, But people drive from hundreds of miles away to look at it, and they’re a lot more excited about it than we are. We need to get some excitement about it and get it moving.”

• Heard a report from Eunice Fitzpatrick Holland of KRADD on grant applications. The city didn’t get an Abandoned Mine Lands pilot grant it asked for, however the agency is now working on a transportation and recreation grant application that will create an steering committee to address revitalization plans and evaluate the city’s assets. She said KRADD is also working on a master bicycle and pedestrian plan for the entire county, which will also be available for the city when it is finished.

• High mast lighting is also being installed on U.S. 23 at the U.S. 119 intersection, Holland said. The lighting is an attempt to prevent accidents in a curve on the steep grade south of the turnoff.

• Heard a report from City Attorney Randall Tackett that Cathy Hughes will be the new curator of the David A. Zageer Coal and Railroad Museum. He said there are also several issues with the building for the museum that need to be repaired.

• Voted to allow Depriest to sign to accept any money the city may receive from an opioid settlement reached between the state and pharmaceutical companies. Tackett said the settlement is $480 million and local governments in the state will get half of the money. He said the city should be prepared to act quickly once Kentucky Attorney General’s office makes the money available.

The settlement comes after a years-long suit against Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors — AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. The companies were first sued in Kentucky by then Attorney General and now Gov. Andy Beshear, in addition to attorneys general and local governments from all over the United States. The settlement was announced in July.

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