Residents and workers in the City of Jenkins will no longer be required to purchase city auto stickers after the current cycle expires.
The Jenkins City Council voted unanimously at its August meeting Monday to end the practice of selling auto stickers to raise city funds at the suggestion of Mayor G.C. Kincer. Kincer said the revenue raised is less than the city’s cost of obtaining, selling and enforcing the stickers. He also said the current policy creates an unfair situation because some citizens comply with the law and buy their stickers while others refuse to obey the law and then flaunt it.
The council was enthusiastic about abandoning the sale of city stickers. Kincer said he introduced the topic now because it is getting near the deadline to order new stickers for the coming year. The city sticker law will continue to be enforced until January 31, 2014.
The council also learned Monday night that plans are to fill the new city swimming pool with water for the first time this week. The news came after Council Member Rebecca Terrill Amburgey’s apology to the citizens for her two erroneous predictions of an opening date of the swimming pool. Kincer then told the council the pool would be filled, hopefully on Wednesday. However, both Kincer and City Attorney Randall Tackett cautioned eager swimmers that the pool would take several days to heat the water and treat it with chemicals.
While Kincer was unsure of an actual date for a grand opening, in part because of a gloomy weather forecast, he did say that he is absolutely certain the pool will be open for the Jenkins Homecoming Festival set for August 22-24.
Councilman Chuck Anderson, a member of the festival committee, told the council that Kentucky band Exile, famous for their 1978 pop hit, “I Want to Kiss You all Over,” will be the headline act and will play at 8 p.m. Saturday evening, with a fireworks show to follow the performance. The Washington. D.C. R&B band The Clovers, one of the original 1950s doo-wop groups, will perform Friday evening. The Clovers’ biggest hit was their 1959 release of “Love Potion Number 9,” which reached 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart The group also had a string of hits in the early 1950s on the Billboard R&B charts.
In other business, Kincer proposed using a city owned building in Dairy Hollow as a wellness center. He said that while he knows the city can’t afford to compete with the Letcher County Recreation Center, he would like to use the Head Start building as a wellness center, with exercise and weight lifting machines, and exercise classes for the public. He said there is ample room and the building is under-utilized. Council Member Amburgey, an administrator at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation in Whitesburg, said there are grants available for wellness programs. Kincer said he would initiate the process.
The council also approved a request made by Kincer to issue a change order for the use of $90,000 in previously allocated funds for the community center building. The center is the old Bert Fields home, adjacent to the swimming pool. Kincer told the council that he would like to move the work to the interior of the house rather than shutting down work in the winter. He said his main purpose is that he wants to continue the momentum on the building, and the house will require a good deal of work to convert it to a community center.
Kincer also asked the council to designate the stretch of Highway 805 running through town as Main Street. Councilman Rick Damron said the street is already called Main Street in the original city charter, which was drawn up by Consolidation Coal Company when the city was founded in 1912. Kincer said that with modern 911 naming and other designations, Main Street has fallen out of official use and that he would like to notify the Kentucky Department of Highways that the street is to be known as Main Street on Highway 805.
Kincer said it is embarrassing when someone asks where City Hall is located and are told it is on Highway 805 rather than Main Street. Wendell “Butch “Boggs, who owned and operated Boggs Pharmacy for many years, told the council that the common response for many years when anyone asked where City Hall was located had been “across from the Post Office.”
Kincer also made a brief reference to the recent tragic shooting that left four people dead in Jenkins. During the monthly police report, given by Officer Crystal Davis in the absence of Police Chief Roland Craft, Kincer said that all the staff of the City of Jenkins wanted to express their deep sorrow for the events and to extend their sympathy to the families of those who were killed.
Kincer also praised the actions of the Jenkins Police Department during the situation and asked Davis to pass that on to Chief Craft, as well as a request that the department heighten its visibility and increase patrols for the time being.
Davis replied that Craft had already instructed officers to increase patrols, and said that procedures for accomplishing both are in place.
In another police-related matter, Amburgey asked Officer Davis to remind other officers that school begins in Jenkins Independent Schools on August 8. She asked the department to be particularly watchful for speeders around school zones. Davis replied that Chief Craft has already issued instructions to officers for an increased police presence around schools, particularly in the mornings and evenings when classes take up and dismiss
Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, who works with the city on water and sewer projects, told the council he met recently with officials from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency and that Phase II of the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project will probably go to bid within 45 days. Phase II will replace existing lines from B&O Hill to Burdine. The council voted to approve a resolution granting access to city streets for the construction work.
Nesbitt said that Phase III of the waterline replacement project is nearly complete and the final work will involve replacing filter media at the city water plant as well as installing new lines to the tank at Payne Gap, which will serve county customers from Payne Gap to Mayking. The entire Payne Gap project is being administered by the City of Jenkins and will be turned over to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District upon completion. The project is paid for by Abandoned Mine Lands and Jenkins will sell water to county customers from a master meter located at the tank site.
Nesbitt also told the council that Childers Oil and the Gateway Industrial Park had donated the land for the tank site and the access road to the tank. Nesbitt said that the design on the interconnect between Jenkins water lines and those belonging to the City of Fleming-Neon is about 80 percent complete and that the project will probably be funded and ready to go to bid by July 2014.
In other council business:
• Rebecca Amburgey told the council that the recent “Cruise- In” event had drawn hundreds of people into the city and said it had been very successful.
• Mayor Kincer reported that the Kentucky Department of Water had recognized the Jenkins City Water Plant as one of 54 plants statewide that regularly exceeds state water standards. Kincer said that City Water Plant Foreman David Richardson has done an excellent job.