Whitesburg KY

Jenkins facing water shortage

With Jenkins Lake already down 23 inches from normal and dropping two more inches per week, residents in the City of Jenkins can expect to be placed under mandatory water restrictions if drought conditions don’t start to improve soon.

That’s the message Jenkins Mayor Charles Dixon delivered Monday night at the October meeting of the Jenkins City Council.

Dixon told the council residents are already under a water shortage advisory, but that a water shortage alert will be declared soon if rains don’t start falling. Dixon said if a water shortage alert is declared, City Ordinance No. 124 will take effect and spell out what steps citizens must take to conserve water.

“We are in an emergency situation,” said Dixon.

Dixon outlined steps citizens can take to conserve water and prevent rationing, such as fixing water leaks on their own side of the meter, only running dishwashers and washing machines when they have a full load, installing efficient commodes, taking showers instead of baths, stop watering lawns and gardens and washing cars.

Dixon also asked citizens to call 832-2635 or 832-4218 to report water leaks.

The problem with the drought wasn’t the only bad news Dixon delivered to the city council Monday. The mayor said he has been told that if the city wants to obtain the property for a proposed welcome center on U.S. Highway 23 it will have to buy the land from the Kentucky Department of Transportation.

The welcome center, which would be built near the Kentucky Virginia state line, has been on the drawing board since nearly a decade ago when the late Representative Paul Mason of Whitesburg secured $500,000 for the project from the Kentucky General Assembly. If the welcome center is built, it would be the only rest area on U.S. 23 between the Tennessee-North Carolina state line and Waverly, Ohio.

Dixon questioned why the state was being so selective in helping with the rest stop.

“Why should Slade be the only place in eastern Kentucky with a rest stop?” asked Dixon, referring to the Junior Williamson Rest Area on the Mountain Parkway.

In other business, Police Chief Jim Stephens reported that Sgt. Adam Swindall and Officer Anthony Mattingly prevented an armed robbery in the city on Sunday night. Stephens also reported the department had answered 144 complaints, issued 22 citations and 51 warnings, made 20 arrests, and served four warrants. Stephens said four of the arrests were for driving under the influence, three were drug related, and four were for domestic disturbances. Officers worked two injury accidents and four propertyrelated accidents. Stephens said he has received a lot of positive comments from citizens, particularly for the good job police officers are doing in patrolling the city.

In city department reports, Foreman Shade Baldwin reported picking up 324 bags of recycling last month. Mayor Dixon said the city has been busy paving streets from the priority list and told the council that landfill bills for each of the last two months have exceeded $10,000. Dixon said if this continues some changes will have to be considered. He again urged citizens to recycle to cut down on landfill fees. Fire Chief Rick Corbett told the council the emergency medical technician training program should get underway soon and reported that several members of the Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department recently attended fire school at Pikeville. Corbett also said the department had responded to several brush fires that had been purposely set last month.

In the monthly water report, the city water department reported a 33 percent unaccounted loss of treated water, losing 5,083,000 gallons at a rate of 117 gallons per minute. Baldwin reported that city workers repaired 24 leaks and replaced over 300 feet of water line.

City Engineer Paul Nesbitt reported that water line work to provide service to Joe’s Branch has been completed and the pressure reducer will be installed by next Wednesday. The council voted unanimously to pay final invoices on the Joe’s Branch work and the connector to Mountain Water District in Pike County. Nesbitt also said his company, Nesbitt Engineering, is pursuing funding for a project to dredge Jenkins Lake and he recently spoke with U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers and two of his aides about funding for the project. Nesbitt said Rogers also discussed the possibility of obtaining funding for sewer projects in the area.

In other city business:

• No bids were received to extend the city sidewalk along Lakeside Drive to Jenkins High School.

• The council voted unanimously to approve Ordinance #133-A, which amends the amount the city can spend without bidding to $20,000.

• Mayor Dixon tabled a request by the Jenkins Community Hospital to remove a flower box on Main Street to make room for parking a mobile CT Unit because no representative from the hospital was at the meeting.

• Dixon also reported that negotiations on a request from Inter Mountain Cable for a rate increase are ongoing.

• The council gave Dixon permission to ask for bids on a recycling trailer.

• Jim Polly of the Planning Committee reported on an educational meeting concerning senior citizens needs at Kentucky River Area Development District. Polly said transportation and housing are the prime needs and that as baby boomers continue to age, needs will increase. Polly said Letcher County has the second-highest concentration of seniors in the state.

• Ked Sanders reported that the Little Shepherd Theater Folk Festival will take place October 4- 6, with programs for elementary students in grades four through six on Friday. Sanders said the festival will include storytelling, music and traditional food.

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