Residents of the City of Jenkins will be given the opportunity to decide next month whether alcohol sales should be allowed in qualifying retail establishments.
The city, which now permits the sale of alcoholic beverages only in qualified restaurants, will attempt to join a number of other eastern Kentucky cities and counties by voting to allow full alcohol sales.
Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb confirmed Monday that Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward has ordered the “local option election” to be held September 27. Votes from resident of all four Jenkins precincts — Burdine, East Jenkins, West Jenkins and Dunham — will be cast at the Jenkins Middle- High School, Webb said.
Webb is required by law to place a legal advertisement in The Mountain Eagle notifying Jenkins resident about the election. The ad will ap- pear in the August 10 edition.
Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade said that signatures on a petition requesting the election for expanded alcohol sales have been verified. Meade said that while school will be in session on the day of the election, the Jenkins School System has agreed to let the city to use the middle high school for a voting site for all four precincts.
Since Jenkins voted to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants with 50 or more seats that derive a minimum of 70 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of food in 2011, wet/dry issues have passed in a number of locations in the region, including London, Barbourville, Harlan and, most recently, in Breathitt County. At this time, only one restaurant, Las Penãs, sells alcohol in Jenkins.
The question on the ballot will read, “Are ou in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in the City of Jenkins?”
In other business at its August meeting this week, the council welcomed newly appointed member Toni Jenkins, who was chosen last month to finish out the term of Kyle Walker, who died earlier in the summer. Mayor Depriest said Jenkins was sworn in by Letcher County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward after the August council meeting, when she was voted in.
In other business, the sale of delinquent city taxes will be held on August 15 at 9 a.m. Mayor Depriest told the council that city hall staff has done everything it can to help people avoid having their taxes sold and will continue to do so until the last minute possible.
“If you’re having trouble, come in (to city hall),” said Depriest. “We want to work with everybody and we will help you in any way possible.”
City Manager Benny McCall said that delinquent tax bills would be in this week’s edition of Mountain Eagle and added that he appreciates the hard work done by the city hall staff in trying to contact delinquent taxpayers in advance. Depriest said that two issues complicated things in contacting the delinquent tax holders, multiple heirs, and property owners who have either died or have moved and cannot be contacted. However, he said that staff has done a good job in contacting people and working with them.
“We have nothing to gain by selling your taxes,” said Depriest, meaning that the city will get the same amount of revenue from the back taxes if it sells them or if they are paid. “We don’t want to do it.” He added that the delinquent tax roll will be published for two weeks.
Depriest also told the council that pipeline construction in Dunham is now compete and that the contractor will blacktop roads in Dunham that have been torn up by the construction. Ken Reid of Nesbitt Engineering, project engineer for the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project, told the council that city workers have started putting water in the Dunham tank and, while there is some clean-up work to do, the project is mostly complete.
Reid also said that the Camden Bridge replacement is underway and that the contractors are getting ready to replace the old bridge. Reid said the project, which also requires that the city’s water line be replaced, will be paid for by the Kentucky Department of Transportation. Mayor Depriest told the council that when the water line was removed, it hadn’t been turned off and the city lost a good deal of water from the mistake.
Depriest said he also wanted to address the issue of four-wheelers and dirt bikes on city streets. City Manager McCall said that when Jenkins became an “ATV Friendly” city, it was expected that ATV and dirt bike riders would obey city laws, including staying off city streets except for brief trips to buy gas or supplies, and for all ATV riders to be over 16 and wear helmets. However, some ATV and dirt bike riders are riding through town at high speeds and doing burnouts late at night.
Depriest congratulated the Letcher County Coal Diggers, the county’s women’s softball team, for finishing third in the state tournament. The council also voted to change the September meeting from September 5, which falls on Labor Day, until September 12. It will be held at city hall at 7 p.m. Councilman Chuck Anderson told the council that the Homecoming Festival is ready to go on August 25, and that there has been a good deal of interest in renting tents for the park during the festival.
The Jenkins Police Department responded to approximately 10 complaints in July and issued 15 citations and two verbal warnings for minor traffic offenses. Police officers made 14 arrests, with two for DUI and five that were drug related. Officers served nine warrants and two criminal/ civil warrants. They also responded to two accidents with property damage and one with an injury, along with six domestic violence complaints and one motorist assist.
Police officers also assisted the Jenkins Independent Schools with its Back-to-School Bash and conducted a “Knock and Talk” program in areas where they have received complaints about “high traffic,” which Mayor Depriest said is often indicative of drug activity. They were assisted by the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department and the K-9 Unit from the Pike County Sheriff ’s Department and conducted their Knock and Talk in Mudtown and the Goodwater Falls apartments. Depriest said the program resulted in the seizure of narcotics and paraphernalia.
The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department made 29 runs in July and answered one alarm. It made 10 EMT responses, and responded to three vehicle accidents with injury. The department also made one mountain rescue and responded to two structure fires and one vehicle fire.