Whitesburg KY

Jenkins mayor says he’s not leaving job

Jenkins Mayor G.C. Kincer told the city council at its February meeting that “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated” and said he is not going to resign as mayor. Kincer said the city is in good financial condition and progressing in every area. He said he would be happy to address any council member’s or citizen’s concerns about the city and invited citizens to visit City Hall to discuss the city’s future with him.

“Other than nasty rumors — and they are rumors — this city is strong,” said Kincer. “The city is strong, regardless of a few people who want to make something out of nothing.”

The council also received a favorable audit report from Lexington accountant Rodney Welch and voted to accept Kentucky Power’s bid for the franchise rights to provide electrical power to the city. It tabled bids for engineering services for a city project to provide natural gas to heat homes and businesses for city residents.

The council entered into an executive session after hearing a proposal from Ed Brown of Kenvirons Engineering of Lexington to discuss the bid situation. When the members emerged, Mayor Kincer said the two top scorers in the bidding had been Kenvirons and Summitt Engineering of Lexington and Pikeville. Tracy Goff of Summitt Engineering had been unable to attend the meeting to make a presentation because of the death of his father, and the council postponed a decision until a special meeting scheduled for Monday, February 11, at 7 p.m. at City Hall. At that time, the council will hear proposals from both Sum- mitt and Kenvirons before deciding.

The council voted unanimously to accept the bid of Kentucky Power Company for the power franchise after hearing a recommendation to that effect from City Attorney Randall Tackett. Tackett reported on the bidding and told the council that Kentucky Power had submitted the lone bid, which he recommended accepting. Mike Lasslo, manager of Distribution and Customer Services for Kentucky Power, told the council he was there to answer any questions the members may have and said tree trimming operations are planned for the area extending from Dunham to Burdine this year. He added that if anyone sees a tree that is partly down or obviously threatening a power line, they should call Kentucky Power in Hazard and a crew will be dispatched to take care of it.

Lasslo also said Kentucky Power crews will replace conductors in the Lakeside and Oak Street area of Jenkins. He said they are relatively old and that area has had a number of outages lately. Mayor Kincer told Lasslo the council will conduct the first reading of the ordinance awarding the franchise to Kentucky Power at the special called meeting on February 11.

Accountant Rodney Welch told the council that its 2012 audit reveals the city is on sound financial footing and the only problem area lies in the excessive losses or treated water. Welch said the city regularly loses over 70 percent of the treated water it produces, but added that he understands the situation is being taken care of through the Jenkins Water Line Replacement Project. Water income for 2012 stood at $359,000 against expenses of $636,000 for a net loss of $277,000. Of that loss, $244,000 came from depreciation, leaving an operating loss of just over $30,000. Welch said the city billed $368,000 for water in 2012.

The city’s total debt stands at $1,236,000, which includes infrastructure loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other funders for water line replacements and other improvements. The city equity stands at $1,101,000 with account receipts of $92,000, fixed assets of $16,413,000, and $9,436,000 equity in assets.

Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported that the Phase III, the Lakeside Waterline Extension, is 90 percent complete but added that while there have been no leaks in any of the new lines that have been installed in the city, the increase in pressure from the new lines causes old lines to break. Nesbitt said that when new lines are turned on, the city will produce about 25 percent less water than usual for first two to three weeks until older lines began to break. The situation will continue to some degree until all lines are replaced. A number of lines that still carry treated water simply run water into the ground because they no longer go to any particular destination and are so old they don’t show up on city maps. Construction workers have turned off those lines during construction when they find them. When the water line replacement is complete, the new lines will be the only ones that carry city water and Nesbitt said he hopes for a loss rate of about 10 percent.

Nesbitt also told the council that construction is underway on Phase II of the Payne Gap Water Project and the contractor is conducting road bores at present. He said a change order has been approved by Abandoned Mine Lands, which is funding the entire project, to extend lines down the Kona Spur to connect with lines belonging to the City of Fleming-Neon near Martha Jane Potter Elementary School. The lines will serve all the houses along the Kona Spur and several homes along Highway 805 running toward Neon. The Letcher County Water and Sewer District is currently completing plans for lines that will serve Millstone and homes between Martha Jane Potter Elementary School and Millstone.

Phase II of the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project, which will extend lines to Burdine, will go to bid soon. Nesbitt said easements are complete and bids will be let as soon as the city gets approval to bid from USDA’s Rural Development Agency. Nesbitt added that Phase III of the city’s sewer repair project, which will repair lines in Dunham, is still under study. He also said that funding applications for Phase IV of the water line replacement is underway.

The council voted to authorize Mayor Kincer to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with Abandoned Mine Lands for a $50,000 planning grant for an interconnect between the city water lines and lines belonging to the City of Fleming-Neon near Haymond on Highway 805. It also voted to re-advertise for bids for the roof replacement and other work on Giovanni’s Pizza. Neither of the original bidders attended the meeting. The council voted unanimously to accept the main road to Raven Rock Golf Course and the residential areas there into the city road system.

The city produced 16,541,000 gallons of treated water in January and sold 3,756,000, for a 74 percent overall loss. Of that, 5,074,000 gallons were accounted for leaving a net losses of 43 percent unaccounted. City workers have used 10 tons of road salt this winter and transported 112.5 tons of garbage to the landfill. There were 834 blue bags of recyclables picked up in January with 337 picked up on Tuesdays. City manager Todd DePriest reported that the permits for the new swimming pool will be released soon and construction should begin by February 15. Bids will also go out soon for the community center at the pool site.

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