The Jenkins City Council started its new year with a new administration and in a smaller setting.
Newly- elected Mayor Todd Depriest announced that the council will meet in the downstairs chamber room for better accessibility until the city can come up with enough funding to install a lift or other means of accessing the second floor.
Mayor Depriest also issued a request to everyone who is disabled, shut-in, of restricted means, or to anyone knowing of someone who is, to please contact city hall. He said he wants to create a database of people who have difficulty getting out so the city can check on them in extreme weather or other emergencies. The telephone number for city hall is 832-2142.
Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported on water and sewer issues, and told the council that since the sewer lines in the Dunham to Jenkins area were rehabilitated by running liners through them, the daily usage rate at the sewer plant in Burdine has dropped dramatically. Nesbitt said the Gateway Industrial Authority had asked the city to consider additional capacity at the plant to accommodate the expansion of business at the industrial park, but the repairs on the sewer lines have reduced the influx of water from rain, creeks and storm drains to the point that the sewer plant now runs well below capacity, where it had been running over capacity. Nesbitt said that ideally, the plant should be running at 100,000 gallons per day, but it is still running at 320,000 gallons per day. However, that is well below maximum. More work on city sewer lines is planned, which he said should lower “I & I,” influx from non septic sources. Extra funding from the Burdine Project will be used to scope the remaining lines with a TV camera lens attached to a fiber optic cable to see where repairs are needed.
In response to a question about the possibility of increased need for sanitary sewer services near Fishpond Lake or in that area, Nesbitt told the council it would probably be necessary to either pump the wastewater to the Jenkins side of the hill, or to build a plant on the other side specifi cally to treat the waste. Nesbitt also told the council that the improvements to the city’s water plant that were funded by Abandoned Mine Lands as part of the Payne Gap Water Project are nearly complete.
Acting City Administrator Benny McCall reported that a new City Handbook is available to council members and added that the new administration will have to get new signature cards for checks and other documents that require an official signature. McCall also issued a plea to city residents who are delinquent on taxes or utility bills. He said the city understands that times are hard, and if anyone who is delinquent in payments to the city will come by city hall and meet with him, or call city hall, the city will work out a payment plan to enable them to get caught up. Several other city offices have new appointments and McCall told The Mountain Eagle in a later conversation that the appointments will be brought before the council and be conducted in accordance with Kentucky Revised Statutes at the next council meeting.
The agenda item for discussing the telephone franchise was tabled until the next council meeting. Mc- Call cited the need for further examination of some issues and said the telephone service will continue uninterrupted under the old agreement. Councilman Rick Damron added that it would be good if there is a possibility of competition for telephone service.
Council member Rebecca Amburgey asked the council to examine the issue of a time clock for city employees, and Councilman Kyle Walker agreed that city workers’ hours need to be kept accurately.
Mayor Depriest told the council he has been looking at ways to address the issue, but added that the city has several sites where city workers report daily, and said it might be better to look at other ways besides a time clock. Walker said the supervisor of each facility should keep the time then. City Attorney Randall Tackett reminded the council that under Kentucky law, hourly workers cannot “bank” overtime, that is, it can’t be carried over from one year to the next.
Depriest said he and his staff will look at ways to address the time issue and bring them before the council. Councilman Damron said that Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) state that municipalities must have to have an ordinance that sets compensation rates for city employees and a pay plan. Tackett replied that the city has a classification plan and he will look into it to see that it meets the KRS requirements.
In the Mayor’s Report, Depriest told the council that there is a lot of work to be done and they will need to stick with the guidelines in the handbook. He asked the council to look it over carefully and to “decide what we want for the city.” Depriest said he is certain that everyone wants employees to be treated well and that while the city will have to cut back in some places, their goals can be accomplished by working together. He added that as far as drug tests go, no one failed a drug test.
“We’re here for the citizens,” said Depriest. “The city was created to do that. We’ve had to cut back in some places, and that may upset a few people. But we will have to buckle down and make it through together.”
The city treated 15,959,000 gallons of water in December and sold 4,435,000 gallons for a difference of 11,524,000 gallons or a 72 percent potential water loss. Of that, 3,297,200 gallons were accounted for, leaving the city with an unaccounted water loss rate of 52 percent, 8,226,000 gallons.
The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department reported making 300 total runs in 2014, with 28 in December. Nine were public service runs and eight were emergency medical service runs, along with two vehicle accidents with injuries, and four general vehicle ac- cidents. The department answered one structure fire, one smoke fire, one smoke scare, two alarm malfunctions, and performed one extrication. Thirteen children shopped with firefighters in the Shop with a Firefi ghter Christmas program.