After nearly 20 years of replacing waterlines and upgrading systems, the City of Jenkins is starting to see a positive return on the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project.
Begun during Mayor Robert “Pud” Shubert’s term in office, the ambitious project set out to replace every line in the city system that carried treated water to customers. Although the project is not entirely complete, it is getting close.
At a recent meeting, engineers from Nesbitt Engineering of Hazard and Lexington, which has been the project engineer throughout the upgrade, told the Jenkins City Council that soon only a few hollows and hillside neighborhoods will not have new lines. However, Nesbitt Engineering is seeking grant funding to address these needs as well, and to finish the entire project.
At the July meeting of the Jenkins City Council, held on July 11 because the first Monday was July 4, Mayor Todd Depriest pointed to the water loss report that showed a nine percent unaccounted for water loss. The overall water loss stood at 1,988,000 gallons of treated water, or 20 percent overall, but of that amount, 1,033,000 gallons were accounted for, with 1,008,000 coming from line breaks.
In the not too distant past, water losses have averaged as much as 75 percent. The city produced 10,064,000 gallons all together, and sold 8,076,000. Depriest said there are still old lines carrying water in the Dunham area, but when the Dunham Project is finalized, those lines will be turned off as well and except for a few hollows, city water will run through all new water lines.
Ken Reid, of Nesbitt Engineering, told the council that the Dunham Project is very close to being finished. The lines are in and only about 40 meters need to be installed in the Straight Row neighborhood, and as soon as Kentucky Power resolves right of way issues for electrical lines to the main Dunham water tank, the project will be finalized.
Depriest told the council the June water loss report is the best he has seen in his time of service as Mayor, City Manager, or in several terms as a council member. He added that the amount of time the city water plant must run to produce the treated water that is necessary to serve the city’s needs has been cut tremendously, and the plant only needs to operate a few hours a day to produce the necessary amount of water.
In other water-related matters, Ken Reid told the council that contracts for the Fleming-Neon Interconnect have been signed and the contractors are expected to begin work within two to three weeks. The interconnect was conceived to allow the Jenkins Water District to provide water to the Fleming-Neon Water District in the event of an emergency, and will connect to Fleming-Neon water lines at Grays Branch in Haymond. Reid said the line will also add up to 22 households along the right of way to the Jenkins customer base.
Mayor Depriest also introduced Regena Jones Triplett, who serves as field representative for eastern Kentucky for Senator Rand Paul. Triplett told the council she is a former attorney with a practice in Pikeville, and that she started her work as Senator Paul’s field representative in January of this year.
Triplett told the council that Senator Paul will be in Letcher County on Tuesday July 26, at 3:30 p.m., at either the Pine Mountain Grill in Whitesburg or in the auditorium at the old Jenkins High School, depending on which site can accommodate everyone. She said the event’s time and date, on a workday and in the afternoon, will make the size of the crowd uncertain. Triplett stressed that the event is not political or related to the 2016 elections in November, when Senator Paul will defend his Senate seat against the Democratic candidate, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.
“It has nothing to do with the campaign,” said Triplett, adding that the visit is an Official Town Hall Event. She said that Paul will probably speak for about 10 minutes at the most, and spend the rest of the time answering questions and addressing issues brought up by the audience. Jones also urged anyone with questions for the Senator, or who needs his aid, to get in touch with her. Her e-mail is regenajones@ paul.senate.gov, and her telephone number is 606-424-3227.
The council also voted unanimously to approve Ordinance 711-16, which allows the city to adopt a Hazard Mitigation Plan in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This allows the city to accept grants and other funding from FEMA to mitigate damage done by natural and other disasters.
Councilman Chuck Anderson announced that the Jenkins Homecoming Festival will be held August 25-27, and the Drifters will be the headline act on Saturday evening. He said the schedule is finalized and will be printed this week, and that everything else is in place. He also told the council that July 30 will be Kids Day in Jenkins, and that a back-to-school event will be held at the same time to help provide children with things they will need for the coming school year. Mayor Depriest said the event will be held ether at the Jenkins City Park or the Jenkins Softball Field, depending on space needs for games, inflatable’s, etc.
Depriest thanked the Jenkins Chapter of the American Legion for providing 10 new American flags for the July 4 celebration. He added that he would like to wait until the August meeting to appoint an new council member to replace the late Kyle Walker.
The Jenkins Police Department responded to 94 complaints during June. Three were domestic-vio- lence related, three involved accidents with injuries, and three were for non-injury accidents. Overall, the department made 13 arrests, served 12 warrants, delivered one summons, and wrote 17 citations.
The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department answered 27 calls, including 10 emergency medical response calls, and five vehicle accidents with injuries. It addressed one home wiring problem, one vehicle accident without injuries, four alarm malfunctions, and made four motorist assists. It also answered one false alarm and made one weather-related call. Six firefighters attended the state Fire School in Lexington, and the department held a fire prevention class. The ISO (Insurance Service Organization) visited the city to determine new insurance ratings, and the department is waiting for the new classification.