Whitesburg KY

Jenkins trying to collect $94,000 in past-due taxes

The City of Jenkins will continue to aggressively seek to recover back taxes even if it means suing delinquent taxpayers. In the Mayor’s report delivered at the September meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Mayor Charles Dixon stated that more than $30,000 has been collected since he took office in January, but the city still has outstanding delinquent taxes from the past three years totaling more than $94,000. Dixon said City Attorney Randall Tackett is taking legal action to recover the back taxes and some citizens have set up payment plans. The council voted unanimously to keep the current property tax rates of 44.99 cents per $100 on real and tangible property for the coming year.

Mayor Dixon also said the city is pursuing legal action to remove blighted and deteriorated property in the city limits. City Engineer Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported that a Home Bank Loan is available which could be used to cover the costs of acquiring condemned property and tearing down whatever structure is on the land. Nesbitt said the loans are channeled through local banks by the federal government and have a zero percent interest rate for two years. He said the city can sell the reclaimed property to cover the cost of the loan.

The council also learned that Drillers LLC, an oil and gas well drilling company, has completed the final closing on the spec building in the Gateway Industrial Park. Letcher County Economic Development Director Joe DePriest told the council that although the wheels of government move slowly, they do move and the purchase is now final. He also told the council that Drill Steel Services of Whitesburg has agreed to purchase 4.5 acres in the industrial park to locate its business.

DePriest said Greg Johnson of Pike County, former owner of the Jenkins Clinic Hospital, is the newest member of the Industrial Authority. He told the council that he and Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward met with Equitable Resources to discuss the possibility of getting a gas line run to the park as well. DePriest said businesses located at the Gateway Industrial Park now employ between 125 and 150 people and he has a goal for the year of 200 employees.

The council voted to extend the completion date of the water line connection project with Mountain Water District of Pike County to October 1. Project Engineer Dennis Elrod reported that the work is almost complete but the extra time is required for easements. Council member Rick Damron asked Elrod who will own the water lines when the project is complete. Elrod replied that although Jenkins will own the lines and pump station, he recommends establishing an agreement for Mountain Water to conduct the maintenance since the station is located in Pike County.

Paul Nesbitt told the council it has enough money left over from the Joes Branch water project to allow it to install a pressure-reducing valve that will allow the city to pump water from the Mountain Water District in the event of an emergency. Nesbitt also said he would check into the feasibility of installing a check valve to keep any possibly contaminated water from Joes Branch from contaminating the entire system. The request for the check valve came from Fifth District Magistrate Wayne Fleming at the August meeting in response to a false positive report from the Kentucky Department of Water concerning PCB contamination in the area. Although the reading proved to be untrue, Fleming requested the valve as a precaution. The council voted to use the extra funds to install the pressure-reducing valve, to replace a section of cast iron water line in Camden that Water Superintendent Bo Hopkins said is 100 years old, and to install the check valve if funds are adequate for all three jobs.

In other business:

• Water Superintendent Hopkins reported a 34 percent loss of treated water for August, up slightly from July. The water department fixed 22 leaks including one on the day of the meeting that was responsible for the loss of 78 gallons per minute.

• Police Chief Jim Stephens reported the Jenkins Police Department has hired two new officers, Todd Mattingly and Clyde Woods. The department answered 107 complaints, issued 23 citations and 35 warnings, made 10 arrests, responded to three accidents and wrote 18 violations for city stickers. Chief Stephens also reported the acquisition of a Chevy Silverado fourwheel drive truck as part of a drug seizure.

• The Blighted, Deteriorated, and Nuisance Committee reported a turnout of 50 volunteers to clean up the city. Shad Baker told the council that 256 bags of trash were collected from roadsides and ditches.

• The council voted to authorize a memorandum of agreement for completion of a sidewalk extension and crosswalk from the Jenkins football field to Jenkins High School.

• Voted to advertise the sidewalk extension and a wheeled recycling bin for bids.

• Mayor Dixon reported that the July landfill bill was $5,000 and said that further participation in recycling would lower that amount considerably. Dixon challenged residents of Dunham to participate in Blue Bag recycling and complimented residents of the Forest Hill neighborhood for leading the city in recycling.

• Dixon reported that Ordinance 109, passed in 1983, states every house or business connected to the Jenkins water and sewer system must have an individual connection. If a house or business is connected to someone else’s line, they are stealing city services and will be prosecuted.

• Dixon also said that water customers are responsible for water leaks on their side of the water meter, and they can test for leaks on their side by turning off all faucets and looking at the water meter. If the meter is still turning, they have a water leak on their property.

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