Jenkins residents will soon be able to do their grocery shopping locally again.
Jenkins Mayor Todd Depriest said officials with a company that owns a large chain of Save-A-Lot food stores told him that construction work on remodeling and expanding the former Casey’s IGA store in Jenkins should begin in April. Depriest said the excavation work behind the existing building is complete and that a new meat and produce section will be built in the added space.
The store will be owned and operated by Saver Group Inc., a Camp- bellsville, Ky.-based company that currently operates Save-A-Lot stores in Whitesburg and 50 other communities in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Depriest announced the Save- A-Lot project Monday night at the March meeting of the Jenkins City Council. In other business at the meeting, Depriest reported that tax collections are coming in slowly with receipts down by about $30,000 over the same period last year. He said that despite the drop in collections the city is not broke and is able to pay its bills.
The council also learned that “in- terconnect” waterline connecting the Jenkins and Fleming-Neon water systems is now operational. Nesbitt Engineering’s Ken Reid told the council the project is wrapping up and that lines connecting the City of Jenkins to the Fleming-Neon Water District at Haymond are now charged and have been chlorinated. Reid said two homes are now connected to the new line along the route between Jenkins and Haymond, where the junction of the lines is located. He said the city stands to gain 22 new customers as a result of the project.
According to Reid, the only work remaining is clean up and paving, which can’t be done until the local asphalt plants open later this summer. Reid said Nesbitt Engineering will hold a portion of the contractor’s final payment as a contingency fund until all the work has been done.
A representative of the Jenkins Homecoming Festival Committee told the council that this year’s festival will have an eastern Kentucky theme and the committee is looking for talent from all over the region to feature at the event. Debbie Chavis said the committee is working hard to make the Homecoming Festival self-supporting and “bigger and better.”
Chavis also confirmed to the council that East Kentucky Beverage Company of Pikeville will not be providing Pepsi Cola concession trailers for this year’s festival, adding that the company no longer offer such trailers for such events. The council approved two fundraising roadblocks for Homecoming Festival, one for April 8 and another for June 3.
Council Member Rebecca Amburgey said Marshall’s Branch residents have been complaining about an unpleasant odor to their water. Depriest said if the residents will call City Hall and give their address, he will send someone to check it out.
The council also voted unanimously to approve the establishment of a new checking account to handle receipts from the city’s new Alcohol Beverage Control tax. Depriest said the separate account will help keep track of the ABC receipts and the revenue produced by the sale of alcohol in the city, which started less than a month ago.
Little Camden resident Mike Chavis visited the meeting to ask about a streetlight behind his house. Chavis said he has paid the power bill for the light since he moved there, but says the bill has become a burden since he has retired and is on a fixed income. Chavis said the light illuminates a city street. Depriest said he would look into the matter, and Chavis laughed and said he will be coming to meetings to remind the council about the issue. City Finance Officer Robin Kincer said the portion of the city’s electric bill that goes to streetlights is about $4,000 each month.
Councilman Rick Damron joined the discussion and said American Electric Power, which owns Kentucky Power, had record profits this year. Damron’s comment led several council members and audience members to complain about add-ons to their power bills that are going to pay for AEP’s infrastructure work rather than paying for their electricity.
Damron also asked about progress in clearing blighted and dilapidated houses from the city and Depriest said three have recently been demolished. Damron said there are at least two in Camden that need to be put on the list and added that both sit on large lots and would be excellent building sites for new homes. Depriest said the city needs new residents, but the presence of blighted housing brings the property values down and makes it unlikely anyone will move into those neighborhoods.
The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department answered 29 calls in February including one structure fire, one vehicle fire, and one missing person emergency. They also answered five calls for forest fires, six emergency medical service calls, two garbage fires, and one assist to the police. Several members attended classes in Pikeville and Hazard.
The city produced 10,300,000 gallons of treated water in February and sold 8,957,000, for a difference of 1,343,000 gallons, or a loss of 13 percent. Of that amount, 25,000 gallons were used by the fire department and 1,318,000 are unaccounted for. Depriest said city workers located and repaired several leaks that accounted for much of the late loss.
One year ago, in February 2016, the city waterworks produced 15,693,730 gallons of treated water in January and sold 5,947,000, for a difference of 9,746,730 gallons. The city had an unaccounted-for loss rate of 28 percent, or 4,396,730 gallons in February 2016.