Visitors from around the country have already visited the new overlook on the northbound lane of US 23 near Pound Gap, Jenkins Mayor Todd Depriest said, and if they stop to visit the city, visitors will find a new dock on Elkhorn Lake along with new picnic tables.
At the May meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Depriest praised the Letcher County Tourism Commission for building the overlook platform at the first pull off area on US 23 after crossing into Kentucky from Virginia. The overlook is located just past the Civil War monument, at a highway pull-off that was originally intended to be the location of a visitors center. Trees and brush that would have blocked the view have been cleared and Depreist said Kentucky Power is considering planting wildflowers in the grassy area around the platform. He added that he hopes to have a sign put up that gives a short history of Jenkins and describes the view and tourism opportunities in the area.
Depriest thanked the Letcher County Conservation District and LCC Vocational students for the dock and said when it is finally in place and anchored, he will make sure to make a formal declaration of appreciation. He also praised Emmanuel Baptist Pastor Gary Robbins and Jenkins resident Jerry Puckett for their efforts to clear the lily pads from the lake. Depriest thanked the volunteers who take care of the flower pots on Main Street and the businesses that adopt the pots near their storefronts. Council member Ernestine Hill also praised city workers for their efforts.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to pass the second reading of the City Budget for Fiscal Year 2019 – 2020. The budget is balanced with revenue and expenditures equally at $2,047,615. The General Fund will account for the largest expenditure at $830,985. water fund revenue and expenses are estimated at $546,330, and sewer fund revenue and expenses stand at $331,250. solid waste is funded at $254,750, with the Road Fund at $45,000 and Local Government Economic Assistance (state funds) at $39,300.
Depriest told the council the budget will be tight, and said that the federal Rural Community Assistance Program will do a rate study for the city’s water and sewer rates, as well as sanitation rates. He added that they are looking for other ways to reduce the amount of solid waste going to the landfill, including methods of converting solid waste into methane gas.
City Attorney Randall Tackett conducted the second budget reading and announced that a summary of the budget will be available for public inspection at City Hall during business hours. Tackett also read a resolution praising Jenkins High School student Paul Breeding for being accepted at the Morehead State University Craft Academy. The academy is part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program to enhance education in those disciplines. Breeding is the son of Kevin and Valerie Breeding of Thornton.
In response to a question from Councilman Rick Damron about a line item in the city’s budget for the sidewalk project, Depriest explained that the line item is in reference to a bank account created to store matching funds for the project. He said he has been informed that the entire cost of extending the sidewalk will be reimbursed.
In other business, Police Chief Josh Richardson reported that the Jenkins Police Department responded to 64 calls of service in May. Officers issued 20 citations, made 12 arrests, and issued eight warnings. Four of the arrests were drug related, three involved domestic violence, and two were for DUI. Officers also served three summonses and nine warrants. They answered five motorist assists, two collisions that involved injures, and three non-injury accidents.
The city produced 13,750,000 gallons of treat- ed water in May and sold 7,965,000 gallons for a difference of 5,785,000. Of that amount, 4,156,000 were accounted for, including 1,150,000 lost in known line breaks. The wastewater treatment plant used 1,500,000, the water treatment plant used 440,000, and 750,000 gallons were used in hydrant flushing. The unaccounted loss was 1,629,000, or 12 percent of the total that was produced.