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Officials testy at Jenkins meeting

The September meeting of the Jenkins City Council was exceptionally contentious as Mayor G.C. Kincer and Councilman Terry Braddock had two heated exchanges and Jenkins resident Carl Addington said Kincer had lied to him over what Addington said was a promise that he be hired to put on the closing fireworks display at the Jenkins Homecoming festival. The meeting proved to be a carryover of clashes between Braddock and city employees, Kincer, and other council members over financial reports and other matters.

Near the end of the meeting, Braddock accused Kincer of forbidding employees to do business with a Jenkins pharmacy, later identified as Boggs Pharmacy, because the owners of Boggs Pharmacy had a part in a petition to oppose an occupational tax that was passed in a special meeting in May. Braddock first complained that a cut to the city’s tax on vehicles and watercraft was insufficient, and said that Kincer had directed city employees to stop doing business at Boggs Pharmacy.

Kincer responded to Braddock’s allegation by telling him that this time he was going to have to prove his accusation and said he had never instructed city employees to shop anywhere for anything.

“I never instructed them to do that,” said Kincer. “I never would. Why would I do that?”

“That’s what I heard,” replied Braddock.

“Find me one (person to back up Braddock’s allegation),” said Kincer. “I’m going to make you produce that. To get up here and make an innuendo like that is ridiculous.”

City Attorney Randall Tackett said Braddock’s accusation was irresponsible and told him the he obviously hadn’t read a letter from Boggs Pharmacy to the effect that Braddock’s accusation was untrue and “didn’t happen.”

“Can I suggest you find another venue to campaign from besides that seat,” said Kincer.

Councilman Rick Damron then told Braddock that if he had gone to a medical provider, such as a pharmacy, and asked for specific information on city employees’ medical history, such as purchasing pharmaceuticals, he was in violation of federal medical privacy laws (HIPPA) and could be prosecuted.

Earlier in the meeting, when the August financial report was up for approval, Braddock said there had been changes made in the terminology of the report. The Public Utilities report was the subject of Braddock’s confusion because under Utility Revenue the term “Deposit” had been changed to “Utility Income” and “Expense” had been changed to “Transfer Checks.” City Finance Officer Robin Kincer said she had made the changes because Braddock continually complained that the other terms confused him.

“I’ve discovered a different method of reporting,” said Braddock. “It’s very, very fuzzy to me.”

Mayor Kincer told Braddock that former Mayor Robert “Pud” Schubert had already told Braddock that if he had any questions about reports he would be happy to explain them to him. However, Braddock took exception to Kincer’s suggestion.

“I am a city councilman,” said Braddock. “You are the mayor. We need to solve this.”

Braddock then said that no one but the council should sit in the council area and said City Administrator Todd DePriest, City Clerk Sherry Puckett, Finance Officer Robin Kincer, and City Revenue Officer Benny McCall, who also serves as pastor of the Burdine Freewill Baptist Church, had no business sitting with the council. Kincer asked Braddock if he was saying the figures are wrong and Braddock said no, but the reporting had changed.

“She changed them for you,” said Kincer.

“She didn’t change them for me,” replied Braddock. “Money is being transferred from here to everywhere. I need to know where it is coming from.”

Braddock said people in Jenkins aren’t getting the services they need and demanded that he receive a written report on financial matters.

“I demand that it be written on a piece of paper and sent to my home,” said Braddock. “I want to know where it’s coming from.”

“We can show you where every dime goes to,” said Mayor Kincer.

“You can’t show me nothing, because you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Braddock.

“Your remarks are disrespectful,” said Kincer. “I’ll have you out of here.”

The council voted three to one, with Braddock voting no to accept the financial report. Members Rebecca Terrill Amburgey and Robert Adams were unable to attend the meeting.

Carl Addington later accused Kincer of lying to him, saying that Kincer had promised to hire him to put on the fireworks display at the Jenkins Homecoming festival. Addington said he had kept a large supply of fireworks that he could have sold on July 4 to do the show because he believed he had an agreement. Kincer said the city had gone with a Lafayette, Tenn., pyrotechnics company because it has a $5 million liability contract and workmen’s compensation insurance on all its employees as well.

Addington is a former Jenkins restaurant owner and a retired coal miner. He told the council he had always been generous to city fundraisers and had bought supplies for his restaurant locally as well. He said he was angry and disappointed by his treatment and told Kincer he had violated the ”biker’s code” and said if Kincer was ever broken down on the side of the road, he would just ride on by. Kincer offered Addington an apology, but Addington said he felt he had been lied to and refused to accept it. Former Mayor Schubert suggested Addington be hired to put on a fireworks show as part of the city’s Christmas Parade, but Addington declined the offer.

In other business, Festival Committee members Ked Sanders and Councilman Chuck Anderson both said the Homecoming festival had been a resounding success. Anderson said he had been told by a number of people it was the best one ever and Sanders agreed, saying comments he received were overwhelmingly positive. Sanders said 20 tent sites had been rented for various reunion events, keeping with the homecoming theme, and said that about every square foot of space on the entire City Park (the festival site) had been rented.

Sanders said the only negative was having the carnival at the site of the Jenkins Public Library. He said the carnival has already been downsized because carnival companies say Jenkins is too small for them to operate profitably, and suggested the city just rent a few rides for children and keep everything on the main site next year.

Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported that construction is underway on Phase III of the Jenkins Waterline Replacement Project again, now that the festival is over. He said H2O, the water line contractor, had shut down operations so festival goers wouldn’t be inconvenienced but is ready to go again. Nesbitt also told the council that easements for Phase II, which had been passed by until funding and easement issues could be settled, are now compete and the project is ready to go. Phase II will extend new lines to Burdine.

The Sewer Line Replacement Project will also start soon, initially by examining old lines to see where breaks occur and where line replacements need to be done. Nesbitt said the work on Phase I of the Payne Gap Water Project is mostly finished and costumers are being hooked up. He said the city submitted the first bill to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District for the water provided to Payne Gap customers and added that while the initial amount is relatively small, it will grow as new customers are added.

Nesbitt also submitted an invoice for Richardson Architects for work done on the Community Center that will be located with the new swimming pool. Mayor Kincer told the council it should not confuse the community center with the pool for funding purposes and the reason the architectural work had to be done was so the application for a Community Development Block Grant could go forward. Kincer said he had been advised by Nesbitt Engineering and the Kentucky River Area Development District to have architectural drawings complete for submission with the grant if the city wants to get the most available funding. He said the pool is a different project and funding is already in place for it.

Kincer said the project will be called the Lakeside Center and will include a community center with a natural gas line extended from the Gateway Industrial Park, with landscaping around the pool and water park. It will be funded separately from the swimming pool.

Former Mayor Schubert, who is working with the city on a voluntary basis for franchise agreements, told the council he recommended it reject the initial franchise bid from American Electric Power. Schubert said the city can get a better return for streetlights than the initial bid. City Attorney Tackett praised Schubert for getting the term of the franchise agreement reduced from 20 years to a 10-year agreement to allow the city more options in the future and the council voted unanimously to reject AEP’s bid. Councilman Rick Damron said that although the cost would be exorbitant, if the city could take over the electrical transmission lines and sell power to the residents, it could give a better rate and still make a significant profit. Mayor Kincer agreed, but said it would be very difficult to raise the amount necessary to buy the lines. Damron said AEP has a history of passing increases in franchise agreements on to electrical customers.

Police Chief Thomas Bormes reported that Jenkins police offi- cers responded to 103 complaints in August, issued 13 citations, and made 29 arrests. One arrest was for driving under the influence and four were drug related. They also served 21 warrants, answered seven domestic violence calls, and worked five injury accidents and seven non injury accidents. Bormes said Jenkins officers had a total mileage on city police vehicles of 12,763 for August, which included transporting prisoners and attending court in Whitesburg and Pikeville, but most had been incurred by patrolling the city to keep residents safe. He also introduced Jared Greer as Jenkins’s newest police officer.

Bormes also addressed the recent all-terrain vehicle fatality in which a child was killed in an ATV accident. He said the child’s death was unnecessary and urged ATV riders to follow the law and safety rules as well. He said no children should be on an ATV in front of the driver and that all vehicle safety standards should be adhered to. Helmets are required to ride an ATV in city limits and anyone driving an ATV must have a driver’s license. Bormes said he wants Jenkins to be ATV friendly, but ATV riders must understand they are driving a motor vehicle with their own legal requirements and that ATVs have a lot of power and fewer safety features than a car.

In other city business:

• The council tabled discussion of the 2012 real estate property tax until the full council is together.

• The city produced 15,025,000 gallons of treated water in August and sold 4,264,000, gallons, for a difference of 10,761,000 gallons, or a total loss of 72 percent. Of that, 3,786,000 gallons were accounted for including 1,584,000 gallons in water line breaks and 1,325,000 gallons for wastewater treatment plant use. This leaves the city with an unaccounted loss of 6,975,000, or 46 percent.

• City Administrator Todd DePriest reported that average daily flow at the city sewer plant is 400,000 gallons per day and said three sewer issues have been fixed.

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