There should be a few more ghouls and goblins in Whitesburg around Halloween this year if a date can be finalized for a Halloween Parade to coincide with the city’s annual Halloween Safe Night. Sabrina Flick, who is associated with the Brimstone Haunted House, approached the Whitesburg City Council at its April meeting to ask the city to allow for a Halloween Parade and to close city streets for the duration of the event. Brimstone Haunted House presented a haunted house in the Letcher County Tourism Building last year for Halloween and Mayor James Wiley Craft said the organization made over $1,000, which it split with the Letcher County Fiscal Court.
Mayor Craft told Flick that the only issue he had was that a date would need to be coordinated that would work for the Safe Night event and he said the Letcher County Fiscal Court sets the date for a countywide Halloween celebration. Councilman John Williams made a motion to approve the parade contingent on working out the scheduling. The vote to approve Williams’s motion was unanimous.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve an Inter-Local Agreement with the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to begin working to get funding for the Craft’s Colly Sewer Project. Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward told the council that the fiscal court and water and sewer district wanted to proceed as quickly as possible in getting the agreement so it could seek funding through a Community Development Block Grant. Ward said the addition of sewer lines will cut down on the amount of chemicals the city needs to use to treat its water and will add a new customer base to the city sewer plant as well.
Mayor Craft read the agreement which stated that the city will treat the sewage in the city sewer treatment plant and the water and sewer district will be responsible for operating and maintaining the lines in Craft’s Colly. The city will bill the district for the treatment costs and the district will handle the billing to the Craft’s Colly sewer customers. The rates will be set by a rate study conducted by Kentucky Rural Water, but will be $3 per 1,000 gallons until the rate study is complete.
Councilman Williams asked Water Maintenance Director Chris Caudill if the extra volume of sewage would cause any problems for the already strained pumps at Letcher County Central High School, but Caudill replied that the high school pumps will not handle the effluent from Craft’s Colly. Caudill said the pumps at the old Ermine Post Office and other pumps on the way to the sewer plant that were already designed to handle a good deal more flow than they currently handle will pull the Craft’s Colly sewage to the plant. He said the extra volume will actually help to alleviate some of the odor problems the city has because the odor results from too little flow in the lines.
Caudill told the council that water and sewer workers are going to install a chemical treatment system to do away with odor problems in the Walmart area. He also said that tests conducted in the Craft’s Colly creek revealed a high concentration of fecal pollution at the mouth of Craft’s Colly and it got worse in tests conducted further upstream, where the flow was slower.
Caudill said that the city wastewater treatment plant would hardly be impacted by the additional waste from the approximate 175 homes in Craft’s Colly. He said the plant is designed to handle a maximum of 680,000 gallons per day and at present it handles around 210,000 gallons per day and the extra sewage from Craft’s Colly would not make a noticeable difference. The council voted unanimously to approve the Inter-Local Agreement and to give Mayor Craft the authority to execute it in the city’s behalf.
Caudill also told the council that city workers had installed three pumps, one new and one rebuilt pump at the Western Auto pump station and another new one at the Upper Bottom station. He said that he had ordered another new pump to replace one that had been removed near Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Caudill said the problem section of water line at the old railroad bridge at Craft’s Colly is still intact but has moved in a different direction. He said the cost to replace the line will be about $18,500 but the line will have to be replaced before it breaks, which could have a catastrophic effect.
Mayor Craft announced that the city clean-up for PRIDE Month will be held on April 20 and will start at 10 a.m. Craft urged citizens to volunteer and said the PRIDE coordinator will arrange for volunteers to be fed afterward. He also announced a street bake sale sponsored by Whitesburg bakery Here Comes the Bun that will be held on June 15. Craft said streets will be closed downtown from 2 until 9 p.m. and activities will be held for children.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Letcher County Conservation District building on April 19. Craft said the ceremonies will begin at 11 a.m. and last until 2 p.m. Bike Night will be held in Whitesburg this Saturday, April 13. Craft also read a proclamation designating April as Autism Awareness Month and April 16 as Autism Awareness Day in Whitesburg.