Whitesburg KY

Rains, delays mean Jenkins pool won’t open before August

The Jenkins City Swimming Pool is under construction near the city’s water reservoir, but is far from being finished. (Photo by William Farley)

The Jenkins City Swimming Pool is under construction near the city’s water reservoir, but is far from being finished. (Photo by William Farley)

Permitting delays and wet weather may push the opening date of the new Jenkins City Swimming Pool into August.

At the July meeting of the Jenkins City Council, City Manager Todd DePriest said that heavy and frequent rains have delayed construction. DePriest said that with the slow process of obtaining permits, progress in getting the pool ready has been slow. As an example, DePriest told the council there is only one swimming pool inspector in Kentucky, but she must approve each step of construction before the contractor can move on to the next one. He said the pool inspector had been in Jenkins earlier that day and had inspected the plumbing for the pool.

The stainless pool wall package and the pool floor are 100 percent in place, and 100 percent of the plumbing is in the ground and was inspected earlier in the day. The pool furniture has arrived and is being stored until it is ready to set out, and the fencing is ready to install.

Council Member Rebecca Amburgey asked if DePriest had any idea when the pool would be open and said that school will start in Jenkins in a month or less. She also asked if it will be possible to keep the pool open later than the traditional closing date of Labor Day. DePriest said the pool will be heated. Amburgey said that a number of people who don’t have children or have children who are not in school yet might be interested in using the pool in September. She said the pool should be open all week if it is kept open past Labor Day.

In other business, City Revenue Officer Benny McCall told the council that revenue losses from unpaid taxes stands at around $18,000 and urged delinquent taxpayers to come see him at City Hall to make arrangements to enter into installment plans to pay their back taxes. He added that the city is finalizing arrangements to allow it to accept credit cards for license fees, tax payments, utility bills and other fees.

Although there was not a formal police report for July, Police Chief Roland Craft told the council he plans to address speeding in city limits by installing radar in all city police cars. Craft said he believes the presence of radar should slow speeders down. In response to a question about the department staff, Craft said he now has four full-time officers, including himself. Officers Joe Holbrook and Crystal Davis, along with veteran Sgt. Jim Stephens, make up the force. Craft said he has applications from two fully trained officers, but he wants to hold the department at its current size for now. The city will take possession of a new 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe fourwheel drive police vehicle soon.

Craft added that he has received quite a few complaints about bears and several council members said they have problems with bears in their neighborhoods as well. Council member Carol Anne Litts, who lives on Elm Street, said a bear just goes along her street and uses the garbage cans like a buffet.

The council voted unanimously to pass a resolution to allow the city to accept approximately $40,000 in grant funding from the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security to install two digital repeaters for police and fire communications. Mayor G.C. Kincer said the Federal Communications Commission has ruled that emergency vehicles must have digital communications systems in place by 2014 and he wants Jenkins to be in compliance when the rule goes into effect.

City Manager DePriest reported that the city saved about $1,700 in June by hauling its garbage directly to the landfill at Fords Branch in Pikeville rather than taking it to the county transfer station at Millstone. The city hauled 106 tons of trash to the landfill and picked up 593 blue bags of recyclables. Recyclables do not go to the landfill and save the city a significant amount on its landfill fees. DePriest said the recyclable count is down slightly from 607 in May.

The city water plant treated 13,746,000 gallons of water and sold 4,441,000 gallons, for a total loss of 64 percent. Of that, 5,101,000 gallons are accounted for, due to leaks and use in the city leaving an unaccounted for loss of 27 percent. There were no leaks in any of the new water lines installed as part of the Jenkins Water Line Replacement Project. The situation will stay about the same until all city lines are replaced and all old lines are turned off.

Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering reported that the Payne Gap Water Project is about 90 percent complete and said construction on the water tank to serve the Payne Gap area customers is underway. He said the project will be close to 100 percent finished by next month. The entire Payne Gap Project is funded by Abandoned Mine Lands (AML), except for $600,000 allocated by the Letcher County Fiscal Court as startup funds before AML funding was released. Nesbitt said the planning of the Interconnect between Jenkins water lines and those belonging to the City of Fleming Neon is about 60 percent complete and the project will add a possible 16 customers to the city. The Interconnect project is also funded by AML.

Paving on water line construction on Lakeside has been held up by the rain and Nesbitt said it should be finished next week. AML approved a change order to use leftover funds from Phase III (Lakeside) to proved a 40 percent match to funds from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to install new water filters at the city water plant and to extend lines from the plant to the water tank at Payne Gap, as well as to the newly installed lines that serve Payne Gap customers.

The Payne Gap Project is administered by the city and paid for by AML, and will be turned over to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District in its entirety when it is complete. The city will benefit by selling water to county customers as well as numerous upgrades to the lines and plant to allow it to serve the new customer base.

Several council members expressed concerns about speeding on city streets and Chuck Anderson said on Oak Street and Lakeside, where pipeline construction had made the road rougher, some cars were going so fast they were almost leaving the ground. Anderson said this is being done in residential areas with some blind spots, where children ride bicycles and people walk. Anderson asked for speed limit signs and Mayor Kincer said it will be taken care of. Anderson said police patrols have made a difference, but the signs would make people aware that speed limits are in effect.

Council member Amburgey said there are a number of houses in the city that have uncut grass and garbage in their yards and that both of these conditions cause problems with rats and snakes. Carol Anne Litts said one of her neighbors refuses to cut her grass. Amburgey added that the houses she is referring to are occupied and not abandoned. City Attorney Randall Tackett said that although the city has a nuisance ordinance, enforcement could not be targeted but would have to be general, and there would be a lot of people who would have to be cited. Tackett said the city should be careful in implementing the ordinance.

Councilman Rick Damron asked about progress on the Lake Walk, and City Manager DePriest replied that the grant funds for planning will be available after the first of August. He said there are plans to tie the Lake Walk in with the Pine Mountain Trail through an access trail that will run down Goodwater Hill.

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