A further examination at the Letcher County Recreation Center has revealed that heating and cooling systems at the center are working correctly and the center is neither a source of energy losses in the county’s inventory of buildings nor a significant source of potential energy savings, the Letcher Fiscal Court has learned.
The re-examination was conducted recently by engineers with Comfort & Process Solutions (CPS). At the court’s October meeting Monday night, Mark Saunier, who manages CPS, told the court that after re-examining the center his engineers have determined that an earlier report saying that the center represented a possibly significant source of energy savings by modify- ing its current systems was incorrect.
Saunier apologized to the court members for the misunderstanding and told them that when his engineers went back and looked at the systems again they found that they are working correctly. He said any possible glitches in the systems or mistakes in the earlier assessment could have been caused by storms and power failures, but said the systems are working as they are designed.
District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming asked Saunier if the recreation center was the source of the potential $40,000 savings in power costs that was discussed at the previous meeting. Saunier replied that he did not think he had stated it that way at a special meeting held in late September, but if he had it was a mistake.
“I didn’t think that was the way it was anyway,” said Fleming.
At the called meeting, Saunier told the court that it would be possible for the county to save at least $ 43,705 annually by upgrading older systems and replacing older equipment such as air conditioning and lighting. Saunier said that among the buildings his engineers had surveyed, the county courthouse and recreation center had among the highest potential savings.
Fleming also asked Saunier about a brochure he had distributed to court members at an earlier meeting that featured a number of successful energy savings solutions projects in which CPS had participated. Fleming asked if the projects had all been conducted by CPS and Saunier replied that his company had participated in the work. Fleming said he had done some research on his own that indicates that CPS had not worked on all the projects listed in the brochure. Saunier replied that he believes that when he can present the complete list of projects in which CPS has participated, that Fleming’s doubts will be lifted. Fleming said that whatever the outcome, he does not believe the county cannot enter into another large bonding issue at this time.
“I don’t feel like we are financially capable of assuming more debt,” said Fleming. “But if you present us with something, I want it to be what you say.”
“You will be pleased with what we have done,” replied Saunier.
The meeting was one of the shortest in recent memory, lasting just under 30 minutes. Attendance was low and the court conducted the business on the agenda with the only change being the addition of Saunier’s comments. However, during the treasurer’s report, Fleming asked County Treasurer Phillip Hampton about an asset marked as part of the animal shelter project that came to more than $1,400. Hampton explained that the amount represented a bequest from the estate of a woman who had visited Letcher County before she died and it had been specifi- cally earmarked as being for the animal shelter, for care of animals in the county. Fleming said that since the animal shelter is no longer viable, it would be a good thing if the money could be used to help defray some of the costs to several people who voluntarily purchase dog food to feed stray dogs.
At the July court meeting, Judge/Executive Jim Ward told the court that fate of the county animal shelter is in limbo, due to the collapse of the coal industry. The funds to build the shelter are already allocated, but the operations were to be paid for by contributions from county coal companies, a number of which are no longer in business. Since then, the prospect of completing the center has become unlikely. Hampton said the bequest was probably broad enough to include purchasing food to feed strays and said he will look into it.
In other business, Tourism Commission Chairman David Narramore reported that the recent Mountain Heritage Festival had gone very well and that crowds for the concerts on Friday and Saturday night had ranged between 4,000 and 5,000 people. Narramore said that everything had gone well and the festival had more than justified its inclusion as one of the top 10 outdoor festivals in Kentucky. The Battle of Leatherwood re-enactment will be held October 24-26 at the battlefield site at Cornettsville.
Narramore thanked Judge Ward and his office staff for working with the tourism commission to raise more than $3,000 to help offset expenses for the festival. He also thanked Double Kwik, Jetta Operating LLC, the Letcher County Tourism and Convention Commission, and the office of Dr. David Narramore DMD PSC for their donations to the festival. He added that there were other contributors who did not wish to be identified but had made significant contributions.
In other court business:
• The court voted unanimously to pass a resolution to accept a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to provide $500,000 in funding for Phase I of the Craft’s Colly Sewer Line Project
• The court voted unanimously to allow for the lease of two 2015 Mack Trucks for county use.
• The court voted unanimously to pass a proclamation honoring Kentucky Retired
Teachers. Judge Ward praised Kentucky Retired Teachers saying that they served in the classroom and have continued their service into retirement, and proclaimed the week between October 19 and October 25 as Kentucky Retired Teachers Week in Letcher County.
• The court voted unanimously to adopt and approve the execution of a Rural and Secondary Road Agreement between the court and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Department of Rural and Municipal Aid, to accept state funding for road repairs on county roads.
• The court unanimously voted to name the bridge at Marlowe on Highway 931 North in memory of Seaman 1st Class Clyde Hatton, U.S. Navy, WWII; naming 848 Highway 1410 for Corporal Dayle Hall, U.S. Army; Webb Branch Road in Payne Gap for Airman First Class Willie Carl Webb, U.S. Air Force, 1962-1964, Vietnam; and Grassy Fork Road in Honor of Specialist 5 Jesse J. Wright, U.S. Army.
Bank balances for county agencies as of October 12:
• General Fund $166,547.26
• Road and Bridge Fund $723,189.04
• Jail Fund $79,749.18
• LGEA Fund $382,128.24
• Senior Citizens Fund $40,852.10
• Forestry Fund $13,873.33
• Letcher County Public Courthouse Corp. Funded Depreciation Reserve Account $426,987.57
• Letcher County Public Courthouse Corp. Debt Service $84,188.41