Taxpayers in Jenkins will get a small break in the taxes they pay on motor vehicles and watercraft in the coming year.
At the August meeting of the Jenkins City Council, Councilman Rick Damron proposed lowering the rate by one cent per $100, to $.3399 from $.3499 (to 33.99 cents from 34.99 cents). Other tax rates remain in place with property taxes at $.3499 or 34.99 cents per $100.
In other business, Council Member Ernestine Hill urged the citizens of Jenkins and Letcher County to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and to follow the Centers for Disease Control recommended precautions against contracting the disease. Hill said wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands are all important steps in avoiding the virus. Hill is a nurse at Mountain Comprehensive Health Care’s Whitesburg Clinic, and said that the virus has become a major issue in Letcher County and in Kentucky, adding that it isn’t going to just go away in the fall.
In a related matter, Depriest said that he had spoken with the Letcher County Health Department about the possibility of some sort of scaled back homecoming celebration for the fall, but there is no way the city can safely put a festival on. Depriest added that he is in preliminary talks with several business that have expressed an interest in Jenkins, including one that is interested on putting a commercial operation on a coal property.
In other business, the final step of the almost 20 year-long Jenkins waterline replacement project is now in place. Paul Nesbitt, of Nesbitt Engineering, has worked on the project with the city since the administration of the late Mayor Robert “Pud” Schubert in the early part of the century.
The city’s efforts have resulted in a refurbished water plant and the replacement of every water line in the city, except for a few that serve areas with very few houses or are difficult to reach. Phase Five will replace all the lines that were bypassed.
Nesbitt said the funding is ready to be released and the city should plan on advertising the project for bids soon, along with an Abandoned Mine Land project to extend lines to a few homes in Marshall’s Branch. Nesbitt said he hopes the city can let the bids in the next month and open both bid packages on the same day.
Depriest said he has been informed that the funding for the sidewalk project to the Jenkins High School is secure and will be released soon. He added that he will meet with the Kentucky Department of Water to discuss the Elkhorn Dam and the Emergency Action Plan for the city. He also said he hopes to put a funding package together to renovate and expand the city sewer plant.
The mayor also announced the retirement of David Richardson from his position as manager of the city sewer plant. Depriest said Richardson has served the city well and everyone will miss him. Depriest wished Richardson well and thanked all the city employees and staff for their work.