Whitesburg KY

Turner talks to Jenkins about severance funding

29th District State Senator Johnny Ray Turner visited the Jenkins City Council this week to talk about how funding is determined in the General Assembly.

Turner told that council at its May meeting Monday that all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives and the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, must then examine the House bills and make its own changes. Turner is a Democrat. Disagreements are settled in conference committees in which Senate and House leaders must come to an agreement over how the bill will eventually look.

“It’s kind of like a horse trade,” said Turner. “You give me this and I’ll give you that. When the Coal Severance Tax list came to the Senate, Senator (President David) Williams stripped everything out of the House budget for Coal Severance. We had to negotiate and try to figure out how to put it back.”

Turner said he eventually managed to get funding for a number of projects which benefited the Jenkins area, including the Cane Branch/McPeaks Branch Water Project, the Payne Gap Water Project, and the Number 2 Bottom Sewer Project.

“Overall the county fared pretty well,” said Turner. “We put a lot of money into water and sewer. A lot of the money will be used as seed money to expand funding.”

Turner said the Carr Creek Lake Treatment Plant will also provide water for Letcher County. Letcher County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward told the council that Turner was also responsible for Letcher County receiving an additional $2.3 million above the coal severance tax funds from state bonded funding, which put the county’s state funding at over $8 million for water and sewer.

Ward and Letcher County Parks and Recreation Director Derek Barto attended the meeting for the opening of bids for playground equipment for the Kiddy Park at Jenkins Lake.

Legacy Playground Equipment submitted the sole bid for $23,439. Barto told the council the city has $16,000 plus an $8,000 match from the county. He said that with upgrades in fences and other work, the total would come to $31,000, which was under budget. Barto told the council that Parks and Recreation would make up the remainder of the funding for the park, which serves children from age five to 12.

In other council business:.

. The council heard the first reading of Ordinance #209, which would impose a 0.025 percent fee for Banking Franchise and Local Deposits on banks operating in the city limits.

. Mayor Dixon appointed Becky Terrill and council member Rick Damron to serve with himself and citizen member Ked Sanders on a committee to examine the city’s occupational license ordinance.

. Police Chief Jim Stephens reported receiving 127 complaints and making 29 arrests. Stephens said that nine arrests were drug related. He also said the department has been praised by the Kentucky State Police for assisting in a recent murder case in the city.

. Fire Chief Rick Corbett reported that most calls had been for actual fires as opposed to other forms of assistance. Corbett told the council that the proposed ambulance service for the city cannot get started without having an adequate number of emergency medical technicians and that at present, most of the instructors he has spoken with want to charge by the participant rather than for the entire class. Corbett said the costs are high and would pretty much take the fire department’s entire budget to fund.

. Sarah Brown of the Blighted and Deteriorated Property Committee asked that three houses, the Leona Jones property, the Bert Fields property on Elkhorn Avenue, and the Annie Blackman property in Wrights Hollow, be placed on the Blighted and Deteriorated list for action by the city. The council approved the request unanimously.

. Mayor Dixon delivered his budget request for Fiscal Year 2008- 2009. City Attorney Tackett conducted the first reading of the budget ordinance, which provides for a total budschool get of $2,113,544.

. Aleece Jones of LKLP Head Start presented the city with a check for $2,876 from an Entrepreneurial Program started as part of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Free to Grow Initiative. The city may use the money as needed.

. The council accepted three drawings from Nesbitt Engineering for a city logo. A council committee will determine which to adopt as the official city logo.

. The council voted to accept CEDA of Richmond, Ky. as grant consultant for a Community Development Block Grant for upgrades to city water and sewer lines.

. The council heard a presentation from Ben Mann of Mann, Sutton, & McGee for the city’s insurance business.

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