The City of Whitesburg will host a new event, a monthly car show tentatively named “Whitesburg on Wheels,” beginning at a date to be determined in May.
At the April meeting of the Whitesburg City Council on Tuesday night, Whitesburg resident Jimmy Turner approached the council with a request to host a monthly car show one Saturday each month, which he said will be like the one the City of Jenkins hosts every month during the warm months. Turner said that just by word of mouth with no ads, he has about 40 individuals interested in showing their cars. He said Jenkins usually averages about 100 cars and Somerset has between 1,000 and 1,500 for their car shows. Turner said he will try to get donations to pay for prizes for the shows and that he believes it will be an event that will bring people into the city.
Turner said the car show would start in the afternoon in the free city parking lot near the foot of School Hill after giving the Whitesburg Farmers Market plenty of time to clear out. Councilman Mike Jackson made the motion to allow the car show to take place. The motion was approved unanimously.
In other business, Mayor Craft announced that the council has to set the salaries for the incoming mayor and council members before May 1, for the incoming administration following this year’s election. Craft said he would call two special meetings to set the salaries, and that regardless of who is elected he hopes the council will consider setting the mayor’s salary at a level that will allow that person to devote all their time to the mayor’s duties without having to hold a second job. Councilman Derek Barto agreed and Mike Jackson said he believes the city deserves a full-time mayor. The current mayor’s salary is $19,000 a year.
Jackson also suggested that Craft delegate a staff member to find out what surrounding communities pay their mayors. Craft said he had checked with Hindman and Jenkins, which pay their mayors $35,000 a year and $47,000 a year, respectively. Craft also suggested that council members get a raise from the current $50 per meeting, but Barto and Council Member Robin Bowen-Watko both said that since the council members donate their salaries to charities, there is no need to raise them.
“We need to have a mayor who is compensated well enough so they can dedicate 100 percent of their time to the job,” said Jackson.
In other business, Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, who is working with the city on a number of projects, said it is time for the city to draw up a list of Capital Improvement Projects to present to state and federal funding agencies so those agencies can see what the city has planned and what its priorities are.
Nesbitt presented a list of projects the city currently has on its radar, including the refurbishing of the city water treatment plant, which has already been submitted to the Kentucky Department of Water as a $4.66 million project. Nesbitt said engineering procurement has been completed for the first phase of a water line replacement project, estimated to cost $1.305 million. Phase two of that project will be submitted in January 2019 and will be followed by rehabilitating or replacing city water tanks.
The city’s “Wastewater Lift Station Rehab Project Profile” is scheduled for engineering procurement by July 2018 and is already listed in the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority’s Water Resource Information System (WRIS) as a $1.8 million project. Wastewater extensions to the Mayking area are also in the WRIS as a $3.0 million project, as is the rehab of the city’s sewer plant, estimated as a $2.0 million project.
The council also voted unanimously to approve allowing the Letcher County Central Drama Team to hold a Five K run at 8 a.m. on June 2, and to allow for an Autism Walk in the city on April 16 at 6 p.m. April is Autism Awareness Month.
Mayor Craft also issued another warning for people using city Dumpsters illegally. He said he has directed city police officers to increase surveillance of the Dumpsters, adding that violators will be fined $500.