Property taxes in Whitesburg will remain at the same rate, 34 cents per $100 real property, as they have been “since man’s memory runneth not to the contrary,” according to Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft. The Whitesburg City Council voted to set property tax rates at its August meeting when it passed Ordinance 2010-3.
The council also voted to make final an exchange between the City of Whitesburg and the Letcher County Conservation District for a triangle of land near the Whitesburg Wastewater Plant and the old KYVA building. The council has long expressed a desire to save the KYVA building from the wrecking ball and with the exchange, the building will be preserved for its historical value. The Conservation District will now be free to build its new office center on the new site.
Letcher County Surveyor Richard Hall surveyed the lot at the district’s new site, which is valued at $75,000. Mayor Craft said the KYVA building is valued at $85,000 and he is happy that the city will be able to preserve another historic building in town. Craft also praised Hall, both for the high quality of his work and for doing the survey on the weekend to be ready for the council meeting. Hall said the district’s site is located over 200 feet from the sewer plant and is in compliance with state laws regulating construction near wastewater plants. Craft added that there is enough land for the district to expand at a later time if it should wish to do so.
In other business, Mayor Craft reported that the city will honor coal miners as part of its Labor Day celebration at the city’s Riverside Park. He said a plaque will be dedicated to all the coal miners in Letcher County and awards will be given to the oldest and youngest miners, as well as for the most years worked. Craft said he would also like to honor the longest serving female miner, too. The celebration will take place on Sept. 6 beginning at 1 p.m., and will feature country music band Confederate Railroad as well as local bands and horseshoe and corn hole tournaments. There will be a fishing tournament for children and food booths.
Confederate Railroad, from Marietta, Ga., has been on the country music scene since 1987 and has over 20 singles placed on Billboard’s
Hot Country Songs chart. Their self-titled album “Confederate Railroad” and their second album “Notorious” are both certified platinum sellers.
Craft also reminded council members about Riverside Days, which will run August 19–21 at the City Park .
In other council business:
• State Representative Leslie Combs attended the meeting and told the council she had just come from Frankfort to visit the meeting. Combs said that while she is well informed by reading The Mountain Eagle,
she is always glad to be able to attend the council meetings and get a firsthand account.
• Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering told the council he will pick up current audits to take to the Kentucky Public Service Commission in regard to the City’s request to raise rates for water it sells to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District. Nesbitt also reported on the planned expansion of the city’s water treatment plant. He said project profiles have been submitted to the Kentucky Department of Water and that some funding for the plant is contained in line items in the federal budget, which will have to go through the Congressional process. Nesbitt also reported that the Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded the city a planning grant for its planned restoration project for the Daniel Boone Hotel.
• Kevin Howard of Summitt Engineering reported that the Nursing Home Pump Station is being held up by electrical issues, and that the city can probably do one more small project with money left over in the budget. Todd Adams of Veolia Water suggested using the extra funds to rehab the old Walmart Pump Station, which he said is over 30 feet deep. Adams said it is very dangerous for workers to service the pump due to the presence of toxic gases as well as other dangers associated with working at that depth.
• Adams also reported that Veolia has received the city’s jetter and is using it to clean out pipes. He said he had spoken with Summitt engineers about odor problems on Maple Street and the Maple Street pump station will be monitored electronically. Adams said parts should be in soon for water line improvements at the Walmart shopping center. He said Veolia will try to do most of the work at night, but parking space will be affected. However, the improvements will replace inadequate one-quarter inch lines with two-inch lines that will improve water pressure and allow for future expansion of the center.
• The council voted to lease a lot near the Whitesburg football field to City Clerk Garnette Sexton for $50 per month. Sexton’s trailer has been on the lot for a considerable time but the question of ownership has concerned her since she had no actual title or rental agreement. Mayor Craft said now she can rest assured that her lot will not be taken. The lease will run for the maximum time allowed by law, 10 years with two fiveyear extensions.