The Whitesburg City Council held a ceremony in memory of the late Reverend Jack Sparks and presented his widow, Trina Sparks, with a plaque of recognition for his service from 29th District State Senator Johnny Ray Turner and Kentucky Senate President David Williams.
Sparks traditionally opened city council meetings with a prayer before his recent death and also served as chaplain to the Whitesburg Volunteer Fire Department and Whitesburg Police Department. Mayor James W. Craft asked Mrs. Sparks to lead the council in prayer in recognition of Rev. Sparks and invited her to visit the council any time to offer an opening prayer.
“Jack considered it (his service to the city) an honor,” said Mrs. Sparks.
“One of the most pleasant parts of every meeting was Jack Sparks opening the meeting with a prayer,” said Craft. “His prayers were so sincere. I believe they extended well beyond the building.”
The council also opened bids for city property that had been declared surplus, including several police cruisers. Bids were awarded as follows:
• Dump truck: Randall Caudill – $512.50
• One police cruiser: Jerome Hatton – $1,200.
• Two police cruisers: Roger Hall – $600.01 and $601.01
• One police cruise: Lee Michael Caudill – $875.75 (for Heritage 2K Truck Show. This cruiser was shown in a “Show Trucks” magazine article about the annual truck show held in Whitesburg).
• Dump truck: Keith Adams – $315.
• Police cruiser: Roland Craft – $301.25
• Dump truck bed: James Stanley – $400.
The council voted unanimously to accept the bids and to give Mayor Craft the authority to negotiate the sales. Craft said if all sales become final it will net the city $4,400.
The council also voted to close First Street, a short alley which connects with East Main Street (formerly Railroad Street). The closure came as the result of a request to buy the road from Cossie Quillen Jr., President of East Main Rental. In a letter requesting the sale, Quillen told the council the street only serves two pieces of property, both of which are owned by East Main Rental. He said that East Main Rental had already contributed to maintenance on the street to put in storm drains earlier this year, sharing the cost with the city. East Main Rentals paid $10,000 as its part of the work and Quillen proposed that the city sell First Street to East Main Rental for the total cost of the storm drain plus a drain in front of City Hall, less the $10,000 the company had already paid.
Mayor Craft recommended the city accept the proposal and close the street, except in the case of easements for city workers to access the storm sewer. Councilman John Williams moved to accept Craft’s recommendation, which was approved unanimously.
Todd Adams, manager of Veolia Water, told the council there was no bad news to report for the month and that a “jetter” to clean pipes with high pressure water jets has been authorized. Councilman Williams asked Adams to install inserts to protect motorists’ tires from bumps created where manhole covers have been paved around, leaving as much as a six-inch drop. Adams said the matter would be taken care of.
In other business:
• The council voted to provide gift cards to city employees for the purchase of hams or turkeys for Christmas. Mayor Craft said he would negotiate the prices with area groceries.
• Mayor Craft introduced Abbey Jones, a new engineer with Nesbitt Engineering. Craft said Ms. Jones will serve as the city’s liaison with Nesbitt.
• The council voted to allow Mayor Craft to negotiate a rental contract for cityowned property behind Parkway Plaza Center with the management company that owns the center. The property will be used to place heating and air-conditioning units for use by the shopping center, which is being remodeled. Craft said he will propose a 10- year lease at $1,500 a month.
• Council member Robin Bowen-Watco asked about a new building inspector, but Craft said the position of fire chief also covers the position of building inspector and that Chief Gary Mullins is handling those duties. Watco said a number of buildings in the city need to be inspected to ensure public safety.