Following the second reading of Ordinance 2016-3, property and other city tax rates for the City of Whitesburg will remain the same as they were last year, at $.34 per $100 real property. This is the same rate as in 2007. Councilman Derek Barto conducted the second reading of the ordinance and the council voted unanimously to approve it.
In other business, Mayor James Wiley Craft told the council that the city badly needs a new garbage truck and said a competitive bid for a truck that will meet the city’s specifications was returned in the amount of $139,721.70. Craft said the purchase can be financed for five years at the rate of 2.99 percent and added that he has spoken with the city’s financial officer and was told the city will be able to afford the monthly payments of $2,510. The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase with the caveat that the interest rate remain at 2.99 percent and gave Mayor Craft permission to complete the negotiations.
Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering, who is working with the city on several projects including an expansion and refurbishment of the city water plant and an overhaul of the old Daniel Boone Hotel, reported that he is continuing to have conversations with the commissioner of the Department of Local Government in Frankfort, and that the prospect of obtaining funding for both projects looks very promising. Nesbitt said that Commissioner Sandy Duanahoo is aware of the city’s needs and that her department offered several options that could be very advantageous.
Water Maintenance Director Chris Caudill reported that there have been no sewer problems in the city in the past month and said department workers have gotten caught up on their projects by installing two new pumps and cannibalizing two old ones to build a newer one as well. Caudill added that he is looking at getting new bearings for the Number Two Clarifier at the wastewater treatment plant, which he said should cost about $3,500. He added that all the mixers in the water treatment plant are now up and running.
In the Mayor’s Report, Mayor Craft offered his congratulations to Whitesburg resident Dee Davis, President of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg. Davis was recently chosen to receive the Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunication Award given by the United Church of Christ, which will be presented at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on October 13. Craft said Davis has worked for 40 years to help bring telecommunications to rural America, Appalachia, and Whitesburg, and has worked closely with City Hall to bring high speed Internet to the city. Craft offered his congratulations to Davis and thanked him for his efforts in behalf of Whitesburg.
Craft also offered praise to several city workers who he said took their Sunday evening leisure time to volunteer to clean the front of the Letcher County Courthouse in preparation for the upcoming Mountain Heritage Festival. Craft said that Chris Caudill, Ken Sexton Jr., Don Baker, Stacy Sturgill, Blake Shelton, Rob Sexton, and Gary Sexton worked hard to clean the front of the county courthouse and that it looks as good as new.
Councilman Derek Barto also asked permission to locate a park for special needs children on city property near the city tennis and basketball courts. Barto said the Sensory Park will serve autistic children and other special needs children and that if the city would give its permission to use the property, the committee can begin fundraising efforts. The council voted unanimously to approve his request and Barto said there will be a radio auction in November to raise funding for the park.