The Whitesburg City Council voted unanimously at its December meeting to continue to participate as a fiscal agent with Appalachian Regional Healthcare, to allow the chain to obtain a $9.75 million bond issue in order to purchase equipment for use throughout the ARH system. The vote mirrors a similar vote the council made in November 2014 for a $10 million issue. Charles Musson of Rubin and Hays Law Firm of Louisville, who represents Appalachian Regional Healthcare, told the council that by acting as the issuing agent, the city will again allow the hospital chain to issue the bonds at a considerably lower interest rate by selling the bonds in a taxexempt bracket. Musson said that by approving the issue, the city is in no way liable for the bonds and will not be responsible for them in any way.
Musson said the bonds will be issued as tax-exempt qualified obligations and that they will be sold to Community Trust Banks. He said the limited obligation payments will be made through profits from the Appalachian Regional Healthcare system and the city is not obligated for payment in any way, and is under no other liability.
Whitesburg ARH Community CEO Dena Sparkman told the council Whitesburg ARH will get equipment upgrades in the form of tables and stretchers for the operating room, and new colonoscopy and cardiology equipment. She said last year’s allotment to the Whitesburg ARH had purchased new defibrillators and other equipment. The vote to approve the request was unanimous, following a session that Musson asked to be included for public comment.
In other business, Water Maintenance Director Chris Caudill reported that city water workers found and repaired several small leaks last month, and they are still working on the clarifier at the Whitesburg Wastewater Treatment Plant. He added that there were some additional electrical problems at the plant.
Caudill also told the council that the pumps at the city’s sewage lift station at Letcher County Central High School are not sufficiently powerful to push against pressurized lines and will require a bigger pump, which will cost $3,320. He said that an air injection system will also be required to push waste through the pipes at the Walmart Lift Station and that it should help to alleviate odor problems. He added that there are still problems with grease at the Walmart lift Station and it has to be pumped out about four times a year at a considerable cost to the city. State inspectors conducted an inspection at the wastewater treatment plant and Caudill said they gave the city a good report.
At last month’s meeting, Mayor Craft asked the council for permission to purchase gift certificates for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a ham or chicken for each city employee and member of the Whitesburg Volunteer Fire Department. The request was approved unanimously, but Craft said the November minutes only reflected granting permission for certificates for Thanksgiving. He asked the council to vote again to approve the purchase of certificates for Christmas as well, and the vote to approve was unanimous.