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Whitesburg OK’s water rate hike of $7.90


Whitesburg water customers will soon see a rate hike.

A rate increase of $7.90 per month for Whitesburg approved in April will go into effect when it receives a final approval by the city attorney. Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft made the announcement at the May meeting of the Whitesburg City Council.

The rate increase will pay for new Mueller radioread water meters that cost $193,558 each. The meters are financed for 10 years with semi-annual payments of $21,878. The increase will also help the city qualify for state grants.

Councilman John Pellegrini and Mayor Craft said it is not really an issue since the council had already voted to raise the rates in April. Paul Nesbitt of Nesbitt Engineering told the council the rate increase will be necessary in order to qualify for a loan forgiveness program by the State of Kentucky.

Pellegrini said the city also needs to increase collections of delinquent water bills, and erase the deficit in its water accounts.

Businesses and tourist spots in Whitesburg and Letcher County now have another way of drawing visitors from out of the area with the release of the Blue Ridge Parkway Edition of the Wild Mountain Rides Touring Map.

The map, which is aimed at connecting with the increasingly profitable motorcycle touring business, was released at last week’s council meeting. Copies of the full color foldout map and guide are available to the public at city hall and businesses that are identified on the maps. They will also be distributed at welcome centers throughout the region, motorcycle shops and rallies, and at other strategically located centers frequented by the motorcycle riding public. They feature motorcycle friendly businesses, tourist attractions, restaurants, and lodging.

Several local businesses have ads in the full color foldout brochure, including Summit City on Main in Whitesburg, the Letcher County Tourism Commission, Kentucky Mist Distillery, Mountain Comprehensive Health Care, and the City of Whitesburg. StreetSide Bar and Grill and the American Legion Riders Post are also listed on the large foldout map that makes up one entire side of the guide. Whitesburg is part of the Kentucky Mist Loop, and Jenkins and Fleming-Neon are part of the Breaks Loop. Lynch, Benham, and Cumberland are part of the Woodbooger Loop. All three loops include Whitesburg. As riders complete the designated loops, they can receive a locally distinct token to decorate their vests.

The idea to participate in the guide was presented at the December 2018 meeting by Councilman Mike Jackson. The brochure is published annually by Wild Mountain Rides Motorcycle Touring Maps of Asphalt Adventures LLC. Jackson said the Mooresville, Tennessee company has produced over one million map/brochures on trails in North Carolina and Tennessee. Kentucky is included in this year’s maps. The trails are on paved roads, but Jackson said the company makes an effort to exclude interstate highways and four-lane roads. and run the trails through scenic areas with tourist attractions and accommodations. This year’s map includes all three trails that run through Whitesburg and the eastern third of Kentucky.

In other business, City Manager Chris Caudill reported that the Whitesburg Sensory Park is now complete and will be ready for a ribbon cutting sometime this week. Work on the park, which is designed to meet the needs of autistic children, began last year and Craft said that although the city has spent more than it had planned, he is proud of it and he looks forward to seeing children enjoy it. Craft said the park is the only sensory park in southeastern Kentucky, and has video surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone who makes any attempt to vandalize it will be prosecuted.

The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that allows it to apply for a Land and Water Conservation

Fund Grant from the Kentucky Department of Local Government. The matching grant will pay for a children’s Splash Pad for the Whitesburg Swimming Pool.

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