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Whitesburg’s new cable firm says better service just ahead




Cable television customers in the City of Whitesburg should expect to soon see an improved channel lineup and better signal quality, the city’s new cable franchise owner says.

Archie Everidge, general manager of TV Service Inc. in Hindman, told the Whitesburg City Council he doesn’t know the exact date when every customer now receiving a signal from Comcast will be switched over to the feed provided by his company, but that TV Service intends to move as quickly as possible.

“I know we can get it done quickly,” said Everidge. “We have made a big investment. We’ve already ordered the equipment and we have a contractor. We’re going to go through and replace all their (Comcast’s) equipment and upgrade and increase the channel capacity. We will come into the city from three sides with fiber optic cable. We will be directly connected to Hindman with fiber optic cable and there will be very little degradation of the signal quality.”

Everidge’s comments came after the city council took official action during its October meeting to award the cable franchise formerly held by Comcast to TVS.

Everidge told the council that rates charged by TVS are very competitive with other cable companies and satellite TV providers. He said that TVS offers a basic cable package for channels 2 through 13 for $18.00 per month. The company’s future plans include high-speed Internet connections, Everidge said. He added that customers should be able to continue using the set-top receivers already in place because Comcast used the same digital decoders as TVS.

The council awarded the franchise to TV Service Inc. upon the recommendation of Mayor James Wiley Craft. The council also gave Craft permission to negotiate terms of the agreement with TVS.

In other business at the council’s monthly meeting, Craft said he has issued instructions to the city water department to terminate water service to customers outside city limits who have delinquent bills over 90 days past due. Craft said he intends to issue the same order for city customers soon.

“We have over $94,000 in delinquent water bills,” said Craft. “I have started to terminate water service to people with 90- plus days delinquent bills. Since last Friday, we have taken in $6,000 from delinquent bills. Now we are looking at people in the city limits. Unless they take steps to get current and stay current we will take steps to terminate them, too.”

In other business, Jeff Kilgore of Veolia Water said that water levels in the North Fork of the Kentucky River are reaching critical stage, and if rain doesn’t fall soon the state may impose water restrictions on Whitesburg.

Kilgore said the water flow across the city’s dam was measured several times recently by the Kentucky Division of Water and officials said it is becoming critical. He said at present, the flow is barely enough to move leaves in the water across the dam. The Division of Water measures water flow rates at various intake points to make sure more water isn’t being taken out of the river than flows into it.

“If we don’t get some rain soon, the DOW will put us on very strict water regulation,” said Kilgore. “We need to be sure people aren’t washing down parking lots and their houses, or washing cars. We may need to look at the old city well, but I have heard the water was salty.”

Kilgore also told the council his work crews have removed a lot of clothing, rags and other items that shouldn’t be in a sewer line from several lift stations around the system. He also said there have been a lot of water line breaks because the ground is so dry it causes the lines to shift. Kilgore suggested some of the clothing getting into the sewer system might be coming from the Letcher County Jail in Whitesburg.

Kevin Howard of Summit Engineering recommended to the council that an order be issued by October 23 instructing low bidders H20 Contractors and Smith Contracting to begin construction on the new wastewater facility and pipelines.

Howard said that by taking the action now the city would lock in the bid prices, with the contractors beginning actual constriction early in November. Howard said the contracts are 365-day contracts and the contractors will work though the winter. He said there will be snow days figured in by state averages but he expects them to work throughout the coldest months. He said although minor details like paving the parking lot may take longer, the plant should be operational and treating sewage by November 2008.

Mayor Craft introduced Resolution 2007- 15, which allows the council to negotiate for a $1 million loan to complete the wastewater plant from both the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority and the Kentucky League of Cities. Craft told the council that both loans are just possibilities because he intends to pursue other funding sources vigorously, but if the city does have to borrow the money, borrowing part of it from the League of Cities will keep sewer rate increases lower than if the city borrows the entire amount from the KIA.

Summit Engineering’s Howard told the council it would have to at least raise sewer rates to the point where the sewer fund was paying its own way without borrowing from the water fund. The resolution was approved unanimously.

In his mayor’s report, Craft said he wanted the council and the public to know that the car wash at the Exxon convenience store at Ermine is able to continue operating its car wash because the facility does not use city water, but has its own well and cistern.

Craft also recommended that Whitesburg residents Carl B. Banks, John Honeycutt, and Karen Burns be appointed to serve on a new city commission created in September to address vacant and blighted urban property. The council voted unanimously to appoint them to fouryear terms.


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