Planning for the future, members of the Evarts City Council met in a special called meeting on Thursday to discuss ways to spend coal severance funds recently received from the county. Mayor Eddie Manning said their city is strong and by planning ahead, it will remain strong.
Armed with a list of projects to address, Manning asked all council members for their input on priorities for the city.
“I looked over a lot of things and came up with a list of things I feel are priority items,” said Manning. “Anything the council wants to add or take away from this list, please feel free to do that. I think the number one thing on the list is our fire truck payments. If we don’t get the fire truck payments paid out of this money, there will be no money for fire truck payments anymore with coal severance money dropping.”
Manning recommended paying $22,695 on the fire truck leaving an approximate balance of $20,000. He said the city’s police department also has three 2008 cruisers, which are in dire need of repairs, and he felt this is a high priority also.
“We have to get these vehicles fixed. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” said Manning. “We can’t afford new vehicles or new engines. I have an estimate of $4,500 for these repairs. The city hall roof will need to be replaced. If we don’t do it now, we’ll end up having to borrow money in the future to fix it later. We’ll take bids on this project and make a decision on the cost then. We need to do some sidewalk repairs. We receive a Kentucky League of Cities Safety Grant each year in the amount of $3,000. We can match that and make it $6,000 and begin working on our sidewalks.
“I’ve talked to Acey Short, here in Evarts, and instead of bringing in a construction crew with their workers and their equipment, we will use city workers with Acey supervising them. We’re talking about sidewalks on KY 215 and we may be able to replace all the sidewalks on this street. By doing it this way we’ll save the city a lot of money. Mr. Short is experienced in this type of work and he is excited about helping the city. If we try to do at least $6,000 worth of sidewalk repair each year, eventually we’ll have all our sidewalks looking good.”
City Clerk Kristi Lamb said by repairing the sidewalks, it will help the city’s general liability insurance rating. Manning said one of the biggest claims against cities is people falling on sidewalks.
“Our police officers haven’t had new uniforms in the past five years,” said Manning. “I think it’s time to make that purchase. I have an estimate of $4,579 from Kay’s of Kingsport and this will give them a complete set each.”
“I also think we need a curfew siren for the Middleton Addition of the city,” said Manning. “I have an estimate of $575 on that. We can put it on the sewer plant and this will allow residents in the Middleton Addition to hear the siren. We have a fire hydrant in the Middleton Addition which also needs to get fixed. If we have a fire down there and the hydrant isn’t working it puts the city at risk for liability. I have an estimate for a new one for $1,451.”
Manning went on to say one of the city vehicles used by Maintenance Supervisor Cledo Powers, needs four new tires. He also added he felt the city should donate $500 to the First Lt. Carl Dodd Memorial to be placed in the city. He said several donations have already been made and he expects even more to be made in the future. He added this is “a great honor for the city” to recognize the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who was a Clover Fork native. Ending the list, Manning suggested $2,000 be spent for playground equipment for the city’s new park.
After a lengthy discussion, all council members approved the recommendations made by Manning.
“We have to look at things that will save the city the most money,” said Manning. “Times are hard and you can’t just go out and give people $10,000 for a $5,000 job. You have to look ahead.”
In other action, council members approved the sale of a 1999 Crown Victoria police cruiser. It was previously declared surplus to the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office at the appraised value of $1,500. Council member Carrie Lipfird, who is the sheriff’s wife, abstained from the discussion and the vote.
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