TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
Questions about the water problems on Master Street, as well as what’s changed at a homeless shelter on South Main Street, were addressed during a special meeting Tuesday of the Corbin City Commission.
It was Corbin Utilities Commission (CUC) General Manager Ron Herd who came to explain the issues about water over the roadway during heavy rains — a problem that many drivers have experienced over the years.
“It’s like every town. We’ve seen lots of improvement, but on Master Street, I think the problem is we’re getting a lot of cross-over from the water. … I know a lot of people wonder why we haven’t fixed it, but we’ve done some rehab work there since 1998,” he said.
Herd noted the problem could be due to the large amount of surface water getting into the sanitary sewer system backing up line from Pump Station #1.
During a meeting with the CUC last month, the utility’s consulting engineers felt the sanitary sewer overflow problem at the Master Street manholes might be a capacity problem. It involves the 10-inch sewer main which carries the flow into the pump station.
“We’re doing preliminary work. In looking at Master Street, we’re going to upgrade that sewer,” Herd told commission members.
Work on the Master Street problem would be part of a wastewater treatment flow upgrade project, with the preliminary cost estimated to be $9.7 million.
“We’re looking at getting a loan (for the project). That’s a lot of money to spend, but we’ll have to do more work. The project will give us more capacity at the sewer plant. Hopefully, the sewer plant project will help that out on Master Street,” Herd said.
Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney, and City Commissioners Joe Shelton, Bruce Hodge, Suzie Razmus and Ed Tye also heard from Jim Lacefield, one of three directors at The Everlasting Arm, a homeless shelter and service organization on South Main Street.
During the past year, the organization had complaints from some residents living in the neighborhood about drugs, drinking and loitering from some using the shelter. In addition, some of the complaints were brought up at previous City Commission meetings.
Lacefield — who is also on the advisory board for the shelter — told the commission and the mayor many things have changed now.
“They now do warrant checks. No one who works there has taken payments on food stamps. There’s 317 people who are served by the shelter’s food pantry. …They can’t wander around anymore. We’re rewriting the rules for the residents. This is a ministry. We consider it God’s work,” he said.
Commissioner Joe Shelton felt communication between the shelter and the community may have been the problem in earlier times.
“None of us with the city are against the homeless shelter. I think the problems in the past were from a lack of communication. I think you’ll have to talk with the neighborhood and work on making amends,” he said.
“We want to encourage people if they have issues to come to us. There’s no issues now. There’s not a drug problem. …Our goal is to introduce those who stay to get back into the workforce and go into public housing,” Lacefield said.
When the commission asked about complaints in the neighborhood where the center is located, Corbin Police Captain Coy Wilson said the area has been patrolled on a regular basis, and that the number of complaints have been greatly reduced.
Several actions were taken at the city commission meeting, held upstairs at Corbin City Hall.
One was authorizing a $10,000 donation to the Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, which will help the agency recover from a disastrous fire they suffered in late November.
A separate donation was also authorized, with a $500 check going towards the City of Corbin’s Relay For Life team.
Two other actions dealt with annexation. The commission approved authorizing City Attorney Bob Hammons to draw up two ordinances that would annex property into the city. One would be for property owned by Farris Properties, LLC on U.S. 25E (Cumberland Gap Parkway), with the other for property owned by Beulah Rogers at 201 North Mitchell Street.
Two other actions involved the Corbin Board of Education. One involved renewing the school board’s lease with the city for the use of school buses during events at the Corbin Arena. The other renewed the annual agreement between the city and the school board for the Corbin Independent Schools to use the Corbin Center for Technology and Community Activities.
Approval was given authorizing Mayor McBurney to sign a grant with the state Division of Waste Management, giving the city a matching grant estimated around $29,000 for replacing crumb rubber for rubber mulch to be used on the Larry Stevens Playground at Rotary Park. City Manager Marlon Sams said the city would do the labor for the project as part of the matching grant agreement.
In addition, commission members approved declaring the property adjacent to the Corbin Center as surplus property, and for Sams to advertise for sealed bids for the property.
Scott Carrell, an employee with the city’s Public Works Department, was approved for promotion from a part-time to a full-time worker. He replaces Dan Brock.
Denny Jones was appointed to the city’s Code Enforcement Board to replace John Manon, who is moving to Pennsylvania. Jones’ term expires Jan. 31, 2016.
Reappointed to the Code Enforcement Board was Trent Knuckles. His term expires Jan. 31, 2017.
At the first of the meeting, Manon — a Presbyterian minister and Corbin resident — was honored and recognized for his years serving on several city boards, including the Code Enforcement Board, the Cooper-Heath Board and the city Housing Board.
McBurney presented both a Corbin Colonel and a Kentucky Colonel proclamations, in which Manon drew a warm round of applause after receiving the honors.
“He was a real good citizen,” Commissioner Tye said of Manon after the meeting.
Tuesday’s meeting was a special session of the city commission because the original meeting date — now the third Monday of each month — fell on Jan. 20, which is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, a national holiday.