By Kristina Smith / Staff Writer
The Stivers Aquatic and Wellness Center is running out of funds and some Barbourville residents are running out of patience.
Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting for the Barbourville City Council revealed that the Stivers Aquatic and Wellness Center is not making as much revenue as expected. Also at the meeting were residents of Three Oaks Estate who are fed up with a property owner who refuses to build a road.
Council members received a report from the Stivers Center board that bills are getting harder and harder to pay. The Stivers Center board initially thought they would have to turn off utilities this month until a Stivers Center partner paid the bills.
However, it is still uncertain if bills can be paid next month. Electricity and gas bills for the Center near $18,000 a month - and the Center is falling around $16,000 a month short, according to the Stivers Center board.
It is estimated that it will take around 300 new memberships to make the center more financially secure.
“People just can’t afford (a membership) in this economy,” said Council member Sherman Lawson.
But multiple ideas were thrown around in Thursday’s meeting to gather new memberships anyways.
“Tourism is coming on board to help,” said Barbourville Mayor Darren West.
Also among suggestions were moving the Knox County Farmers’ Market next to the Stivers Center, having a membership drive and increasing advertising for the Center.
The council did not take any action on the matter, but instead said they would think further about ways to help the Stivers Center.
Also seeking help were residents from Three Oaks Estate in Barbourville. Residents joined together at the meeting to ask for clarification as to who is exactly responsible for the poor condition of their roads.
Residents reported mufflers being torn off cars and the front of vehicles being damaged from the lack of an adequate road.
“I understand the situation and how aggravating it is,” said West. “The original property developer asked the city to take in the property, but that does not include the roads. Until the property deed is turned over to the city there is nothing we can do.”
West explained that Carnell Sprinkles owns the road and it is his responsibility to lay down the asphalt that it needs. Residents claim that Sprinkles says it’s the city’s responsibility and he does not have the money to build a road.
Council members suggested that stronger action may need to be taken if Sprinkles refuses to pave the road that he is responsible for.
“Go to Lexington, get yourselves a good attorney and burn him,” said Council member Wilma Barnes.
But in the meantime the council weighed the few options that they do have to correct the situation.
West suggested that the council draw up an ordinance prohibiting heavy trucks from traveling on the approximately 500 feet of asphalt that the city does own going into Three Oaks Estate.
With that ordinance, Sprinkles would not be allowed to direct his heavy construction trucks through the already dilapidated road. Instead he would be forced to build an alternate route to do any construction in the area.
West specified that the ordinance would have to make exceptions for city utility vehicles so that necessary heavy trucks, like garbage trucks, could still pass through.
City Attorney Chris Mills said he would help the council draft such an ordinance.
In other council news:
—The second reading of Ordinance No. 2014-3 was approved.
The ordinance will close an alley off Johnson Lane after a request by residents whose property touch the alley.
West explained that the alley is hardly ever used and the property will be divided among existing property owners.
—Resolution No. 2014-2 was passed by council members.
The resolution will allow the Barbourville City Police Department to acquire $10,000 to buy new equipment.
Police Chief Mike Broughton said the money would be used to purchase a 2014 Kawasaki Mule and an AED life pack for the police department lobby.
—Council Member Ronnie Moore mentioned that it had been asked of him how wrecker services are dispatched by 911 centers.
Broughton said it was a list of criteria that he selected wrecker services from to go onto a rotating list of wreckers.
Moore suggested that a written list of qualifications for wreckers and an explanation of how they are dispatched be created.
Broughton agreed to work with necessary officials to create this written document.
—Councilwoman Barnes made a statement clarifying the confusion with the Barbourville Water Park.
“The council did not raise rates at the water park. It was done in the 2013-2014 budget and just now went into effect. The mayor before did that - it was not us. We also did not shut the water park down, a pump went out and we had to close for a day,” Barnes said.
Barnes said she had received calls asking why the council shut down the water park.
“No matter what we do in this town people are going to say something negative,” West said.
By Kristina Smith / Staff Writer
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