By David Stewart
For the Mountain Advocate
The Barbourville City Council unanimously approved to extend its agreement with the Knox County Fiscal Court.
Mayor David Thompson pointed out, “They (County) have already approved to extend the agreement with us…and this is a one-year commitment. It used to be four. The agreement allows the county to dispatch the Barbourville police and fire departments.”
Thompson continued, “Prior to signing this agreement four years ago, we had our own dispatch at a cost of $150,000 per year. We asked the Fiscal Court to dispatch for us, and we agreed to pay them $100,000 a year to do so. Four years ago it saved us $50,000 per year. The savings has to be much greater per year now.”
Street Superintendent Robbie Cobb told the council that prepping the softball and baseball fields for the upcoming season had begun.”
Thompson offered up a proposal for the softball community, “We used to charge the teams $250 (per team) to play. I propose free entry for any team that wishes to play in the league. However, that would be for daylight hours only (when field lighting is not required). Also, the teams would need to provide their own umpires. “We will wait and see if they (softball community) like this option.”
In an effort to reduce clutter and unsafe conditions at the water park, Mayor Thompson asked the council for suggestions as to what to do with the playground within the park.
He said, “We have no money tied up the playground whatsoever. When McDonald’s decided to remodel, they gave us their entire old playground for free. We went up there after 11 p.m. (closing time) one night and with the help of Bob and Jeff Corey, Wendell Hammons, Mountain Ridges Drilling employees, crane and flatbed trucks, we successfully took it down and brought it to the park.”
He continued. “At first the state let us use it, but now they are asking for numerous upgrades. We need to decide what to do.”
After several options were discussed, the council approved the playground be sold (at no cost to the city) via the Internet on the govdeals.com website. They will be moving on this quickly, as a state inspection of the water park will be conducted April 12.
Mayor Thompson reported that “a person, that formerly held the position that I hold now, had entered city hall on the night of Dec. 31.” He said, “Several city employees told me that the person had called them and asked for keys to enter city hall. When none were given, he was seen later on camera after dark entering city hall. Thompson went on, “Now I do not know what Darren K. West was doing, but I (physically) did not enter city hall until around the third of January. I made sure to not take building keys until that time. I only went in the building after I had a city employee and a police officer remove what was to be my computer from my desk and box it up. This computer has stayed boxed up since that time, due to all of the snowstorms, frigid weather and floods we have endured. We as a city, had things more pressing to attend to, than this computer (displayed on table in front of room).
“I don’t know what is on that computer, and I do not wish to find out. It doesn’t matter, I will not be using it. We can sell it, destroy it, whatever you want to do, but I won’t use it.”
Helen Strong city secretary, said, “We are not able to sell it with the hard drive intact.”
Calvin Manis brought up the option of “putting it in a corner until the Barbourville utility people could take a look at it.” Thompson said he could borrow someone else’s until a solution was found.