City will repair 100-year-old culvert on Pleasant Street

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Becky Barnes,


Two recent torrential rainfalls left a large hole in Pleasant Street and two homeowners concerned about their properties.
Wilbert Winkle, 419 E. Pleasant St., and Billy Tobin, appeared before the Cynthiana City Commission on Tuesday evening to see how and when the city would rectify the situation that left their basements flooded.
Winkle said he had a foot and half of water backed up into his basement while his neighbor Roy Franklin’s basement was waist-deep. Franklin was not in attendance and neither was Robert Sharp at 415 E. Pleasant St. Each of the three have made damage claims against the city’s insurance.
Gary Royalty, director of public utilities, told commissioners that the 100-year-old culvert failed about seven years ago. The fix then was to try to mold a round pipe into a rectangular hole.
That held until the torrential rains that could not withstand the overflow or debris that was trying to get through.
Royalty said it was likely a piece of debris caught on a flap made to accommodate the “circle into a square hole” which blocked the flow of water.
Commissioners first declared an emergency to be able to make the repairs without going through the bidding process and delaying the project. They also agreed to repair the culvert, replacing the old lines between the curbs and to build a curb that would divert the water from their homes.
The estimated cost will be between $40,000 and $50,000, Royalty said.
Commissioner Jada Griggs also suggested that the crew making the repairs, elevate the sidewalk that was below street level.
In another matter, Det./Sgt. Mark Burden of the  Blue Grass Drug Task Force, gave the commissioners an update on the task force’s progress.
Burden told commissioners that the fight against drugs has been showing signs of success. In 2015, there were 20-plus overdose deaths in Harrison County. That number decreased over the next two years,
“We went 10 months with no overdose deaths,” Burden said, acknowledging that two deaths due to drug overdoses have occurred in the last two weeks.
Burden said that since the task force’s inception there have been 60 arrests, four round-ups and multiple cases that have included not only the task force’s agencies, but also federal investigators in the FBI, DEA, KSP Desi, ICE and ATF.
Burden said that when a case can be dealt with on a federal level, if convicted the offender will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence.
Through their investigations, law enforcement has determined that the bulk of the drugs being brought into the county are coming from Cincinnati and Detroit.
“We are trying to target up the ladder and educate the community,” Burden said.
He added that there are extreme safety concerns when dealing with fentanyl. He said officers are conscious of the need to wear gloves, however, they may unconsciously touch their face.
“Then they’ve been exposed.,” Burden said. “We may not stop every overdose death, but we can try to stay ahead of it.”
In other business, the commission:
•Recognized Stephanie Burden and the Main Street Program board of directors as the city’s second Community Impact Award recipients.
•Recognized Cynthiana’s Water Treatment Plant staff who have aided in the plant going three years without a single violation.
•Approved tax rate ordinances. Each of the rates were the compensating rate, which nets the city the same amount of revenue from the previous year.
Commissioner Mark Mattmiller said that in 2009 and 2010 the city took the four percent tax rate. The following year the four percent rate was presented again but was voted down by the commission. Every year since the city has approved the compensating tax rate.
•Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending policies and procedures to add a police department social worker.
Commissioner Roger Slade said that this would be another fragment in the fight against drugs. He said this would help the task force and the city take a swing at addiction and help in domestic violence situations.
Commissioner Lourena Judy said this person would also be available as a resource for police officers.
The commission agreed to accept applications for the social worker.
•Heard Mayor James Smith report that work is continuing on the Westside Redevelopment houses. The the Cynthiana-Harrison County Housing Assistance project is also well into its construction of a house as part of that redevelopment plan.
There will be a volunteer day on Saturday, Sept. 15, to help with the construction.
•Made the following appointments -- Christina King and  Trent Harris to the Tourism Commission; and Dave Mellett to the Cynthiana-Harrison County-Berry Planning Commission.
•Heard Smith report that Charter Cable/Spectrum will soon have no analog channels. He said residents will have to have a cable box, which will be free for a limited time.
Also, local Cable 6 will move to channel 376.
•Agreed to advertise for a school resource officer. Slade said they have been accepting applications but they are not meeting the qualifications for the position.
•Agreed to post internally for police sergeants.
•Declared several police department weapons as surplus so that they may be traded in for updated models.
•Announced that Trick or Treat will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m.
•Accepted the resignation of Anthony Newby.
•Accepted the bid from Hinkle Contracting for the milling and paving of the Pike Street parking lot. Hinkle was the only bidder and submitted a bid of $49,900.
•Heard Judy report that the city replaced a utility pole on Keyhoe Alley which apparently resulted in a sewage back up at St. Edward School.