Radio personality Brian O’Brien with The Big One 106.3 WRIL attended the most recent Middlesboro City Council meeting to address concerns his listeners had reached out to him about.
O’Brien said he had three questions for the council, all of which had been asked of him by local citizens.
The first issue brought up by O’Brien was the state of disrepair at the skating area next to the city pool. O’Brien said citizens were concerned with the poor condition of the area and would like to see something done with it, whether it be done with city funding, if it was available, or perhaps through some type of community involvement.
Parks and Recreation chairperson Kevin Barnett said he would look into the matter.
The next issue brought up by O’Brien concerned the new trash cans and the public’s perception that the new cans were the cause of increased fees associated with garbage disposal.
Mayor Bill Kelley addressed the issue, assuring people the rate increase had nothing to do with the new cans.
“Let me clear that up,” said Kelley. “The charge for garbage has nothing to do with your can at all.”
The mayor went on to explain the reason for the change was that the sanitation department had been losing money for several years.
“The charge went up, because for the last nine years we’ve been losing money in sanitation,” said Kelley. “It was raised to meet the expenditures.”
The mayor went on to say the company had put the money into the can, so they actually own them and put serial numbers on them. If people take it and leave, the company will charge them a fee.
According to the mayor, the company will help you maintain everything with the receptacle because they understand it is a long-term investment. The company will also replace it one time throughout the years.
Kelley also pointed out the rates are still the lowest in the area.
“We are still the lowest in any of the 15 counties in eastern and southern Kentucky that we checked,” said Kelley. “They’re averaging anywhere from $17 to $20 and we are at $11.50.”
O’Brien’s final question was about the smoking ban —a topic he referred to as a ‘sore subject.’
O’Brien asked if the correct date the ban went into effect was the 24th of this month and the mayor and council members agreed that was the correct date.
The mayor went on to detail what the smoking ban entailed to ensure everyone would be in compliance.
“That entails no smoking in any public buildings whatsoever and for public we mean private owned businesses also,” said Kelley. “Any (building) the public is allowed into.”
The mayor also clarified the smoke-free distance around the business is 25 feet.
“No smoking within 25 feet of the front entrance,” said Kelley. “That’s not saying you can at the back entrance if the owner of the business wants to put you something outside. It can’t be within 25 feet.”
Any type of childcare facility is included in that ban as well.
“Anyone else that has childcare, as far as a day care center or anything licensed, that is not allowed,” said Kelley.
No other citizens spoke at the meeting.
Reach Reina P. Cunningham at 606-302-9091 or on Twitter @ReinaDailyNews.