During a regular scheduled meeting, the Elkhorn City council voted unanimously after second readings, to approve budgets for the water district in the amount of $263,250, the sewer department in the amount of $275,000 and the city budget in the amount of $482,650.
After the vote, Darrell Maynard with Eastern Telephone addressed the council regarding the city pursuing a grant for the installation of broadband in the city.
“The city had pursued a $8,000 grant last year, paying $2,000 to go with it and paid a company out of Maryland, who charged half price, to do an economic development grant for the city,” Maynard said. “The good news about that grant last year was that the grant was not denied. It was just turned down because it ran out of funds.”
Maynard said the agency was at the end of their funding cycle and they had simply ran out of funds. Maynard went on to explain that the city’s grant application needs to be refreshed or updated.
“The grant application could be used in several different buckets now,” Maynard said. “That’s because there is a lot of broadband funding available now in various forms.”
Maynard did advise the council on some things they were lacking in the pursuit of Broadband funding.
“From my experience, the City of Elkhorn is lacking a coordinated effort internally in the city,” Maynard said. “You will not be able to get broadband here unless you all get more organized.”
“My suggestion for you all is to put a broadband board or committee together,” Maynard said. “Every city, every community that I have been involved with has created a broadband board or committee of four or five people that are tasked with finding a direction to bring broadband into their community.”
Maynard encouraged the council that once they have selected a broadband board, the board should look into creating some kind of private/public strategy.
Maynard agreed to provide the council with a broadband ordinance template and other materials to assist the city in preparing to pursue several avenues of funding to hopefully bring broadband to Elkhorn City.
In another project brought before the council, Roger Ford, president of Eureka Energy Corporation, requested the council to consider submitting a request for a grant application and provide a summary of a workforce training facility that Eureka Energy Corporation is interested in constructing in Elkhorn City.
“There is an opportunity for us to apply for a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funding for such a workforce training facility,” Ford said. “They have this down to zip codes and Elkhorn City in one of the zip codes.
“The grant is specifically for retraining of coal miners,” Ford explained. “$10 million has been allocated which will be available up to $2 million per grant so if they do the maximum that will be five grants.”
Ford told the council that his company would provide the backing for the match for the grant. The only thing the city had to do is apply for the grant as the applicant.
“There will be no cost to the city and Eureka has its own in-house grant writer,” Ford said. “The grant proposal is to locate a national training center here in Elkhorn City.”
Ford explained that once the facility is operational, it would serve to retrain coal miners not only from Kentucky but Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee.
“Basically, we would construct a facility for the gasification of biomass for a renewable natural gas (RNG) and or hydrogen end product,” Ford said. “This would also pertain to the conversion of RNG and or hydrogen to a synthesis liquid fuel product and we will implement all educational and training components necessary to retrain or train coal miners.”
The council set a special called meeting for July 15 for the reading of the motion for the grant application process to begin on the proposed project.
Another pressing issue brought before the council pertained to ambulance service availability in Elkhorn City.
Debbie Hunt, administrator at Landmark nursing home explained some of the issues regarding ambulance service to the nursing home and community.
“We have 90 residents and what we have experienced with Lifeguard is that we confirm appointments that various medical professionals make for our residents with the service,” Hunt said. “They guarantee us that time then they call in and then cancel the appointments to transport our residents to their appointments causing us to have to reschedule with the medical provider and now the doctors are getting very frustrated with us because their patients are unable to get there.
“We have met with Lifeguard officials to discuss this problem,” Hunt said. “But the situation persists and we are now backed up into August trying to get our residents to their appointments.”
Hunt explained that outside of the two dialysis patients at the facility, they can only schedule appointments for the rest of the residents on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
“But that doesn't mean that they are coming,” Hunt said.
Elkhorn City Mayor Mike Taylor and members of the council vowed to look into the situation and try to find a solution to the issue. However, no decision was made during the meeting.