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Fleming-Neon seeks solution to water woes

Bike club to give treats in Neon

As the Fleming-Neon Water District faces another shortage in the city’s water supply, Water and Sewer Manager Chris Banks said he is considering other options to meet the city’s needs.

At the December meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council, Banks said that the shortages are an annual occurrence in dry periods and he is planning to take a close look at purchasing water from the City of Jenkins and the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to increase the water supply. There are two connection points between city lines and lines belonging to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District and one with Jenkins. Banks said the city is currently purchasing water to cover the shortage, but if the pattern of heavy rains continues, the city wells should recover soon.

Banks told the council that when the city’s water system was built, it was designed to serve about 550 customers, primarily in the core Fleming-Neon area. However, he said that with the addition of customers in Seco, Haymond, McRoberts, and other areas, the city now has around 1,250 customers, and when rainfall is low, it puts a strain on the city’s water supply. The water plant has to operate for longer hours to treat enough water to supply all the customers. Banks said he is looking at the numbers and the possibility of purchasing water from the Jenkins Water District and the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to supply water to customers in Haymond, Seco, and McRoberts.

Banks said if the city can break even or make money by purchasing water to supply the outlying areas, its two wells should be adequate to serve the core area of Neon and Fleming. That will eliminate periodic water shortages and the necessity to run the water plant almost around the clock to produce enough treated water to serve the customers. He said if the city can just run the plant during its regular operating hours, it will save money on electricity, overtime, maintenance, and treatment costs.

“I believe we can still make money,” said Banks. “I think we can do this. We will eliminate water shortages, but we still want to look at the numbers.” Banks said he will have a representative of Nesbitt Engineering, which works with the city on water and sewer matters, at the next meeting and he will have the information he needs to present then.

Banks also said that there is a leak in Fleming that is proving difficult to locate, and that workers located and fixed several other leaks last week. One was losing about 80 gallons a minute and another one was losing a little more. One problem he identified is that city lines run so close to streams the leaks often run into them and that makes the leaks difficult to find.

Also at the meeting this week, the council also voted unanimously to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to accept $76,320 in state funding to resurface and maintain city roads. The council also voted to stay with the current health care plan for employees although the cost will increase by $644 per year, from $5,285 per employee to $5,929. The council discussed a second option which would also have increased cost per employee, but only by about $500. However, it decided the first option provided the best coverage and options for health care to the employees.

Mayor Susie Polis announced that there will be no Christmas Parade this year, however, the Seventh Sons Motorcycle Club will join with the city to help provide treat bags on Friday, December 13. Polis said the group will meet around 4:30 p.m. at City Hall to put the treat bags together and Santa will start handing them out around 5:30 p.m.

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