Fleming-Neon city employees will receive a three-percent pay increase when the city’s budget for fiscal year 2017-18 is adopted into law.
The pay hike was suggested by Councilman James D. Collins after Mayor Suzie Polis conducted the first reading of the city’s new budget as well as the 2017-18 budget for the Fleming-Neon Water Company. The budget shows revenue of $274,546.98 against expenses of $270,433.01.
Councilman Tom Haynes said the raise would not exceed the amount the city had over expenses and moved that the council approve it. The vote was unanimous and the wage increase will be reflected in the second reading at the council’s next meeting.
The Fleming-Neon Water Company budget is divided into water and sewer expenses and income. The water budget shows revenue of $397,500 against expenses of $396,100. The sewer budget has revenue of $273,800 and expenses of $272,313.
In other business, the council learned that construction will begin soon on upgrades at the Fleming Neon Water Treatment Plant and will last for a year. Ken Reid of Nesbitt Engineering said the one-year contract for the initial rebuild of the water plant will be executed soon and he said he expects the contractor, Smith Contracting of Lawrenceburg, to begin work as soon as bonds are settled. The actual signing of the contract with Kentucky Infrastructure Authority will take place Wednesday, May 24. Reid said Smith Contracting has a lot of early work to do and a lot of things to order. The council voted unanimously to enter into the funding agreement with KIA.
Reid also told the council that the contractors have said they will work with the city to make sure that any time water production will be off line in a planned shutdown, there will be enough water in city tanks to carry the city through during the outage. He added that the newly completed Jenkins Interconnect at Haymond will allow the City of Jenkins to supply water up to the Martha Jane Potter School and the Letcher County Water and Sewer District can also supply treated water from connections it has with city lines as well.
Council member Cheryl Furby said the city needs a way to notify water customers if there will be outages so it will be certain to alert everyone possible. Mayor Susie Polis told Furby that the county’s all-call system is no longer functioning, but added that the city will work with the water company to see that customers are notified.
Following a lot of hard work by city and water department workers on detecting and repairing water line leaks, water losses have improved considerably. Water losses for April were 14 percent, with 12 percent for March.
The council also voted unanimously to approve the Road Aid Agreement with the Kentucky Department of Transportation for $15,213.20. Three percent of that amount will be held in reserve as an emergency fund and the city will have $14,757 for roadwork. City Clerk Janice Banks told the council the amount is slightly higher than it was last year.
In a related matter, Police Chief Mike Dingus reported that the “Click-it or Ticket” campaign will run from May 22 through June 4 and a Border to Border road check will be held during the Memorial Day holiday at the Kentucky/Virginia state line.
Mayor Polis also told the council that in light of the recent death of Councilman Jeff Breeding, she had approached his widow Ruby Breeding and his brother Jimbo Breeding to see if either was interested in filling his seat for his unexpired term, but both had declined her offer. Polis said that Joe King of Fleming had expressed his willingness to take over the seat and the vote to approve his selection was unanimous.
Polis also told the council that Mark and Joanna Hardin have leased the lot where the old Fleming- Neon Library was located before it was demolished by the Letcher County Library Board as part of a lot-for-lot exchange that allowed for the construction of the new Fleming-Neon Public Library. Polis said the Hardins intend to build a restaurant there that will serve a variety of food and will be called Pearly Joe’s. She said this will be the second recent new business in town, since King’s Body Shop moved into the vacant Ashland Oil station on Main Street.