Whitesburg KY

Is this year the last for Neon Days event?

The annual Neon Days Celebration could be nearing the end of a long run of entertaining residents of Fleming-Neon and visitors.

At this week’s June meeting of the Neon City Council, councilman and Neon Days Committee member James D. Collins announced that there will not be a July 4 fireworks celebration this year due to the lack of funds. Then Collins added that the Neon Days Committee, which is one of the principal sponsors of the fireworks, is losing members due to people aging, and this year’s Neon Days Celebration could be the last.

Collins said the Neon Days Committee is actively looking for new members, but is having difficulty finding them. He said that as members age out, they are not being replaced and the committee often finds itself shorthanded. Collins said the committee usually starts meeting in the summer months and if anyone is interested in participating, the committee will start meeting later this summer every Thursday at 7 p.m. at city hall, and invited the public to participate. Interested parties should contact city hall.

“Come to a meeting and help us out,” said Collins.

Neon Days is held in early September as part of a series of celebrations in Letcher County that lead up to the Mountain Heritage Celebration.

In other business, taxpayers in Fleming-Neon will soon have the opportunity to voice their opinion on the possibility of an increase in taxes in their city.

Mayor Susie Polis announced that a public meeting will be held in city hall on June 24 to discuss a possible property tax increase. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. The announcement came at the June meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council.

In past years, the council has been reluctant to raise taxes, but when it set its tax rate for the coming year in October, Polis told the council she wanted to address a tax increase. At that time, the council did not have enough time to conduct the required readings of ordinances and hold a public meeting. Then, at last month’s meeting, Polis said that the public would have the opportunity to weigh in on the issue at a public meeting soon.

The city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019–2020 has an estimated revenue of $277,100.67 against projected expenses of $265,192.04. The water department budget estimates revenue of $418,332 against projected expenses of $402,114. The sewer budget is $268,768 in revenue against $264,800 in expenses. By way of contrast, the City of Jenkins’ budget for the coming fiscal year shows revenue and expenditures equally balanced at $2,047,615.

Although the City of Fleming-Neon assumed control of the water and sewer departments several years ago, both departments still do a separate budget.

Some good news for Fleming-Neon came from Jessica Leedy, a grant writer and administrator with the Kentucky River Area Development District. Leedy said the city is eligible for Title I funding and asked the council to sign a Memorandum of Agreement to acquire a Community Development Block Grant for up to $1 million to fund the work for Phase II of the city’s Water Rehabilitation Project.

Phase II will focus on distribution, including new water lines. Leedy said the next steps will be a CDBG study that will include compliance with federal laws and accounting procedures. The council voted unanimously to participate in the grant. A meeting for public comment on the grant and project will be held at city hall on June 17 at 6 p.m.

In response to a question from Councilman Collins, Mayor Polis said she still hasn’t had a response to letters she sent to the owner of the old Dollar Store in Neon, located across from Carty Funeral Home. Several council members said the building is an eyesore and dangerous to the public. Polis said she will speak to City Attorney Angie Hatton about the possibility of condemning the structure.

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