The Fleming-Neon City Council voted unanimously to amend the city’s water rate ordinance to raise water rates by eight percent in 2015, followed by a nine percent increase in 2016. After that, rates will increase annually, based on the cost of living index, to provide for a gradual increase in revenue without having to make large increases over longer periods of time.
Engineer Paul Nesbitt said the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority had insisted on the rate increases to allow the city to qualify for a $143,000 planning and design loan for the design of upgrades to the city’s water system, which has had ongoing maintenance issues in the past few years.
Water Department Manager Chris Banks told the council that the city had a 32 percent rate of loss of treated water in October and added that water workers continue to search for leaks. He said plans for rehabilitating the system allow for meters with telemetry connections to city hall and the water plant to allow for instant leak detection. The new meters will also help locate leaks without having to dig up large sections of line.
Nesbitt told the council the overall savings from reducing water losses and making the water and sewer plants function more efficiently could qualify the city to drop the annual rate increases in time. He said the meter telemetry will allow water flow to be monitored at city hall or the water plant and will help to reduce water losses dramatically.
In other business, Councilman James D. Collins suggested the city use Parks and Recreation funds to purchase a digital sign system that is 15 inches high and 66 inches wide to be mounted on the wall at the city park. Collins said the sign, which will cost just over $800, is programmable and can show date, time and temperature or can be used to make announcements. He added that the park is in good shape other than a few seats in swings that will need to be replaced.
Councilman Trey Quillen asked about the cleanup of the old public library, which burned last month. Mayor Susie Polis replied that she has spoken with the Letcher County Library Board to expedite the cleanup, but has had no response. She said the site needs to be cleaned up and is a danger and an eyesore. Quillen said the council had originally hoped to use the lot as a “sit-down park.”
Quillen also mentioned his outrage at people who use handicapped parking spaces even if they are not handicapped and asked Fleming-Neon residents to use their phone cameras to take a picture of offenders to send to the police department.
Santa Claus will be at the city stage at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 13. Mayor Polis said if it rains, the event will move to city hall.