Whitesburg KY

Neon council hears of drug arrests

Incidents of serious crime are up in Fleming-Neon. At the July meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council, Police Officer Adam Swindall reported that the police department has made 34 arrests for the month, including several for manufacturing methamphetamine. Swindall gave the Police Report in the absence of Chief Mike Dingus, who is on vacation.

In other city business, Water Department Manager Chris Banks told the council that water losses for the previous month stood at 22 percent and said that a pump at the sewer lift station behind the Marathon Station near Neon Junction will need to be replaced. Banks said that it will cost $3,600 to rebuild the unit and $6,000 for a new one. However, he added that the water commission agreed that a new pump, with a one-year warranty, will serve the city better than a rebuilt one with a 30-day warranty.

Banks told the council there have been problems with the pump because the lift station is oversized. He said that it was built that way in order to mask the real problem of I&I, inflow and infiltration of rainwater and creek water into city sewer lines, which usually occurs through damaged or broken pipes, and added that the size of the station represents overkill.

Mayor Susie Polis told Banks, “If you need it, you need it,” in regard to a new pump and the council voted unanimously to approve the request and the utility report. Banks said he plans to put back money for three months before purchasing the pump.

Ken Reid of Nesbitt Engineering, which is working with the city on water and sewer issues, told the council that plans for the design phase to rebuild the city water plant have gone to the Kentucky Division of Water

(DOW). He said that engineers are now working on HVAC for the plant and several other things that are of less interest to the DOW.

Councilman James D. Collins reported on progress on the Tim Hall Stage at the city park, and said everything is going very well. The electrical and sound systems are almost finished and Collins said he is looking at a sign that will measure four feet by six feet that will name the stage for Hall. Collins added that the contractor will put a new indoor/outdoor carpet on stage, which holds up well for outdoor use. The stage as well as a city sculpture by Kentucky Heritage Artist Doug Adams will be dedicated during Neon Days.

Mayor Susie Polis said she has tried to get with Letcher County Library Board member Jeanette Ladd to discuss cleaning up the site of the old Fleming-Neon Library, which burned last November. However, Ladd is out of town and Polis said she hasn’t been able to contact her. Polis said she wants to know when the property is going to be cleaned up and added that her patience is wearing thin. She said it must be done before Neon Days and that she will hold the Library Board to a deadline of August 31.

Councilman Tom Haynes said that in his opinion, the council has given the board every opportunity to live up to its agreement for an empty lot for an empty lot. The lot the city turned over to the library board now houses the new city library and Haynes said the council has “bent over backward” to be patient. Council member Linda Cantrell added that people are starting to throw garbage in the rubble of the old site and that she wants to see it cleaned out before Neon Days as well.

“Somebody already tore it down for them,” said Councilman Rick Breeding, in reference to a fire that burned the building that housed the old library.

“All we can do is stay on it,” said Polis. “And try to get it done. We need to set a deadline for the last day of August.”

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