Whitesburg KY

Neon council moving ahead with trail plan

The Fleming-Neon City Council has taken the next step to begin developing trailheads in the city limits to tap into ATV trails around the city and throughout the county.

City Attorney James Wiley Craft II presented a draft proposal to the council at its September meeting which he said will start the ball rolling. However, Craft cautioned that it will take time to get all the agreements in place. He said the city will have to do inter-local agreements with the county and obtain a number of authorizations with landowners and make other necessary arrangements before the final product is ready for approval. The agreement was discussed, but no action was taken nor was it recommended by Craft. He will continue to revise the agreement and work on obtaining the necessary agreements.

The council also voted unanimously to hire former Jenkins police chief and current Letcher County Sheriff ‘s Deputy Mike Dingus as police chief. Dingus will replace Henry Day, who resigned last week after several years of service to the city. Dingus grew up in Neon and he was graduated from Fleming-Neon High School.

In other business, Tom Childers of CS&W Insurance in Whitesburg provided the council with renewal plans for health insurance for city employees and said the insurance costs for the same plan for the next year would go up by $13,000. Childers said the cost of health care is one area that really needs to be addressed, but added that the current policy is the least expensive he has to offer at this time. He said he hasn’t received updated quotes from Humana but when he gets them he will pass them on to the council.

Childers also told the council that there are other ways to lower costs, but said the city may not want to pursue them. He said the council can institute a $2,500 deductible that will bring costs for next year below the current costs or it can also increase the employee cost for doctor visits and take other measures that would pass more cost to the employees. The council agreed to take no action until the city sees the Humana offer. The council will also have to discuss the insurance with the City Water Board because Water Department employees are also covered on the plan.

In the utilities report, Water and Sewer Superintendent Carlos Phillips told the council that the city’s water supply is in good shape thanks to plentiful rain but that he will start checking each well more closely and will also start running the auxiliary well during the day to make sure there will be an adequate water supply in the event of a winter dry spell. The auxiliary well fills more rapidly than the main well which depends on seepage from rainfall.

Council Member James D. Collins pointed to a 35 percent water loss and Phillips replied that workers spend as much time as possible looking for leaks but have been relatively busy with maintenance on both plants. Phillips said there have been lots of repairs at the water plant and work crews had to repair two service lines and a two inch line damaged during state dredging operations on creeks in Haymond. He said the state will be in the Neon area to conduct dredging operations soon where there are many more creek crossings with water lines.

City Attorney Craft said the final agreements for the Haymond Sewer Project are signed and the work is ready to go to bid. In reply to a question from Collins, Phillips said the sewer lift station renovation near the Marathon Station will start as soon as funding is fully in place.

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