Whitesburg KY

Neon fears water from Dawahare’s building

Fleming-Neon officials fear that water coming from under the old Dawahare’s Department Store building in Neon could go from a nuisance to a truly dangerous situation as temperatures drop.

Mayor Susie Polis expressed her frustration by telling the Fleming- Neon City Council at its October meeting this week, “I throw my hands up on the Dawahare’s building.”

Polis said before she introduces any possible action she wants to have the building and the source of the water carefully examined, but time could be growing short before the water that runs across Kentucky Highway 805, the city’s main street, freezes and creates a hazard for drivers.

“We have to get the water off the street before winter,” said Polis.

Councilman Robert Champion said the city might want to consider the building’s status under the Blighted and Deteriorated Property Ordinance. Champion mentioned several other structures in the city limits that should be considered blighted properties as well. Champion said one problem with some of the buildings is that the people who own them do not live in the city and have little contact with or interest in their property.

In other business, the council learned that a Community Development Block Grant application has been filed by Nesbitt Engineering for improvements to the city’s water and sewer system. Sandra Dunahoo of Nesbitt said Fleming- Neon’s application package is one of 20 filed during this round of funding, and that there will not be enough funds available to fund all the applications. She said the applications will be ranked, one, two and three and the projects in the “one” category will almost certainly be funded while the ones in the “three” category will probably not receive funding in this cycle.

Dunahoo said if Fleming Neon’s package is not funded this round, the city can reapply during the next funding cycle while still being able to seek funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Agency. She also told the council not to worry if the city is not funded in the current round of CDBG funding because not only are there more proposals than available funding, but sometimes it is necessary to tweak proposals and resubmit them.

“CDBGs can take more than once,” said Donahoo. “We can do the ARC/RD this fall if Fleming-Neon isn’t funded.”

Water Superintendent Chris Banks reported that water losses for the month of September are down to 17 percent. He praised members of his crew for their hard work and attention to detail in getting the leaks under control. Banks said he is working with a representative of Consolidated Pipe on rehabilitating fire hydrants through the city and said progress is slow but sure. Banks said that surveying, repairing and degreasing hydrants is a slow process but it is moving forward at a steady pace.

Mayor Polis also told the council she has been informed that the price for coverage through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the city’s provider for health insurance for employees, will only go up by 11 percent. Polis said the cost to the city will be $2,331.85 per employee and told council members they are free to reject the offer and look at other providers. The council voted unanimously to approve the current plan.

Councilman James D. Collins told the council that the city’s Halloween “safe night” will be held October 31 at the City Stage area from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Polis also said the council is invited to attend the opening of the computer station at the new Fleming- Neon Public Library on Friday at 11 a.m.

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