Whitesburg KY
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Neon puts owners of ‘eyesore’ on notice

A long-standing dispute between the Fleming-Neon City Council and East Letcher Ministries could be resolved soon, and an eyesore and “breeding ground for rats” could be removed from the city.

At its October meeting, the council voted to implement an existing ordinance which calls for a fine of up to $500 a day to an individual or company responsible for allowing property to become a “nuisance.”

The council voted unanimously Monday to instruct Police Chief Henry Day to deliver a copy of the ordinance to East Letcher Ministries along with a letter giving the organization 15 days to clean up the mess before fines are levied. Council members said the problem with East Letcher Ministries has been ongoing since the organization moved into the old A&P building and began accumulating a wide variety of goods for distribution to needy people.

Council member Cheryl Furby brought the matter up, saying the problem has gotten worse lately. Council member Karen Hall said ELM has begun to accept old mattresses at the site. She fears they will become a breeding ground for rats.

After some discussion about asking City Attorney James W. Craft II to write a new ordinance, City Clerk Janice Banks produced a copy of the city’s already-existing nuisance ordinance and the council voted to pro ceed with enforcement actions.

In other business, the council voted to ask paving contractors for an estimate for paving Church Street. Mayor Suzie Polis said the council would have to make certain there is enough money left to finish work on Fairview Street after other repairs have been completed. Contractor Don Ison, who conducted an estimate on Fairview, told the council that two places where the road has been washed out will have to be reinforced. Neon resident Marshall Bevins told the council the road was once considerably wider and has shrunk because of encroachment from the hillside. Bevins said the city should own enough land on both sides of the road to do the work. However, Mayor Polis said she would make certain.

Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips told the council that water losses are holding steady at 33 percent. Phillips said water crews have done everything they can to find and repair leaks but the losses continue. He also told the council the city’s water supply is holding up well despite the drought. Phillips said the city’s auxiliary well is used during the day and the main well is used at night. He said that by morning the auxiliary well is full to overflowing again. Phillips reminded citizens that water conservation is very important and for the time being, no car washing or other unnecessary uses of water are allowed.

Police Chief Day told the council that at present, he doesn’t have any applications for parttime officers and no prospect of hiring an officer from a neighboring city to work part time. Council members discussed several possibilities but Day said they would still have to complete mandatory training and have background checks conducted on applicants.

The council voted to set a city business tax rate of $320 per year for a coal mine which will conduct operations within city limits and to set a rate of $150 per year for a training school for underground and surface mine certification. Mayor Polis asked City Clerk Banks to look into other cities’ tax rates for personal watercraft and airplanes in order to set rates for 2008.

Council member Robert Champion told the council he has received several complaints about streetlights which don’t work. Mayor Polis said the city has to contact Appalachian Electric Power in order to get the lamps fixed and asked that citizens call 855-7900 to report a light which is not working. Polis asked that callers provide the number of the lamp pole which is stamped on a metal tag on the pole. The council also discussed repairing a bridge at East Potter and a sidewalk in Fleming. There were a number of questions as to whether the city or state road department is responsible for repairing bridges. Mayor Polis asked City Clerk Banks to look into the matter.

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