Whitesburg KY

Neon residents must carry trash to road

The City of Fleming- Neon will join the Letcher County Sanitation Department in asking that people who live on long private drives either bring their garbage to a place at the end of their driveway or make other arrangements for their garbage to be picked up.

At the February meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council, sanitation worker Jake Johnson asked the council to send letters or use other means to contact several customers to inform homeowners and businesses that for safety reasons, sanitation workers will no longer try to take their vehicles to individual houses on long private roads. Johnson said that most of the houses in question are not on city-maintained roads, and some are not even in the city limits. He said the long narrow roads are often unpaved and the ice or mud makes them hazardous.

Johnson said he had asked several people at the houses to bring their garbage to the end of their lane, but got little cooperation. He said some had made negative comments and others had just ignored him. He said one house on Haymond Hill is not even in the city limits. Mayor Susie Polis said the city does pick up on the Fleming side of Haymond Hill even though it is not in the corporate limits.

Councilman Tom Haynes told Johnson his main concern is for the safety of the sanitation workers. Haynes and Councilman James D. Collins both suggested having the mayor send a letter to the customers in question, but said it is important to look after the safety of the workers first. Haynes also said city workers aren’t supposed to go down private drives anyway.

Haynes also asked if the council would be interested in pursuing a grant from the Kentucky League of Cities for safety equipment. Mayor Polis said she is aware of the grant because it is available because KLC is the carrier for the city’s workman’s compensation insurance. She said the grant is restricted to safety equipment marked WC on the list of available activities and council member Cheryl Furbie pointed out several items that may benefit city workers.

Haynes added that some of the other available things could benefit water department workers as well and suggested speaking to the water department to see if it would like to participate. The grant is for $ 15,000 and requires a one-to-one match of $15,000, making a total of $30,000 available for safety equipment. Among the items eligible under the restrictions on the grant are trench boxes, pre-constructed structures to put into trenches for workers working on pipelines to prevent the trench walls from collapsing, and traffic cones and signs warning motorists about ongoing work. Other items include safety vests, gloves for handling electrical lines, first aid kits, and a number of other safety items. The council voted unanimously to pursue the grant.

The council voted unanimously to ask American Electric Power to turn off streetlights in the city that do not serve a public function or serve no function at all other than to light empty space. Cheryl Furby presented the results of a study she has conducted and said that 15 light poles are either unnumbered or have the wrong number on them, and 12 lights are either on private property and serve no public function or serve only to light empty lots or places where little or no public activity takes place.

Furby said AEP had sent her a series of maps with red dots representing existing lights and the wattage of each, but it had no means of identifying the poles where the lights are. She said when she contacted an AEP representative she has worked with, she was told vandals had taken the tags with the pole numbers and they hadn’t been replaced. Furby said AEP had taken two lights it had been unable to locate off the list as well.

Councilman Robert Champion said if the city is paying for the lights, then the electric company should have the correct information on the map and the bills. City Clerk Janice Banks said the lights average costing the city about $9 per month each and the monthly payment for all the city’s lights is just under $1,500.

“We are paying for poles we shouldn’t be paying for,” said Susie Polis.

Polis said maintenance of the lights is the responsibility of AEP, but that when a light goes out, it has to be reported by a city official and a work order has to be made. She said the electric company will give people who have the lights in question on their own property the option of transferring the cost to their own electric bill before turning them off. Councilman Collins said that however the city approaches it, it should tell AEP to stop billing the city for lights that cannot be located or identified.

In the absence of both Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips and Police Chief Mike Dingus, neither the Utilities Report nor Police Report was received. The council voted to table the Utilities Report.

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