Delinquent taxpayers in the City of Fleming-Neon will soon be able to see their names and the amount of property taxes they owe to the city published in The Mountain Eagle. At a special called meeting on July 12, the city council voted unanimously to prepare a list of delinquent property taxes for publication. This will be the first step in collecting back taxes, which has been an ongoing problem in the city. The council also discussed other options, including selling the delinquent taxes to a third party for collection. However, council members decided to try the publication route first in hope that seeing their delinquent taxes in the newspaper would spur taxpayers to pay their property taxes.
City Clerk Janice Banks told the council that the city usually averages about $7,000 a year in taxes that go unpaid, and she said that many of the people who do not pay can afford to pay them. Mayor Susie Polis said that tax revenue is vital for the city in order to pay expenses for the police department and to pay the salaries of city workers, and Mike Dingus Sr. told the council that the water department has a similar problem with delinquent bills.
Councilman James D. Collins asked Polis about the possibility of having a tax amnesty, where penalties are forgiven if taxpayers catch up their taxes, but Banks said that the last time they had done that, very few people took advantage of the amnesty. Banks also said that although delinquent taxpayers had an opportunity to make payments to catch up on their back taxes last year, only two had done so.
In other business, the council voted unanimously to pass a resolution to accept the the Federal Emergency Management Agency five-year Hazard Mitigation Plan. This allows the FEMA Plan to be the official Hazard Mitigation Plan for the city and makes the city eligible for funding from FEMA for damage done by natural and other disasters. The vote to pass the resolution was unanimous.
The council also voted unanimously to adopt a resolution to allow the city to apply for a Kentucky Infrastructure Authority loan of up to $1.5 million in order to refurbish the city water and sewer systems. Angela Smith Hall, Community Resources Planner with the Kentucky River Area Development District, told the council that KIA has asked that the city apply for the entire amount necessary to do the work rather than applying in phases.
Mayor Polis also welcomed Officer Alan Bormes back to the Fleming-Neon Police Department. Bormes has served as a police officer for the city before.
The council regretfully accepted the resignation of City Attorney Jimmy Craft, who resigned to accept the appointment to fill the position of Letcher County Circuit Judge until the next election. Craft has served as city attorney for several terms and in his resignation letter, he expressed his pride in serving the city. Polis and the council said they regret losing Craft as city attorney. Polis said she will ask Craft for advice on hiring a new city attorney.