Taxes were the main topic at the August meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council. City Clerk Janice Banks told the council that the list of delinquent taxes have been sent to The Mountain Eagle and will be published in the paper’s August 17 edition. Banks said the list will include Fleming-Neon residents who are delinquent in paying their taxes dating to 2010. Mayor Susie Polis added that if residents want to have police protection and enjoy other city services, they have to pay their taxes.
The council agreed to wait and see how the publication of delinquent taxpayers works before looking at the next step, which could be the sale of taxes to third party purchasers. Several council members remarked that the City of Jenkins had published its list of delinquent taxes to be be sold in last week’s Mountain Eagle, and Councilman Tom Haynes said there are some businesses in the city that have never paid their taxes.
In other tax-related business, the council voted to leave the existing tax rates in place for the coming year. Mayor Polis said that tax rates in surrounding cities are a good deal higher than those in Fleming-Neon, adding that if the council is forced to raise taxes at a later date, it will only affect the people who actually pay their taxes. Councilman James D. Collins said the regular taxpayers subsidize the ones who don’t pay.
The current rate is $.25 per $100 on real property; $.45 per $100 for tangible property; and $.25 per $100 for vehicles. Polis also mentioned dilapidated properties that have unpaid taxes, and said she had recently been approached by a citizen who expressed an interest in one if the city would seize it for nonpayment. However, Polis said that the condemnation process is expensive and at this time the city can’t afford it.
“We did it once,” said Polis. “And we had to eat it.” She went on to joke that the city can’t afford “any food” now.
Council member Linda Cantrell made the motion to keep tax rates at the current rate and Councilman Haynes seconded, adding that if people would pay their back taxes, the council wouldn’t have to consider raising them. Polis agreed, saying, “We’ll see what this (publication) does, and then take the next step.” Banks told the council it had cost the city about $220 to publish the list.
Ken Reid of Nesbitt Engineering told the council that construction on the interconnecting water line from Jenkins to Grays Branch in Haymond will begin within two weeks and estimated that the line will carry water by the first of the year. Reid said that once the line is up and running, the City of Jenkins will be able to supply water to Fleming- Neon customers as far as the city sewer plant in the case of an emergency.
Water Manager Chris Banks told the council that he had no problems or issues to report, and that he had no water loss report for July due to a computer glitch. There was also no police report, in the absence of Police Chief Mike Dingus. Councilman James D. Collins announced that Neon Days will be held on September 9 and 10. Collins also called attention to high weeds and kudzu on Henry Hutton Street.