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Neon will sell tax bills

Those who refuse to pay city taxes in the City of Fleming-Neon will soon have the opportunity to see their taxes sold on the steps of City Hall to companies that specialize in buying up back taxes and charge exorbitant fees while collecting them for things such as “processing” and “legal fees.” Mayor Susie Polis and the Fleming-Neon City Council all expressed outrage upon learning that approximately $60,000 in outstanding taxes is on the books and Polis told the council she is determined to collect them, or else.

“We will pursue selling back taxes like the county and will also follow other avenues of collection such as litigation,” said Polis.

Council member Cheryl Furby added, “If people owe so much they can’t pay the entire amount at once the city will work with them to allow them to pay their taxes gradually, as we have done in the past.” Furby said the city will not be able to offer amnesty on back taxes as they did several years ago because it can only be offered once every seven years.

“We want positive things to happen for our city,” said council member Trey Quillen. “It isn’t right to allow some people to simply decide not to pay taxes. We could do a lot for our town with what is owed in back taxes.”

Polis added she will also instruct Police Chief Henry Day to begin visiting businesses within the city to determine if they have purchased a business license for 2009 and if not, they will be cited and fined. She said she will also instruct Day and other officers on the police force to pull over itinerant vendors such as Capitol Meats and others for the same purpose and ticket them if they do not have a license. Peddlers selling steak knives and other items on the street will be subject to peddler’s licenses as well.

In other business, the city is running out of options on land on which to locate the Tim Hall Memorial Park. Polis told the council that no suitable land is available for the park in Fleming as had been originally planned, but James D. Collins suggested that if it is approved by Hall’s widow, former council member Karen Hall, they might take up part of the blacktop surrounding the current city park and expand it and add new playground equipment if the fiscal court OK’ s it.

Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips told the council that water losses are up slightly to 36 percent but added that the period covered by this month’s report is also longer than a normal month. Phillips said the water level in the main well is gaining steadily and the water department continues to use the auxiliary well to allow the main well to continue its gains. He said a normal amount of precipitation and particularly snow, which allows run-off to soak into the ground, has been responsible for the gains in the main well.

Phillips added that testing results for city water are on file in the water plant and show no contamination from mining activity or gas well drilling in the area. He said he is concerned about gas drilling activity to break rock to allow gas to be taken from the ground because it could also break the aquifer and allow the city’s water supply to drain out. He said that one well being put in at Shays Fork in McRoberts is perilously close to the city’s water supply.

In other council matters:

. The council voted unanimously to add Tom Haynes to the council to fill the seat vacated by Karen Hall’s resignation.

. The council voted to extend the term of Marshall Bevins on the water board for another term and to add former council member Karen Hall to replace Clarence Roy, who said he did not wish to serve another term.

. The council also began the process of looking for ethics board members.

. Certified Public Accountant Lawton Ray Allen of Minnie presented the city audit for the year ending June 30, 2006. He said the city is in good shape and he should have the audit for the year ending June 30, 2007 by the next meeting. The city ended the 2006 fiscal year with a net worth of $10,268,505 and net assets of $8,808,345.

. Police Chief Day reported receiving five applications to replace part-time officer Kevin Fields.

. The city’s PRIDE cleanup will take place April 18 with April 25 held as a rain day.

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