Whitesburg KY

Pay now or pay later, Neon tells sewer customers

The new Haymond Sewer Project is about 10 percent complete and, according to project engineer Ken Taylor of Kenvirons, about 75 percent or slightly more of the potential customers have signed up. Kenvirons is a Lexington engineering company working with the city on water and sewer projects.

Taylor told the Fleming-Neon City Council at its April meeting that things are going very well with the construction and said most residents of the Haymond area have been enthusiastic about the new service. He said customers who go ahead and sign up for sewer service while construction is underway will have their tap fee waived, while those who wait until a later date will have to pay the full amount, which he estimated to be $3,000.

Taylor said there are a few who have said they have no interest in using the sewer service and several council members expressed their hopes that the entire community would eventually make the connection to city sewer service. Several voiced cautionary notes to those who don’t, particularly to those who plan to continue to use straight pipes and dump untreated sewage into streams and creeks.

A continuing problem with straight sewage pipes was raised by Taylor and several council members said that under the county ordinance, straight pipes are illegal. Others mentioned a second clause stating that if a resident has a septic system that becomes non-functional and sewer service is available, the resident is required by law to have a sewer hookup made rather than repairing the system. Everyone agreed that the smart thing would be to go ahead and get service now, while the sign-up fee is waived rather than waiting and either find themselves in violation of the law or have to pay a large hook-up fee.

“We are aware that some who haven’t signed up have straight pipes,” said Taylor. “If I was their neighbor, I would call the health department.”

Council member Cheryl Furby told the council one of her colleagues at Letcher County Central High School who lives in Haymond told her he badly needed sewer service but he hadn’t been aware it was available. Furby said this was amazing since the news had been in newspapers and broadcast on the radio, as well as being posted in City Hall. She suggested sending potential customers a card or letter to make sure they know sewer service is available.

Councilman James D. Collins asked if anyone knew the fine for a straight pipe and Fleming-Neon Police Chief Mike Dingus said that straight pipes violate state law as well as the county ordinance.

Mayor Susie Polis told the council her sister lives in the new service area and had been very excited to see the construction equipment show up. She said a number of Haymond residents expressed similar feelings about the new service and were very happy to see the work beginning.

“Most people who have already signed up really want the service,” said Polis.

In other business, Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips reported that both city wells are doing very well even with low precipitation in the last few weeks. He said the water loss rate of approximately 31 percent will be positively affected since water department workers found and repaired two large leaks. Phillips said the leaks each averaged about 30 gallons per minute and added that the biggest problem is finding leaks in order to repair them.

“We’ll fix them when we can find them,” said Phillips.

Phillips told the council the water plant is in good shape and mostly routine maintenance has been done in the past month. However, he added that the sewer plant’s sand filters had frozen up during the cold weather and a speed reducer had failed during the freeze. The sand filtration system is not designed for extreme cold temperatures like those the county experienced in January and February.

In other council business:

• The council conducted the final vote on raises for the mayor and council. The mayor’s salary was raised to $7,580 per year and council members will receive $500 per year. The raises will go into effect for the next council term and do not apply to the present mayor or council. The vote was four to zero with Tom Haynes abstaining. Trey Quillen did not attend the meeting.

• At the mayor’s request, the council voted unanimously to reappoint Tom Boggs of Whitaker to the Water Board for another term as commissioner.

• The council voted unanimously to purchase an eight-foot-long bench made of recycled plastic for the city-owned area on the city side of the park bridge area, and to have Tim Hall’s and Darrell Wright’s names engraved into slats on the bench. Hall was very active in the city and was a member of the Neon Days Committee when he died after performing in a skit during the 2007 Neon Days Festival. Wright was a council member for two terms before his death in 2008.

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