Whitesburg KY

Water suddenly plentiful in community of Fleming

Less than a year after worrying their town might not have enough water, Fleming-Neon officials now concerned they might have too much.

A new source of water has shown up in the Fleming community, but no one knows from where it’s coming.

At the April meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council this week, member Cheryl Furby reported that a sizable stream of water appears and disappears mysteriously near her home. Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips told Furby that while he knows the water isn’t coming from city sources, he isn’t certain from where it is coming.

Furby told the council that the water comes up in a neighbor’s yard and nearly floods her home when it runs. She said she has already used up several sump pumps and recently walked up the hillside near her home to put testing dye in a stream to try to determine the source, all to no avail. She said the water also has a strong odor like sewage sometimes and at other times it has no odor at all. So far, there are no answers as to the origins of the water.

In other business, the council voted to seat a new Ethics Board. The board replaces the former one which had trouble getting quorums for meetings. Steve Peake, Barbara Holland, Evan “Ivan” Hall, Michelle Wright, and Jerry Hall were all voted in on Monday evening. The board had a short meeting to discuss information about their jobs provided by City Clerk Janice Banks and to draw straws to set staggered terms. Board meetings will be held in City Hall annually on April 13 and at other times as needed.

Water Superintendent Phillips told the council that water losses are inexplicably down and production of treated water is down as well. Phillips said the water plant did not produce as much treated water in March as in past months but he said he expects people just didn’t use as much water and no problems exist at the plant. Phillips said the reduced water losses are difficult to pinpoint and the lower water loss in March is not the result of anything he can find. He said no major leaks have been found.

Phillips told council member Furby that except for leaks, every other water flow source in the water plant is metered and meters are read regularly. He said the master meter determines how much water is produced and various other meters tell how much water is used in each application and how much is sold. The only other exception is water used for backwashing filters to remove debris but he said the amount is fairly constant at around 10,000 gallons and backwashing has gone pretty much as usual. Phillips also reported that both city water sources are in good shape and that recent rains have made for plenty of water in each one.

The council also discussed possible solutions for widening a road on Swift Street to allow for the passage of city vehicles as well as fire trucks and ambulances. Mayor Susie Polis told the council she had discussed the matter with County Surveyor Richard Hall, who inspected the road. She said that Hall said the city has a 10-foot right of way on each side of the center line of the street but that on one side, the right of way, along with part of the street, has dropped off in a steep decline.

Council member Trey Quillen said it would take a good deal of fill material to make the street wide enough if the council goes the route of filling in the downside of the slope and said the road will need to be at least 12 feet wide to accommodate fire trucks and the city garbage truck. Quillen works with the Fleming Neon Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service.

In other council business:

• The council voted to split the cost of fireworks for the city’s Independence Day Celebration with the Fleming-Neon Volunteer Fire Department and the Neon Days Committee. The cost is expected to be approximately $500 each.

• Council member James D. Collins reminded other members that the 2010 census will be conducted soon and stressed the importance of every citizen being counted. Collins said state and federal funding for the city is determined by census numbers and asked that everyone cooperate with census takers. Collins also said that census takers should have identification to show that they are really working for the Census Bureau.

• The council voted to conduct a workshop for next year’s city budget. The workshop will be held in City Hall on Monday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m.

• Mayor Polis reported that a city welcome sign put up by a group of citizens several years ago was blown down and the supports were damaged by strong winds recently. She said the steel poles that held the sign were twisted and may need to be replaced.

• The PRIDE cleanup will be held Saturday, April 18, with a backup day of April 25 in case of rain. Mayor Polis said there is a good deal of work to do and asked volunteers to meet at City Hall at 9 a.m. The fire department will furnish safety vehicles for those working alongside the road.

• James D. Collins told the council that someone has been putting regular garbage in the city’s recycling bin. Collins said sanitation workers found a name in the garbage and turned it over to Police Chef Henry Day for prosecution.

• In response to a question from Trey Quillen, City Clerk Banks reported that collection of business and occupational licenses is now at nearly 100 percent.

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