2018-06-13 / Front Page

Bikers want Neon to pay them back for high water bills

By WILLIAM FARLEY

Although water issues were the main subject at the June meeting of the Fleming-Neon City Council, the council also approved the first reading of their city budget for 2018 and 2019. The second reading will take place at a special meeting at 6 p.m. next Tuesday (June 19) in City Hall.

A delegation from the Seventh Sons Motorcycle Club in McRoberts attended the meeting to ask the council for a water adjustment that resulted from a major leak in the line that feeds its clubhouse. Club Treasurer Eddie Bentley told the council the leak had caused an extraordinary hike in the water bill early in the year, but when he contacted the water department, he was informed that it was aware that there was a problem and it would be addressed. Bentley said the club helped to locate the leak and hired a backhoe when it was found.

Bentley said when the leak was finally located, it was almost six feet in the ground and was on both sides of the meter. Water Maintenance Director Chris Banks said the leak was on a line that ran directly from the main tank and the valve, which he said was not a standard one, and was probably installed 30 years ago. He said water workers finally had to cut the line while it still had pressure and clamp a new valve on it in order to repair the leak and install a new meter.

Bentley said the club had spent around $1,300 on the excavator and parts to repair the line and meter and asked the council to consider giving it an adjustment on the high water bills to offset its contribution to the repairs. James Pratt, a club member who attended with Bentley, told the council that Seventh Sons MC is a non-profit and does a good deal of charity and community work. The club holds an annual drive for needy families at Christmas and Pratt said the members have done everything they can to make the clubhouse grounds, the site of the old McRoberts school, safe and accessible for neighborhood children to use the playground and for McRoberts community events. Chris Banks, who lives in McRoberts, agreed and said the club has been a good neighbor to the community.

Councilman Tom Haynes said he doesn’t see how the council can charge the club for a problem that was the fault of the contractor who installed the lines. Bentley said the people at the water department had told the club to hold its last couple of bills until the matter could be resolved, and the council voted unanimously to average bills for the last two months (the current bill and one that will be due in June) and allow the club to pay that rate, which should be in the area of $50 a month. Eddie Bentley said he had grown up in Neon and expressed how happy the club is to be in its new location. He and the other club members at the meeting said they want to do all they can to help the city.

Another delegation from Tolliver Town near Haymond also attended the meeting to ask the city to look at extending water lines into W.B. Hollow. Rick Davis, who said recent flooding had destroyed the water system he had been using, acted as spokesman and said the request involves extending a water line nearly a half mile up the hollow. Both Chris Banks and Ken Reid, who is working with the city on other water issues, said the problem will be to get the state required 35 PSI of water pressure to the top of the hill. Reid said the cost will probably be over $25,000 and require that bids be let. The council voted unanimously to ask Nesbitt Engineering to look into it, but the council members told the Tolliver Town group that it will be at least a year before the city can consider undertaking another project. Reid said that the next step in the city’s water and sewer renovation project will be line improvement, so Tolliver Town could be included. In a related matter, Reid told the council that work to rehabilitate the city water plant at McRoberts is about 70 percent complete.

Mayor Susie Polis conducted the first reading of the city’s fiscal year 2018- 2019 budget, The General Fund budget calls for $264,574.45 in revenue and $263,585.76 in expenditures. Local Government Economic Aid is budgeted at $21,117.21 in revenue and $20,840.12 in expenses. The council voted unanimously to approve the Municipal Road Aid offer from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for that amount before reading the budget and the budget for Road Aid is $15,395.21. The Water and Sewer budget is $397,500 in revenue for water against expenditures of $397,021. Sewer is $273,800 in revenue and $272,498 in expenses.

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