Loyall City Council continues to discuss the financial challenges looming for the city.
During their recent meeting, Mayor Clarence Longworth reported he and the city hall staff continue to work on plans which would require owners of real estate within the city to pay for any sewer or garbage service provided to those addresses.
However, attempts so far to work out a way to do that which would also include water service did not look promising, he said.
“We just continue to see a lot of delinquents that will not pay,” he told the council. The most recent accounts showed a total of 43 “charge-offs” that when combined were worth in excess of $1,000.
Renters, for example, will move in and receive services for 30, 60 or 90 days — whatever they can get away with — before bailing out of town, the mayor noted. Without the legal means to collect from the landlords, the city is left with nothing for a multitude of services already provided.
Longworth said the clerks continue to check with other cities in the state in hopes of finding a model for a future ordinance the council might consider to address the problem.
In a related matter, Paul Collins, waste water supervisor, asked if the council had given any further thought to his proposal for a maintenance surcharge that would help cover the ongoing costs of testing and equipment upkeep in the sewer system.
The mayor warned that regardless of any proposals the council may be considering, action would be needed soon.
“Right now we are one of the few towns our size able to pay their bills on time,” Longworth said, “but it’s coming.”
In addition to approving routine department reports, the council held the second reading of an ordinance that returns Cedar Street in the Old Loyall section to two-way traffic. The section of street between the First Baptist Church and the old river channel had been one-way due to limited visibility from a bridge abutment. The approach for a newly constructed bridge has cleared the obstruction making it safe for two-way traffic.
The city’s contractor for garbage collection appeared before the council to address complaints that had been made recently to city hall, however no one appeared to make the complaints as had been requested.
However, the representative from Waste Connections did ask the council to remind residents that his service was not responsible for anything other than household garbage. Special pickups can be arranged by city hall for anything other than simple daily trash.
Just because some citizens find a way to fit something into a garbage bag does not qualify it for regular pickup, the mayor said. Some have attempted to dispose of such items as roofing shingles, tires, carpet remnants, and scrap metal or wood in this manner and caused damage to the vehicle.
Council agreed to promote a Spring Cleanup during the first week of May and would have special pickups available for residents needing to dispose of extra items and junk.
Mayor Longworth told council members he was composing a letter of thanks to Marshall Smith and the welding students at Southeast KCTCS in Harlan for the recent repairs they made to the city’s playground equipment.
The mayor and maintenance staff reported that concrete and mulch were needed for the parks. Council members suggested they add some trees and recommended the mayor contact the Harlan County Extension Service for help with that.
Council also reviewed their ordinance regarding mobile homes in addressing a request made in person at the meeting that a small structure, reportedly manufactured by Hickory Homes in Corbin, be placed within the city limits and used as a single family dwelling.
The building in question is reportedly not on an axle and therefore does not qualify as a mobile home. It was described to council as a frame structure to be brought in and placed on a solid foundation and then finished on site. As such, the city’s existing ordinance did not appear to apply. The council members requested more information on the proposal.