Loyall drafting utility ordinance to collect debts

By Mark Bell - For the Enterprise

The city of Loyall is putting together an ordinance that would prohibit the connection of certain utility services to properties associated with outstanding city debts.

In their ongoing effort to address a steep decline in revenue, Mayor Clarence Longworth told his council during Monday’s regular monthly meeting that an ordinance would soon be presented outlining details of the process.

Sewer connections and garbage services would be withheld from these properties until the debts are settled, he said.

The issue largely involves residential rental properties, the mayor noted, and typically occurs when residents move in and then leave fairly quickly owing for a few months of service. Secondly, a lot of debts accumulate when disconnected services are reconnected because the name on the account is switched to someone else in the household.

The number of people avoiding these bills has become so pervasive the city clerks note the accumulated debts often can amount to more than $1,000 a month that must be written off as uncollectable, Longworth added.

The proposed ordinance will hold property owners responsible for those debts going forward, the mayor said.

At this point, the city does not know if water service will be included as it is provided by the Harlan Municipal Water Works and such a plan must be approved by their board of directors. If the city does eventually get approval to include water service, the ordinance can be updated.

Longworth said a special meeting would be called in order to hold the first reading of the proposed ordinance as he expected it would be ready for the council to review before the June meeting.

Council member Trena Cornett updated the group regarding the proposal to name the new Wilkerson Street Bridge in memory of Gregory D. Cornett, who was killed in action in Vietnam. The council approved their requested action be given to the fiscal court for formal approval, which the state requires before proceeding.

Cornett also noted progress on a commemorative plaque for Dorothy Williams, who served on the council for many years. It will be posted near a tree planted in her honor on city hall grounds.

During discussion of the city’s street department report, Fire Chief Vern Guffy noted a few recent problems at the city park on KY 840. A family had held a baby shower at one of the picnic shelters and “left a real bad mess.”

Although the individuals were contacted and the site was cleaned up, Guffy asked if the council would consider requiring people to register before using the shelters for big parties. The mayor said before they did that, he recommended that signs be posted asking people to be respectful of city property.

A more significant recent problem involved vandalism, specifically to the roof of the lower shelter, due to someone or some group being atop the cliff across the highway from the park and throwing large rocks onto the property.

The police will keep watch on the area as much as possible, but the council agreed that citizens who can see the park from their homes should be made aware of the problem and let the officers know when they see anything like that going on.

In other action, the council:

• Discussed a storm drainage problem creating property damage from the alley behind the Methodist church on Wilkerson Street;

• Approved the monthly reports for police, fire, sewer and street departments; and

• Approved the financial report.

By Mark Bell

For the Enterprise

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