The city of Benham is off the hook for a sizable debt it owed the Internal Revenue Service.
During a council meeting on Thursday, city clerk Jessica Smith read the council a letter the city received earlier in the week from Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office.
“I contacted the IRS on your behalf,” Smith read from the letter. “I am pleased this matter has been resolved in your favor.”
Smith told the council she had received confirmation from the IRS stating the city of Benham has no outstanding balance due.
The council learned in September that $38,000 in taxes had not been paid, and the IRS was looking into possible misappropriation of funds. The city has been dealing with the issue since that time, attempting to work out a plan to satisfy the IRS.
“We’re off the hook,” said Smith. “It’s done.”
City Manager Roy Silver advised council the results of a new waterline that has been installed as part of the emergency interconnect system have been positive.
“The new waterline was laid and they started the test run last night,” said Silver. “It increased the volume (of water) that went into the plant probably 30 to 40 percent.”
Smith said a recent report from the water plant states there are approximately 100 gallons more water coming into the plant every minute.
Silver said the increased efficiency could lead to the city having to pay less overtime at the water plant.
“There are some leaks in the system” said Silver. “About 30 percent of what’s coming out of the plant is going to leaks at different places. That’s an ongoing … but so far it seems to be working.”
Silver said the more money the city invests in repairs to the system, the more money the city will save.
Silver also mentioned some support was coming in for the energy initiative.
“We’ve got commitments of about $5,000 to give out energy saving kits,” said Silver. “The power board put up $500 as a match, there was another $2,500 that was given by a local foundation, and there’s another $2,000 to $2,500 that’s going to be put in the pot.”
Silver said the kits will include faucet aerators, shower heads, and blankets suitable for insulating hot water heaters.
“That should be happening within the next month or so,” said Silver.
Silver added the city hopes to have more homes targeted for retro-fitting to improve energy efficiency after the first of the year.
In other council activity:
• Carl Shoupe accepted a nomination to serve on the Benham Power Board;
• Cleon Cornett addressed the council on behalf of the Tri-Cities Heritage Development Corporation, asking the city to continue funding the organization;
• The council approved the first reading of city ordinance 300, an ordinance addressing the operation of the “This and That Store,” a city-owned business.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde