Saying the city is being operated on a shoestring, several members of the Lynch City Council questioned expenditures and past due bills during a recent meeting. Mayor Johnny Adams said the city is still trying to recover after the loss of over $100,000 stolen from the city several years ago.
“To a small city $100,000 is like a $1 million to others,” said Adams. “It takes years to make a come back from that kind of loss, especially when you have no way of making it back up.”
Financial Officer Bill Dean told council members payments were being made on most of the past due accounts. He noted since his tenure began the past due accounts have gone from approximately $80,000 down to approximately $40,000.
“I usually try to take out all the small past due accounts as I can,” said Dean. “It’s all a matter of balance.”
Adams noted a heat pump recently installed at the water plant by Elliott Heating and Cooling, of Pikeville, had frozen over. He said he talked to the installers and a new panel was replaced, however the heat pump is still freezing over.
“I told Wendy (Brashears) to not run the heat pump until it is fixed. I just told her to run those big 440 or 220 heaters until the heat pump is fixed,” said Adams. “This is causing the electric bill to go up. We still don’t have that building insulated. The contractor has done some of the insulation work but has not yet finished it. The grant for that work says you don’t get paid until the job is finished. The contractor has quit saying he’s broke and he has to go out and do other work to get money to live on and he’ll be back in two weeks. It’s been back and forth — back and forth. It’s been a mess trying to get this job finished.”
Councilman Bennie Massey said the grant for the insulation on the water plant was meant to save the city money on their electricity costs.
“Until we get this job finished, we’re still going to be paying out the same amount,” said Massey. “We need to try and get this job finished so this big bill to KU can be cut. This will be the only way to reduce our bills.”
Asking where fuel is now being purchased for city vehicles, councilman Carl Collins said fuel costs didn’t appear “to be coming down any.” He asked who had credit cards to purchase fuel for the city.
Adams said whomever purchases gasoline has to sign for it and then he goes to the gas station, gets the bill, checks the invoice and then a check is written, which he delivers back to the station.
“We’re buying our gasoline in Cumberland now,” said Dean. “We’re still buying our diesel from Fuelco. If you’ll look at the financial report you’ll see we’re still under budget for January and the year on our fuel costs. Maintenance and sewer employees are the only ones who use gasoline other than the police department and they have their own credit card.”
City Maintenance Supervisor Chris Adams said more gasoline had been used lately because of inclement weather. He said whomever drives a city vehicle signs for the gasoline when purchased.
Collins asked for a list of every person who has purchased gasoline, the amounts and dates of the purchase at the next council meeting.
In other council action:
*Held second reading of the city’s ordinance setting the time of council meetings, which was approved for second Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m.;
*Accepted bid in the amount of $186, 327 from Atkins Excavating for the city’s sewer project on West Main Street;
*Held first reading of the city’s Insurance Tax Ordinance;
*Approved a resolution accepting, approving and authorizing the amendment of the city’s local budget;
*Rescinded a motion to withdraw from the Tri-Cities Main Street Program and then approved the city renewing their membership in the program.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org