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City officials find nearly $250,000 in unpaid bills

By: Whitney Burks Email
By: Whitney Burks Email

ELKHORN CITY, Ky. (WYMT) - One Eastern Kentucky city is on the verge of bankruptcy after officials say they discovered nearly one-quarter-million dollars in bills that had not been paid. Now they are struggling to figure out what went wrong.

Elkhorn City employee Dwayne Tackett said it all started when he tried to pick up a small piece of equipment.

"I have to buy stuff for the city, and there were people telling me that we couldn't get it without a check and then i started questioning it," said Tackett.

What he and Mayor Mike Taylor found was a staggering amount of unpaid bills.

"There was a $47,000 power bill. It was like 30 something thousand on water," said Taylor.

There are several others too, totaling nearly $247,000.

When asked how the bills went unnoticed, the mayor said he simply does not know.

"I don't understand why they weren't paid. I don't understand that about the money, situations, but we were not notified as mayor and council that these bills hadn't been paid," said Taylor.

"We never really could get a straight answer," said Tackett.

Officials said the question everyone wants answered is what went wrong? Why weren't the bills being paid? So the mayor said he has personally asked for a state audit to happen.

"If it's from not collecting all of our taxes, not collecting business license, or you know coal severance, or whatever it is to get to the bottom of this you know why we're in this shape that we're in right now," said Taylor.

State officials have agreed to allow the city to use $250,000 in coal severance funds that was originally issued for a city swimming pool to pay the bills and avoid filing bankruptcy.

"We're going to correct every bit of this. Everybody is going to be paid in full that Elkhorn City owes," said Taylor.

Officials said all the bills should be paid in full within the next ten days.

The audit is expected to begin this week.

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