09/10/13 — Pikeville board adds $200 fee to game machines

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Pikeville board adds $200 fee to game machines

By Dennis Hill
Published in News on September 10, 2013 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The Pikeville Town Board approved an annual $200 per machine tax on Internet sweepstakes game machines at its meeting Monday night.

The fee will become fully effective next July. Until then it will be pro-rated.

The tax had originally been proposed to be much higher but Town Administrator Blake Proctor said he had offered the figure of $750 per machine as a starting point for discussion.

The board approved the fee in a split vote, with town commissioners Todd Anderson, Robert Hooks and Ward Kellum voting for the fee.

Internet cafe owners said the fee was unwarranted and that given the status of the industry -- it currently is considered illegal although many counties in the state are not enforcing the law -- they cannot be sure how long they will remain in business.

The town currently has one such sweepstakes parlor in operation and another is considering opening.

In other business, the board shot down a proposal to lower the speed limit on certain streets in town to 25, 20 or 15 miles per hour, saying the plan was too confusing and that if current speed limits were enforced there was no need to change them.

Town commissioners also gave Proctor permission to pursue building plans for a new town hall, although there was no agreement on its location. Proctor showed them a plan that would put a new town hall near its current location, noting that there was plenty of room to build and parking already available.

But Mayor Johnny Weaver said he remains convinced the town hall should be rebuilt downtown. He noted that at previous public hearings on the issue, town residents had indicated that they preferred a town hall more centrally located than where it is now.

"When the town vacates downtown you have a ghost town," Weaver said.

In other business, the board agreed to purchase a new electric utility truck for $29,148 and set a date later this month to discuss faults with the town sewer system, which had problems with inflow and infiltration of lines during the rainy months of June and July.

The board also discussed getting tougher on residents who are late paying their monthly utility bills. At the request of staff, they said they would consider amending the town ordinance regarding payment deadlines of such bills after a public hearing is held.

In a surprise note, town board member Ward Kellum announced that he was withdrawing from running for another term on the board, due to health reasons. He noted that he was disappointed in the lack of people interested in running and said he hopes more people might become interested enough to become a write-in candidate. Currently, there is only one candidate for mayor and two candidates for the two board seats that will become vacant at the end of the year.