Continuing with normal business, the council approved several improvements throughout the city including the replacement of wood on benches and painting those seats, covering the concrete pad at the old skate park to create a pavilion with picnic tables and small basketball goals for younger children and the completion of the fence around the city park that also will include a fence around the well.
After a long conversation regarding whether or not to form a contract with Allied Waste for the city's solid waste collection service, the contract was approved subject to review of the contract by the city attorney as well as the reception of offers for the city's current garbage trucks.
Controversy arose when the council raised the fact that citizens would question the move, saying that the city has just purchased the truck, a $125,000 investment. While Mayor Ron Casey agreed that there would be questions, he said that the move would best benefit the city.
The truck was purchased through 2007 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funding during a time when Casey was not previously in office. Casey said that he was looking at the possibility of establishing a contract with Allied Waste in the past years. The contract now will save the city over $16,000 annually. The savings would come from insurance and maintenance cost as well as labor and diesel fuel.
Council also approved to remove the fallen tree in a resident's yard. The tree fell during the April 27, 2011 tornado. Part of the tree has been previously removed while a large portion remains. Casey determined that the tree was, in fact, within the city's right of way -- should the right of way be 25 feet from the center line of the road. Kingston's right of way varies for every street -- and the council agreed to remove the tree.
In closing, Olson presented the final amended charter to the council regarding the hiring and firing of personnel. The change eliminates the for-cause requirement in termination of employees.
The council will meet Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at city hall. Attendance and comments are encourage from residents as the council discusses a final proposal of the city's budget for a vote on Thursday, April 19.