“I’ve driven patrol cars now for quite a while and I can tell you that, driving the car, I do not feel safe,” he said.
Patterson cited numerous repairs to the vehicle, and four instances in which it would not start, as reasons for selling the vehicle. He also did not feel comfortable hiring reserve police officers, as they would use the old vehicle.
The liability, he said, was far too great if something should happen to a reserve officer in the old Crown Victoria.
“We’re going to need a vehicle that will do the job. Just because we’re Kingston doesn’t mean that we need to settle for something that’s not safe or that’s not gong to perform the duties of our job,” he said.
In his first request to the council, Patterson asked for two new Chargers. He said buying two would cut down on the amount of maintenance and wear and tear on a single vehicle, while also securing a discount of approximately $4,000 on the entire purchase.
However, all three council members present Monday night — Harold Posey, Chuck Wise and Louise Howell — questioned the need for a second police vehicle.
Posey said next year’s budget was not set, which made him reluctant to support an additional vehicle. He added the city was running a deficit in a number of its accounts, so spending needed to be as limited as possible. Wise and Howell agreed with Posey.
The entire council supported the purchase of a new vehicle, believing it was necessary to keep the police department in operating condition. After a unanimous vote, the council approved the purchase of a Dodge Charger from Akins of Winder — the only dealership in the area that has a government contract to sell police vehicles.
The purchase is expected to cost approximately $30,600 after the vehicle is fully equipped with the necessary electronics and police markings. However, Patterson believed he could get a better deal on the vehicle itself, which would reduce the price. The Georgia Municipal Association is providing financing for the vehicle at 3.3 percent.
The council also approved an intergovernmental agreement with Bartow County on an energy excise tax. Under the agreement, if Bartow County decides to implement a sales tax on energy used for manufacturing, Kingston will receive a percentage of the funds.
City Attorney Peter Olson said it was unclear if the tax would be implemented.
“The commissioner has said that he’ll put it in so long as no city objects to it. I understand Cartersville has, potentially, some opposition from some of their manufacturers so they may not want to do it,” he said. “But we don’t really have any manufacturers here to object, it’s all good for Kingston from that point of view.”
During a called work session before the regular meeting, the mayor and council unofficially selected Patterson to be chief of the Kingston Police Department.
Mayor Ronald Casey asked the council to make a decision and choose Patterson.
“I would like to propose at this time that we go ahead and name Clay as our police chief and get the matter over with,” Casey said.
The three council members present all supported the selection and thanked Patterson for the enthusiasm he had shown in his work. As no official vote was taken during the meeting, Casey said a vote would take place during next month’s council meeting.
Other council business included:
• Hearing a report from Patterson on recent crimes in Kingston.
• Hearing from Charlie Pecchio on events planned for Oct. 4, including the grand opening of a restaurant and local store.
• Hearing from Mike McFarland on his plans to operate a trucking firm within city limits.
• Reviewing financial updates for the city dating from June and July.
The Kingston City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at city hall.