Penson began the work session by announcing she was continuing to work on the city’s budget, but she added she could not yet estimate when a draft could be put before the council.
“We’re working on it. That’s all I can say right now. ... Hopefully we’ll get together and come up with some more numbers and get this taken care of as soon as possible. I’m not going to set a date or nothing. I just want to, hopefully, get [it] together pretty soon. I’ll just let everybody know,” she said.
Council member Harold Posey asked Penson if she needed assistance working on the budget. Penson said she did, and Posey and council member Mike Abernathy said they would meet with each other to continue working on the 2014 budget.
Moving on to the water audit, Penson said she would contact Williamson & Co. to see what the auditor needs to finish the audit. After speaking with City Engineer John Sweitzer, Penson said, she was told the city could not touch the U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and loan package to repair part of the city’s water system until the audit is finished.
The next topic on the 14-item agenda was the city clerk. Treasurer Dawn Clark is working as the city clerk, Penson explained, until a replacement is hired.
“We did take in a lot of applications and we will review them, but as of now, she’s just like an intern because we had to have somebody that could sign notices and forms,” she said.
When asked how many applications the city had received for the clerk position, Penson estimated between 30 and 50 applications.
Council member Chuck Wise suggested the council should steer away from hiring any family members or relatives when it came time to review applications.
“All of us are kin to each other one way or another around here. Let’s try not to put family ... in those positions. We’re going to have to supervise them in some type of way. It usually turns out to be some type of conflict of interest in it,” he said.
The work session later turned toward the issue of the city’s baseball field and adjacent bathrooms. Penson said she had recently cleaned the bathrooms herself, as someone had rented the field for an event. Only one toilet worked, she said, and both bathrooms needed repairs.
“We might could make some money having tournaments and stuff,” she later said. “But we’ve got to do something to the bathrooms.”
The council discussed whether to refurbish or replace the bathrooms, as well as the possibility of building a second set of bathrooms next to the playground. Wise suggested the city could rent portable toilets for the playground until proper bathrooms could be built. He also reminded the council of problems city hall once had with its septic tank and that could affect any new bathrooms.
The issue of the Kingston Women’s History Club resurfaced on the agenda, with Penson saying the city’s insurance company had instructed her to acquire a key to the building in case of emergencies.
“The insurance man told me to get a key just for [an] emergency — I won’t have the key. The policeman’s supposed to have a key because in case of an emergency, and they will not give me one. And a contractor has been out to start repairs over there. So we need to talk to someone about that,” she said.
Posey later asked why the Women’s History Club had declined to give Penson a key.
“He told me to ask for one, and when I did that, the president said, ‘OK.’ But then when I met her she said she’d rather not give me one,” Penson said.
During a discussion relating to the club, Posey said he had found a previous resolution dating back to 1997 that outlined who was operating the club. However, he said he would like to revise his previously proposed resolution on the same topic to include the monuments behind the club building. As the council mulled over the topic of how the club could be an important part of Kingston, Penson clarified her opinion of the club.
“I don’t have any intentions of closing any history down in Kingston. I mean, it’s never open anyway and ... it’s because of the weather and they had that problem with the water leak. ... I’m all for history too. That’s what Kingston is too: it’s history,” she said.
Additional council business included:
• Discussing the need for a new payroll company, as the city’s accountant will end payroll services on March 31.
• Discussing holding the official vote on removing the former city clerk at the next regular meeting.
• Announcing the community meeting tonight at Queens Chapel Church for scanning historic photos to be uploaded to a website.
• Discussing funding for road improvements and how the city may work with Bartow County officials and departments to complete projects.
The next Kingston City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 10, at 7 p.m. at city hall.