The $1.3 million loan and $981,000 grant from the USDA would be used to repair and improve parts of Kingston’s water utility along GA Highway 293 and inside the city limits. After more than two months of debate, the council asked Mayor Ron Casey during its last meeting to invite City Engineer John Sweitzer and USDA Area Specialist Tammy Decker to Monday’s meeting so they could answer the council’s questions about the loan.
Casey asked if part of the work planned along Highway 293 could be removed from the proposal; allowing Kingston to focus on repairing water mains inside of the city limits and on land going toward U.S. Highway 411. Sweitzer said it was necessary to fix the mains along Highway 293.
“Those are your customers and they are not adequately served. There’s not enough pressure up at the top of the hill,” he said. “What we proposed was putting in a small pump station to lift water to a small tank to maintain the pressure and provide some semblance of fire flow around that area. ... There’s really no fire protection, and so we’re trying to get more water out there.”
Sweitzer said there was a second option to increase water pressure along Highway 293. Kingston could purchase water from Bartow County and use the county’s high-pressure water main to increase the pressure in the city’s lines. That method, he said, would eliminate the need to use a water tank and the saved funds could go toward additional repairs in the city limits.
Decker added that any saved loan dollars would either have to be used elsewhere in the repair project or removed from the grant amount.
“Any savings, though, do ultimately just come out of the grant,” she said.
Decker also confirmed the city’s payment on the loans would not exceed $4,679 per month. If the loan amount were reduced, she said, the payment would be reduced as well.
The council also heard from Kingston resident Wanda Williams, who asked the council to consider better signage for city streets. She said she was concerned about residents receiving mail at their addresses and public safety.
“My biggest worry in all this is not just merchandise that gets lost....but in the event of an emergency, if someone’s not familiar with who we are, it could potentially be a life or death situation,” she said.
Other city council business included:
• Hearing from Allied Waste Services Division Manager Tom Gunnell about new trash cans for Kingston customers.
• Discussing an increase in Bartow County water billing to cities.
• Discussing hiring Kenneth Darby as a permanent city employee.
• Setting a budget work session for Tuesday, Dec. 11.
• Holding an executive session to discuss personnel matters.
The Kingston City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at city hall.