Kingston pays off city hall, discusses other matters
by Amanda Ryker
Mar 06, 2012 | 1592 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kingston City Clerk Michele Jones delivered good news to the city council during their work session Monday night, informing the mayor and council members that the last payment has officially been made on city hall.

This final payment will free up about $2,000 in the general fund, which has been struggling for quite some time to allow the city to operate without spending more than the city collects in revenues.

During their meeting, the council further discussed budget woes and reviewed a proposed budget. One more public hearing must be held before the council can vote to adopt a budget for 2012.

"Something drastic has to be done," council member Harold Posey said.

Council members Ed Miklas and Posey remained in favor of reducing or eliminating council salaries, while members Chuck Wise and Louise Howell originally refrained from comment. Wise later said he has given his salary back to the city in the past when other council members did not.

However, Wise continued that council members do not receive cellphones and he expresses a strong desire to best serve the community that has elected him. The current salary, though not excessive, provides aid to council members in paying communications bills -- such as cellphones -- to keep in touch with community members while trying to represent them and address concerns and needs as they arise.

"We have to rectify the damage that has been done in the past two years," Mayor Ronald Casey said regarding the budget and the city's deficit. "All we can do is go forward."

The city moved on to hear reports from department heads and learned that the city currently has a little more than $34,000 in the water fund and more than $18,000 in the general fund. While the numbers are bleak, Jones presented the relieving news regarding city hall.

Police Chief Billy Pickett reported that the city is quiet, but he is investigating a few theft cases.

Casey moved on to say that elderly residents in the city need assistance in moving their trash cans to the curb for waste disposal.

"We need to identify them first," Casey said.

Any elderly citizens with a proven disability who are in need of assistance may contact the city clerk at 770-336-5905. After making contact with the city, a representative will follow up with the call and provide assistance for garbage collection by moving the trash cans to the curb for pick-up.

The mayor also presented a need for an ordinance regarding the newly installed water meters. While 164 meters remain to be installed throughout the city, those that are in place can be easily damaged or destroyed. The mayor called for an ordinance to be in place that would hold property owners responsible for repair or replacement of any meters damaged either intentionally or unintentionally.

In concluding the meeting, Casey presented several topics to the council and attending public. Among the items presented was an update on necessary improvements. The downtown well has been repaired as well as a piece of the sidewalk that was broken in front of city hall. A safety barrier received from the state to place along a steep ditch in the city has arrived and will be visible once the city retrieves it today. The installation of a fence around the playground also will begin today to improve safety conditions in the area, where Casey said he has seen a small child attempt to cross the railroad tracks and his bicycle has gotten stuck on the rails, posing a dangerous situation.

The city also is working on improvements that were deemed necessary after receiving insurance violations in the past. Nine of those conditions have been met, seven are in progress and 15 cannot be completed at this time due to a lack of personnel.