The truck currently in use was purchased less than a year ago according to the council. Kingston's garbage truck was bought used from the city of Rome for about $25,000.
Mayor Dexter Jones brought forth the item for discussion based on the need he has seen and the opinion of mechanics he has spoken with. There are several issues with the garbage truck, according to Jones, including hydraulics, transmission and other malfunctions.
"Our garbage truck is on the brink. It has been on the brink for a long time and we are almost at an emergency situation here. We've got to get a garbage truck that's workable, that we don't have to spend a lot of money on repairs and those type things," Jones said. "In my opinion and I think in the opinion of our maintenance people and other people that have looked at it, these trucks have a limited lifetime and they're just going to wear out to a point where it's just not smart to tack on repairs."
Estimates gathered thus far by the mayor were about $110,000 for a new truck. The purchase would be covered under Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds.
The council met this amount with apprehension as they questioned the need for a new truck so quickly after the purchase of their current garbage truck.
"We keep spending and somebody has got to be held accountable for this equipment; I know that everything is going to break and tear up, but someone has to be held accountable. If these men and people are going to take these jobs there should be daily checklists and requirements to be done before they even get on a piece of equipment," said Councilman Chuck Wise.
The mayor pointed out to the council's concerns that the garbage service provides more than $60,000 in annual revenue. The council did ask for additional opinions to be gathered from certified mechanics before they vote on the matter Monday.
Before the council discussed the agenda item, residents addressed the council, including Kingston Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Larry Posey. Posey brought before the council the proposal that items on the SPLOST calendar be prioritized due to the sharp decrease in revenue seen in municipalities across the nation. Posey warned the council that as little as half of the expected revenue may not be raised by SPLOST, meaning that many of the planned SPLOST projects on the current calendar, totaling more than $1.5 million, may not be funded.
"We've got more projects listed than we're going to have the money to do. So what the planning commission is recommending is that we prioritize the projects and put those that we definitely need up front and those that we can't fund would be at the bottom," Posey said. "The planning commission is willing to work with the council in setting up a list of priorities for the council's approval."
Posey also addressed the planning commission's concern over confusion that has arisen from changes to the Zoning Ordinance approved by a previous council yet have not been codified to a single volume.
"We've had several changes to the zoning ordinance and because these changes have not been compiled down to one zoning ordinance, into a master ordinance that we can look at, there's a couple of problems that have occurred," Posey said. "By consolidating these changes into one document then it can prevent the reoccurrence of similar and other problems."
The mayor asked Posey to either hold a formal vote of the planning commission in the form of a recommendation for the council or to produce the minutes from their training session in which the item was discussed and agreed upon before the council moves forward on the item.
The Kingston City Council will meet again Monday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m., at city hall for their regular meeting.