Kingston to see new hires on tonight's agenda
by Matt Shinall
Jul 05, 2011 | 2464 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After seeing their first budget passed in recent years and receiving the city audit on time, Kingston will face a busy month of decisions, including grant money, hiring and a building purchase.

The month of June ended with a special called meeting that saw a 2011 budget passed halfway through the year and heard the presentation of the 2010 audit from CPA Lloyd Williamson. The audit brought both good and bad news -- although the city technically ended the year with a negative fund balance, Kingston actually had the funds in other accounts able to cover the difference.

Tonight's work session will see the mayor's suggestion for two new hires. Both part-time positions, Mayor Dexter Jones will put forth Sidney Solomon for part-time city treasurer and Bobby Wilkey for part-time maintenance worker.

"The city treasurer is something that we have to have by charter. Because of our purchasing policies and the handling of all the money, we have to have a treasurer in place simply for the checks and balances," Jones said.

In the audit presentation by Williamson, a suggestion was made for improved checks and balances and additional office employees to increase the segregation of duties. The move, however, was countered by an additional recommendation for a hiring and pay-raise freeze. The latter suggestion is a concern of Councilman Louise Howell.

"I would be skeptical at this moment about hiring anyone since we were advised not to," Howell said. "I think we should just wait to see how the numbers add up."

Jones noted, however, that the budget approved last week allows for both positions up for discussion tonight.

"All the items I'll be putting forward this week are accounted for in the budget," Jones said. "Right now, we're running real slim, so we've got a lot of leeway right there in the budget."

As for an addition to the maintenance crew, Jones spoke at June's special called meeting about the amount of limb debris piling up from storm damage. Along with mowing grass and working on the water system, Kingston's two-man maintenance department is having a hard time keeping up, especially after the loss of an inmate work detail within the city due to an unsupervised prisoner stealing a city-owned truck in April.

"There's no way physically possible for those two guys that we have there to do everything asked of them. They're asked to do the water maintenance, asked to keep the grass cut, limbs chipped up, graves and the cemetery kept up -- and there's just no way two guys can do that. So, we have to be realistic, and the people out here are calling for it," Jones said.

Purchase of the old Kingston Elementary gymnasium will be up for discussion as well tonight. Jones said he has been in talks with the Bartow County School Board, who owns the property, for the city to take possession of the gym for community use.

"Right now, I've got these kids playing basketball either in the streets or we've got the little place behind city hall where they come and shoot every once and a while, but this would give the kids a place to go and sort of get them out of the streets. And, I think it would be a good addition," Jones said.

Also coming up for discussion will be the use of grant money, which Jones would like to see used to pave a portion of Hardin Bridge Road. The grant money in question is under a timeline before expiration.

The Kingston City Council will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at city hall due to the Independence Day holiday.