Increasing budget woes limit Kingston expenditures
by Neil B. McGahee
May 14, 2013 | 1659 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to hold onto a diminishing cash flow in the face of increasing expenses, the Kingston City Council voted to table four expenditures at its Monday, May 13, meeting.

“We installed a 36-inch pipe in the ground at the Dawson Street well, but we have run into unsuitable soil,” Trent Lard, vice president of Sweitzer Engineering, told the council. “Once we excavated, we found the soil was just muck. When we designed this project, we originally planned to use restrained joint piping, but it takes several months to get it. In an effort to save time and money, we redesigned the pipe using off-the-shelf duct line piping, but we can’t use that in this muck because the pressure would just push the plug off. Now we have to go back and install a bell-pipe system.”

Lard explained that the original $44,000 bid would have to be increased by $28,400 to a total of $72,400.

“We don’t really have a lot of choices, do we?” council member Harold Posey said.

“So where are the funds coming from?” council member Louise Howell asked.

Mayor Ron Casey said he would prefer taking the money from the 2007 Special Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) or the city’s rainy day fund.

“Well, how much money do we have in SPLOST?” Howell asked.

No one knew for sure, but council voted to approve the expenditure, taking as much as possible from SPLOST funds and the rest from the rainy day fund.

After a few minutes discussing a proposal to replace the city park electrical system, Posey raised the issue of finances again.

“We don’t even have a budget yet,” he said. “I’m hesitant to approve any additional expenditures until we have a budget. Some things we have to pay — payroll, taxes and operating expenses — but I think we need to table anything that isn’t urgent.”

Council voted to table discussion about replacing the electrical system at Kingston City Park, paving roads, building football and soccer fields at the YMCA, and purchasing new galvanized trash cans for the downtown area at more than $750 per can.

“There’s a couple of these items that we’ve just got to fix,” Casey said. “We have to unstop the drains, install some culvert-to-culvert pipes and do some ditching. When CSX came through this last time, they stacked up all their crossties and the ones that were broken in half, they threw in the ditch and stopped it up. Now we have to unstop it. Then there’s road paving that has to be done and we have to get some new signs for downtown.”

After much discussion, council:

• approved hiring day laborers to unclog the drains;

• learned that the purchase of signage for downtown had been approved at the last meeting; and,

• scheduled a public hearing on Thursday, May 23, to hear an appeal from Thomas Herd for reinstatement to his former position of assistant maintenance director.