Kingston tackles budget issues
by Neil McGahee
May 07, 2013 | 692 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kingston City Council spent its Monday work session trying to find ways to pay for sorely need improvements and repairs.

“The electrical system in Kingston City Park is just about shot,” Mayor Ron Casey said. “The lights on the poles have been shot out, the wires in the electrical box have been cut, and the outlets and switches aren’t ground-faulted. If someone was walking around in a puddle of water, they would probably be electrocuted. It’s sort of a mess.”

Casey said he contacted the only electrician he knew and was given a quote of $4,550 to upgrade and replace components of the electrical system.

“The problem we have right now,” Casey said, “is we have a lot of our [Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax] money tied up in the problem with the Dawson Street well.”

Casey said the only other alternative was to take out a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and use the SPLOST money to pay the loan.

“That doesn’t leave us with any money to do any work with,” he said, “and we’re going to be in need of some repairs because our infrastructure is falling apart.”

Kingston’s next problem was one of its own making.

“People in this town have taken rocks and concrete and stuck them into the drain pipes,” Casey said. “This is being done on purpose to keep water from flowing through another person’s yard instead of theirs. We need to unclog those pipes, but we don’t have the manpower to do it.”

Councilperson Edward Miklas was confused as to why the SPLOST money couldn’t be used.

“Our SPLOST money is being held hostage to the Dawson Street well project,” Casey reminded him.

Casey reported that many of the city’s roads were also in bad shape.

“Our roads are basically falling apart,” he said. “There’s roads and things that we need to pave. The price for that comes to $87,000. Then there’s the walking track. To try to get that fixed up and redone is $22,000.”

Casey said Kitchen’s Alley needed $8,000 in repairs and Shaw Street needed $20,000.

Councilperson Chuck Wise suggested prioritizing the jobs according to what the city could afford.

Other projects included:

• constructing a football/soccer field at the YMCA;

• new signage and road striping; and

• a three-month moratorium on zoning requests to allow the city attorney and a committee time to reassess city zoning statutes.

A final issue arose that raised some eyebrows on the council. Casey reported that purchasing seven metal trash cans for placement in the downtown area would cost more than $5,000 — nearly $730 per can.

Kingston City Council’s next meeting will be held Monday, May 13, at 7 p.m.