By KEVIN BOWDEN
First the good news.
Kenton city officials were anticipating a $40,000 budget deficit this month, but better than expected tax revenues show the city has a more than $64,000 fund balance.
The Kenton mayor and board of aldermen approved the first of three readings of a budget ordinance reflecting adjusted revenue and expenditure totals for the city’s 2011-12 budget.
“That is good, in fact it’s wonderful,” Mayor Virginia Davidson announced at the board’s meeting Tuesday night.
Mrs. Davidson appeared particularly pleased with the news, which went along with her announcement that work is already under way on a new 2012-13 city budget.
The budget ordinance approved by the board shows the city with $1,030,117 in revenues and $965,745 in total expenditures so far this fiscal year.
Now for the bad news.
City officials were informed Tuesday night there have been major problems with the city’s water plant that were only recently discovered. Board member Tim Johns, who serves as the city’s water and sewer commissioner, informed the board the problems have been going on for the past several months.
Johns told the board he has fired water plant workers Jim Cooper and Billy McKenzie Jr. and Nathan Spencer is now running the water plant, with the help of Dyer water plant officials.
The extent of the problems within the water plant are just now surfacing.
“We’ve had a lot of complaints,” Johns said.
He went on to explain there was a brief period when one of the city’s water tanks went dry and the city was reported to the state. Johns said seven state inspectors have visited the water plant in recent days and he and the mayor are working with state officials to correct the problems.
“Right now, I think we’re on the road to recovery on it,” Johns said.
The board approved spending $4,700 to have Campbell Well Drilling repair a water pump and the city will also have to buy a new computer to monitor the water plant.
“I think you did the right thing letting him go,” board member Faye Sharp said about John’s decision to fire McKenzie this past weekend.
Johns told the board he holds the state and state officials partly responsible for the problem at the water plant, since they are responsible for certifying the city’s water plant superintendent and making periodic inspections of the water plant, and didn’t report any problems to city officials.
The good news on the city’s budget is quickly being offset by several projects that are requiring immediate action. They include the water plant, as well as work on the floor at the Kenton Community Center and the need for a new mosquito sprayer for the city.
Mrs. Sharp, who serves as the city’s parks and recreation commissioner, told the board work needs to be done to repair the gym floor at the community center. Harvey Jackson had presented a $3,532 bid to pour concrete over the gym floor, while the city also has a bid of $6,800 to install tile over the gym floor.
“I think concrete would be a permanent solution,” board member Wade Simpson said.
He explained a concrete floor could be smoothed out and then the board could consider installing tile at a later date.
His suggestion received support from the board, which approved the bid from Jackson.
The board balked at spending an estimated $7,000 to $8,000 for a new mosquito sprayer for the city, and instead authorized the mayor to check with officials in Dyer and Rutherford to see if they’d be interested in sharing the cost and use of a new sprayer. The city’s current sprayer was bought used from Woodland Mills and is no longer working, according to Mrs. Davidson.
In other action, the board:
• Was informed, “My department is running good,” by board member Angie Choate, who serves as the city’s police commissioner.
Under the supervision of Police Chief Kyle Kirk, Mrs. Choate said the city’s police department issued 37 citations in April and handled 97 calls for service.
She also informed the board that renovation work at the police department is going well and that a grant and drug fund proceeds are being used to install new emergency lights and a new console in the police chief’s vehicle.
• Was informed by Mrs. Davidson that a planned farmers market will be able to set up this summer in the downtown area.
Tuesday night’s near hour-long meeting was opened in prayer by board member Sarah Skinner.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.02.12