Kenton officials maintain city’s tax rates, vote to move forward with 2012-13 budget

Kenton officials maintain city’s tax rates, vote to move forward with 2012-13 budget
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Tuesday night’s Kenton mayor and board of aldermen meeting began with final approval of the city’s 2012-13 budget and ended with a series of big ticket items approved by the board.
The city’s new $964,275 budget keeps the city’s tax rate at $1.38 for the Obion County side of town and $1.40 for the Gibson County side of town.
The board delayed taking any action on a proposed contract to rehabilitate the city’s two water towers in order to check into other options for the work. At last month’s meeting, representatives of Utility Service Co. proposed a 10-year maintenance plan for Kenton’s water tanks at a cost of $340,000. However, Mayor Virginia Davidson announced Tuesday night she is looking into proposals from other companies.
It was early on in Tuesday night’s more than hour-long meeting that the board was informed of a $961.96 electric bill from Gibson Electric Membership Corp. for August service to the Kenton gym.
“The electric bill down at the gym, we can’t afford it,” the mayor said.
“That cannot be right,” board member and parks commissioner Faye Sharp said. “There’s got to be a problem.”
Several board members expressed their shock at the bill and were informed GEMC officials have been contacted and will be sending technician Bud Cole to check the building.
“We can’t stand this another month,” Ms. Sharp said. “This is going to break us real fast.”
“I think we need to wait and see what Bud discovers down there,” board member Tim Johns said.
With Johns’ statement, the board decided not to take any action pending the visit by the GEMC technician.
From there, it was reports from the Kenton Police Department and the city’s public works department that forced the board to break out the city’s checkbook. Public Works Director Nathan Spencer requested and had approved spending $6,250 for a new high-service pump system for the water plant and a new water flow meter costing $4,465.
Spencer, who was praised by Johns for his work since being recently appointed public works director, said, “That is going to be the last of the big ticket items at the water plant.”
Immediately following Spencer’s report, it was board member and police commissioner Angie Taylor who announced she has ordered new dual band radios for Kenton’s police cars, a new dual band handheld radio for Police Chief Kyle Kirk and new lapel mikes — at a total cost of $3,273. The new radio system brings the police department into compliance with new state regulations.
“They’re ordered,” Ms. Taylor said.
She said the city is also eligible for a manufacturers’ rebate that will reduce the total cost for the new radio system.
In other action, the board:
• Discussed ongoing problems with speeding motorists in town, specifically racing along College Street.
Ms. Taylor defended the police department by saying officers are working radar around town.
City Judge Charles Crouson was in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting and said the bulk of speeding tickets coming through his court are being written along College Street and Highway 45W through town.
“They are working that street with radar,” Ms. Taylor said. “The guys are doing their job and I’m going to back them. We’re trying to do the best we can with the officers we’ve got.”
It was ultimately decided to give the police chief the authority to pay officers overtime to run radar in town to address the problem.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Mrs. Davidson said.
So far this year, the Kenton Police Department has written nearly 400 traffic citations, according to Ms. Taylor.
• Passed a resolution supporting a $332,618 Community Development Block Grant for a new sewer lift station and emergency generators for the city’s community center, police department and fire department.
“We’re still in the running for that,” Mrs. Davidson told the board.
• Was informed the city is now buying its fuel tax-free at Little General. The city had been paying tax for its fuel purchases until the mayor caught the problem and notified Little General officials and state officials about the problem. Now the city is tax-exempt, and Mrs. Davidson said there is little hope of getting reimbursed for taxes already paid.
• Was informed by the mayor the city’s health insurance premium is coming due next month. Mrs. Davidson said the premium is expected to increase by 9.25 percent and she is looking into proposals from other insurance companies.
• Approved a $100 donation to the newly formed Board of Westside Cemetery Association.
Tuesday’s meeting was opened in prayer by board member Sarah Skinner.
Published in The Messenger 10.3.12

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