Attorney General contacts Kingston about customer complaint
The City of Kingston met for their monthly meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7th. Members of the council, Jerry Prothero, Karle Kresse, Ron Fleming and Brad Campbell were present along with Mayor Chester Stone, City Clerk Debbie Fleming and Water & Sewer Superintendent David Bethel.
In old business, the minutes of the previous meeting were approved. A motion was made to go into closed session after the December meeting. Debbie Fleming and David Bethel left the meeting. Councilman Bradley Campbell made a motion to give the following bonuses: David $1,500; Laurel $700; and Debbie $300. This was approved by council with Ron Fleming abstaining.
In current business, Chris Burnett from Twin Creeks attended the meeting with a request to purchase a small piece of land (100’ x 150’) at the back of his shop that is owned by the city. The council agreed to sell the property. A motion was made to put the property up for bids for two weeks and open the bids at the next council meeting in February. Bethel said he would confer with Bill Adams on the legality and wording for the paper.
Debbie mentioned that the final filing date for city offices was the 19th. She said she has the form, but the candidates need to fill it out, have it notarized, send the original to the State and give a copy to the city clerk.
David Bethel informed the council that he had not heard back from the post office on his second appeal for payment for damages done to the testing machine in transit.
When asked about a $500 withdrawal from city funds, Bethel said that the city takes $500 a month and puts it into a fire truck fund which is later used to make the truck payment. The truck was purchased in 2004, so the loan should be close to being paid off.
As of the end of Dec. 2015, the city brought in $23,705 from outside testing. Bethel said he has 15 systems he tests for. Among those are People Services and the cities of Gallatin, Elmo, Hillsboro and Skidmore. He figured the city cleared about $5,000 after expenses for water, sewer and lab fees were deducted.
Kenny Hales will be in town the 14 and 15th to start the city’s annual audit.
Green Hills Telephone has been delayed in placing fiber optics in town.
Adam Watson from MoDOT visited the city to give an update on the bridge replacement (bridge on Hwy 13). Bids should go out in February with the opening of the bids in March. Bethel said they will not be able to start construction until Aug. 1, because the Conservation Department has found something in the creek that can’t be destroyed. It is estimated that the bridge should be completed by Christmas of this year. Bethel talked to Jeff Campbell about the Log Creek Bridge on Log Creek. They will open the bids on Monday. It was estimated work would start in February or March, weather permitting.
Paperwork was received back from FEMA on the street repairs. The amount awarded is $10,889.47 of which the city will receive 75% or $8,167.10.
In the water department, Bethel said they flash fried the pump controls at the water plant due to a wire shorting out in the electrical box. He stripped out all the loose and unnecessary wires and had since cleaned it up. The expense was around $1,885 for replacement parts.
Bethel produced a letter to the water department from the Attorney General’s office. The office had received a complaint from Dennis Yoakum in Kingston. Yoakum has had a past due bill with the city for water. Yoakum claims, as of Sept. 1st, he had paid $850, and that because of late fees and monthly interest added to his balance, he estimated that his bill in January will be $1,600 without him using a drop of water in three months. Since his disability the past four years, the city has charged a minimum of $1,000-$3,000 a year. When he used rain water to flush or wash with, the city threatened to dig up his sewer and water line and condemn his house. He feels the city should not be able to charge him $300 or $500 a month after his water is off and there is no usage at all. He is requesting his account be audited for the past five years and also of others this is happening to. He accused the city employees and council members of receiving their water for free and that they are only working part time. He feels he is paying for their water too. He claims that his water usage in the past has been at the bare minimum and doesn’t understand how his bill can be so high with no leaks or breaks in the line.
Bethel brought copies and gave to the council of the water ordinance, water rates, and copies of the city employee’s bills to prove they paid for water. According to Bethel, he said the city had shut off Yoakum’s water in November. He will have to reply to the Attorney General’s office with a written response within 14 days and let the office know how the complaint was settled.
Prothero said he was contacted by Virginia Howell about shutting the heat and water off at the Lions club building. According to her, it has not been rented out and no one has used it for months. Bethel contradicted her statement by saying that 4-H was meeting there once or twice a month. Campbell said that he also knew of other people that have been using the building. He said the city pays for the utility expenses of the building and that the costs have not been much. Bethel discussed putting a lock on the thermostat. Council decided that the utilities should remain turned on since it is still being used by the public.
With all business concluded, the council went into closed session.