- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By JENNIFER RAYMOND
The city of Kingston, like many other municipalities, businesses and households, is looking at ways to cut costs.
Mayor Troy Beets brought up the issue of increased fuel and utility costs at last week’s city council work session.
Beets was hoping to make employees more aware of the issue and look at ways to save.
“It’s hard on folks out there,” Beets said. “I’d like to see us set some examples.”
Even with the increase in gas, financial officer Carolyn Brewer said she doesn’t think it will have a major effect on the budget. An increase was anticipated and included in the budget.
The increase of about 20 percent in electric rates will cost the city about $47,539 more than what was budgeted, she said.
A lot of the increase comes from street lighting, Brewer said.
Brewer suggested taking money from street paving to cover the increase.
The water and wastewater department will see an increase of about $40,000.
Councilman Brant Williams suggested getting a committee together of residents and employees to audit city buildings and look at ways to cut back, such as using more energy efficient lighting.
“If we’re going to do it, we ought to make a big splash,” Williams said.
Councilwoman Jane DeVall suggested bringing in TVA to help with the auditing.
Also suggested was cutting off every other street light to help with electric costs.
Beets commended the police department on its efforts to cut gas costs.
In some cases, instead of two cruisers, one vehicle contains two officers, Chief Jim Washam said.
They have also started to park cars at night while patroling the neighborhoods.
“It’s cutting down on idling,” Washam said.
That also gives the officer a chance to patrol the streets on foot and spend more time in the neighborhoods.
“It also helps to deter crime,” Washam said.
Wiliams suggested buying older cars in the near future, as opposed to newer ones that may be gas guzzlers.
He added that car companies will probably come out soon with energy efficient cars for law enforcement.
The city just recently lease purchased two new police cars in July and sought to lease purchase two more March.