Petersburg Vice Mayor Barbara Woodward, who has served on the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen for many years, resigned her seat in August, citing health reasons in a letter read by Mayor Logan Jolly during the council’s meeting last week.
Officials voted to replace Woodward with Kenneth Richardson, also a long-time board member. He was sworn in to fill the rest of her term, which will expire in August 2020. Succeeding Richardson in his former position on the board will be Ray Pope, a resident of Petersburg, according to another vote taken by the board.
Later in the meeting, Chris Sparks, CPA and town recorder, presented the end-of-year financials. He stated that at the end of the year the total tax revenue collected was approximately $112,000, which was under budget by a little more than $4,600.
Payroll was down by about $12,000 due to understaffing in the police and water departments. The water department, which had been struggling to break even for the past couple of years, has begun to turn around during the past few months, Sparks said.
“It’s not trending down,” he said, noting that it was partly due to the rate increase but primarily because of a shortage of employees.
Sparks recommended renegotiating some bank interest rates on CDs the town currently has to get a higher interest rate. The rate the town is currently receiving is about 1.2 percent, he said, adding that rate might be increased to two percent with some renegotiation. He also suggested moving $150,000 up to $175,000 from the general fund to CDs.
“If we can make another $3,000 to $4,000 per year, I think we should do it,” said Sparks. “The budget will likely be completed before any money is moved,” stated Jolly following the meeting.
Of the three bids submitted for propane, officials approved the lowest bid from Southern Propane for the delivery of 5,000 gallons of gas. The bid was for $1.089 per gallon, compared to the Spar Gas bid of $1.69 per gallon for the first fill-up and then $2.99 per gallon after that; and Heritage Propane’s bid for $1.35 per gallon. The propane is for heating the Town Hall.
Several citizens repeated concerns of others related to minimal police coverage in the town, primarily because of the danger that speeding drivers pose to children in residential areas. For the past several months, the town has been attempting to hire more patrolmen. Jolly stated that the town continues to advertise for part-time patrolmen and has one potential prospect so far.
Another issue raised by residents and subsequently discussed by the board had to do with the methodology of issuing citations and whether they should be hand-delivered or sent by certified mail. One resident stated that some people are not taking the citations seriously and are not showing up in court.
Richardson suggested sending out certified letters and tacking on the $6.95 postage to the fine. Another official suggested that some citizens could be penalized with a failure to appear charge if they don’t go to court, and court costs could be imposed on top of the fine.