Chester tightens gas payment procedures

by Michael G. Maness

Chester City Council was convened by Mayor Pro Tem Gale Williams on Monday evening, July 11, the meeting deferred from the regular time of first Monday because of the July 4 weekend.
After a few concerns on a bill, the financials were approved.

Concern over the past due customers with the Chester Gas Company continued to be discussed with the council determined to enforce policy. A long discussion included a review of the policy set forth in the 1980s. Ever desiring to keep the best interests of their customers, the city and company in mind, it was determined that a "Lock Out" letter specifying a clear time will be sent. Such action was not easy, for the council appeared to want to work with all in as fair and generous a way as possible, while also being fair to all customers. It was also clear that several customers appeared unresponsive to previous notices, and the city will be locking those out according to the company's forthcoming letter.

As training of the new part-time office employee progresses, there was a consensus that the office start and develop a complete job description, including weekly, monthly and annual duties. Given the 30-plus years of dedication by City Secretary Annette Hickman, it was a given that she was valuable and the multitude of her tasks would clearly overwhelm any new staffers should something happen to Hickman. Hickman outlined some of her duties and the need for some flexibility as each day varies. A list of duties will be started by the part-time employee as the council progresses. Councilman Floyd Petri mentioned that such a job description also helped the employee, as well as the city, when it came to assess a raise. The need for such during an emergency predominated the concerns.

A previous adjustment on the employee insurance was rescinded in the best interests of the city and its employees.

Petri gave the council an update on the work of the city park. Some progress was being made, including the eaves, painting, and so forth. He was willing to be the council's designee, if they so wished, to insure the work was done and progressed.