At Thursday’s meeting, recently elected Councilmen Hooky Huffman and Glen Cummins, as well as incumbent Mayor Gene Hobgood and Councilman Jack Goodwin, were sworn in.
Hobgood said he was honored to serve the city for a second term and said he was eager to work with a new set of faces on the Council.
The City Council heard from Canton resident Jeff Jones, who said he was dissatisfied with how the city is operating and announced he will begin a grassroots campaign to dissolve the city of Canton. Jones also said he was struggling to make ends meet because of receiving high water bills.
In August, the city learned a software glitch and meter reading problems resulted in hundreds of its residents receiving inaccurate water bills.
The city converted to a new software system in April that did not catch data errors during the conversion and some of its meter readings did not accurately convert to number of gallons a customer used, resulting in residents being either over or under billed for water usage.
The city also began billing customers for actual usage rather than the former method of truncating customer usage, which, along with the city’s increased water and sewer rates, also caused confusion.
The conversion also affected some of the billing cycle dates, causing some residents to not get monthly statements in the mail.
Hobgood said the city needed to come up with a plan on what it needs to do to ensure fire protection throughout the city.
He also said the city needs to come up with ideas on how to prevent its Insurance Service Office, or ISO, rating of a 4 from dropping to a 5.
Fire Chief Dean Floyd said the city is due for an inspection and is in danger of its rating dropping to a five.
Hobgood said he’d like to see the city at least maintain its 4 rating or do what it can to improve its rating to a 3.
He also floated the idea of the city asking voters to consider a bond referendum to pay for building a new fire station.
Hobgood asked Cummins, Goodwin and Councilman John Beresford to serve on an administrative oversight committee to review city policies and procedures, and to recommend any possible changes to the Council’s Policy Manual. He also asked them to review policies and procedures of the Water Department.
Hobgood reminded the council not to forget the proposed changes to the city charter recommended by a citizens’ committee tasked with reviewing inconsistencies in the charter.
Hobgood named Cummins, Huffman and Beresford to act as liaisons to charter committee members Pat Gold and John Rust to discuss the findings.
Councilman Bill Bryan informed the City Council he will add a request to the Jan. 19 agenda to do away with the city’s senior tax exemption.
The Council met in closed session to discuss litigation, but took no action upon returning.