East Carbon council, mayor review value of gifts presented to residents
Council members in East Carbon City reviewed the benefit of giving holiday gifts to local residents at a public meeting on Dec. 27.
Each year, East Carbon gives a small gift to residents; however, council member Darlene Kuhns raised concerns about the value of the tradition to the city at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.
Kuhns explained that, in just a couple of days since the deliveries, she has received numerous complaints and even the threat of a lawsuit regarding the matter.
The city distributed a box of chocolates, valued at about $2, to each resident within the city.
A slightly larger gift was given to local widows.
The total cost for the effort was near $2,000. The money could be used elsewhere by the city, pointed out Kuhns.
In some areas of the city, the gifts were taken from residents' doorsteps after the items were delivered.
Residents who were victim to the alleged theft have complained about not receiving anything.
The slue of negative comments left Kuhns wondering whether the city should consider ending the tradition.
"I've got a real sour taste for it right now," said Kuhns.
The council member further addressed the issue of the manpower expended on the deliveries.
Kuhns explained that members of the city's volunteer fire department drove trucks and children made the deliveries to residents.
Three trucks were driven by firefighters and a fourth volunteer dressed as Santa Claus rode on one of the emergency vehicles.
Kuhns said the four trucks were not enough to efficiently hit each street.
Further, with children carrying the gifts from the trucks to residents' doorsteps, Kuhns wondered if the city was creating a liability for itself.
With the number of concerns and the amount of complaints, Kuhns expressed her opinion that the city should review the value of the tradition before carrying it out again next year.
"If the people in the community can't be more appreciative of what we do, I say we drop it," said Kuhns.
She also pointed out that the Santa suit that the firefighters use is in poor condition and will probably need to be replaced soon. Kuhns explained that the outfit has been mended and repaired countless times, but is in poor condition nonetheless.
The council took no action regarding Kuhns' comments, but members agreed to review the matter before continuing the tradition.
In an unrelated matter, the council addressed an issue relating to the old city hall. The city no longer uses the facility for civic purposes and has made it available for public use.
However, council members reported that the facility is likely costing the city more than it should, noting that lights were often left on overnight and the city was paying to heat and cool the room even when it is not utilized.
Mayor Dale Andrews suggested that the city look into installing a programmable thermostat to reduce heating and air conditioning costs. He added that any thermostat replaced should be locked, similar to the manner in which the current thermostat is housed in a locked box.
Council members also pointed out that chairs from the facility were being taken from the building and have been seen in various parts of the city.
Andrews also suggested that the building be re-keyed with keys that cannot be duplicated and that the city keep track of who has been issued keys. The council approved a motion to replace keys at the old city hall.
Council member Joyce Caviness suggested that a notice be placed in the building notifying users that the building will be re-keyed and that they will need to contact city officials to obtain a new key.