By Jim Young
Once again an agenda item on Crossville city council's meeting tonight could cover almost any subject and the item appears at the request of councilman Jesse Kerley.
The item is listed as “Matters relative to old city business” on the agenda, but as of press time no additional information had been furnished by Kerley on the matter that would allow the other councilmen to prepare for the topic Kerley wants to discuss. Several items appeared on the agenda with no supporting information last month, requested by councilman Pete Souza, and there was discussion by council members requesting that, in the future, background information be provided to help them prepare for the planned discussion of city business.
The council meeting is set to begin 6 p.m. this evening in the council chambers of the new city hall on Main Street following the audit committee meeting at 5:15 p.m. A public hearing on Community Development Block Grants, the completion of the 2011 sewer system improvements, and the new 2013 funding request, will be held at 5:45 p.m.
The council will take up the issue of the “order of business” for future regular council meetings following discussion during last month's meeting of the city charter that requires a spot on the agenda for “grievances from citizens.” The proposed ordinance would institute the agenda order currently being used and add an item for “public comment” to the agenda. Calling the item public comment would allow for positive comments as well as complaints and the item would be for the discussion of items not already on the council's agenda.
The new ordinance will be taken up under the consent agenda.
Other items on the council's agenda include the annexation of 6.85 acres on Myrtle Avenue at the request of the property owner as well as approval of a pre-application for an energy grant that would help pay for the cost of solar energy photovoltaic system for the new city hall proposed at a 50 percent match. If the pre-application is approved, a full application will be submitted.
Souza requested to continue last month's discussion on the Crossville Memorial Airport and address some issues. Souza expressed concern during December's meeting over the cost of operating the airport with the fixed base operator acting as airport manager and had requested some financial and cost information on the airport operation.
During the council's meeting preparation work session last week, the council heard from city engineer Tim Begley about two projects he reported were ready to go out for bids and would be coming back to the council for action in the next two months. One is the first phase of the dog park at the back of the city recreation park. The bid is for the fence and a small extension of the trail to access the facility. The total estimated cost is $16,400.
The second project is the abutment work proposed for Satsuma Drive to install water and sewer service laterals and road paving. The total cost estimate on the project is $214,000. It is possible city crews might do some of the work but that will depend on the bids received and estimates of how much it would cost the city to do it themselves.
Annexation of the Satsuma Drive properties has been approved on two of three readings and will be finalized after the project moves forward.
Begley also discussed a long-range project to provide street lights on the new Lantana Road. The city is studying the idea and looking at several options from completely lighting the road to a portion of the road or adding street lights just at intersections. Once cost estimates are received the city will look at it again.
Souza asked about TML insurance paying for part of the defense of former councilman Boyd Wyatt's lawsuit by former city manager Jack Miller. City Attorney Ken Chadwell explained that because the actions in question were made while Wyatt was a councilman, TML determines whether to defend the suit or not. There was no action by council or the city to request the help. Chadwell added that TML could later come back and bill Wyatt for the work if they decide.
Other comments during the work session requested by Councilman Danny Wyatt to hear from engineer Tim Begley on the downtown project. Begley commented the city was investigating the complaints made at the downtown project work session by downtown property owners who reported water and sewer issues.
A work session on the Tansi Sewer status was also requested in the near future, but a date was not set.
Schedules for the city budget process are being developed by city finance director Fred Houston and should be completed by the end of the month.