By Jim Young
The Crossville City Council has approved the first reading of an ordinance to add a time for public comment at the end of each of the the council's regular meetings.
The matter was discussed during the council's December meeting, brought up by councilman Pete Souza who pointed out that an item called “grievances from citizens” was listed as an agenda item in the original Crossville city charter. A similar agenda item had been included on the agenda several years ago while Jesse Kerley was on the council previously but later removed.
The ordinance was passed as part of the consent agenda and had no discussion. It was pointed out on the agenda information that the item name would allow all types of comments, not just complaints, and would be for the discussion of things not already on the agenda.
A time for public comments was offered at the end of the council's January agenda but no comments were made.
Also approved under the consent agenda was the first reading of an agenda annexing 6.85 acres on Myrtle Avenue. The annexation request came from the property owner and an apartment development is planned for the location. Part of the property is already in the city limits. Two additional readings are required.
The council approved Lincoln National Life Insurance as the company to provide short and long term disability insurance for city employees. The city bid the insurance and this company was the lowest bidder.
The city had previously provided disability insurance to the employees but dropped it as of the first of the year. The disability insurance is now optional and can be purchased by the employee if they choose.
The council passed the second reading of an ordinance amending the budget for the renovation of the new city hall building. The budget amendment adds $115,000 to the previously approved amount bringing the total cost of renovations to $2,139,199 including $180,000 for furnishings. The total cost per square foot including the purchase of the building is $119.
The motion to approve the budget amendment passed by a 4 to 1 vote with councilman Kerley opposed. Councilman Danny Wyatt offered congratulations to the city manager and city employees who worked on the project.
Mayor J.H. Graham agreed and asked for a round of applause for city clerk Sally Oglesby and the city employees who worked to get the project completed. Oglesby said the work was a team effort including the city manager, city engineer, public works employees and many others.
The council unanimously approved moving forward with the Tenth Street improvement project that should help reduce the flooding near the Rescue Squad building by creating a larger excavation to hold more water during heavy rains. City engineer Tim Begley stressed that the project would not completely stop the flooding but should reduce the frequency.
The project is a partnership with the Obed Watershed Community Association and the Rescue Squad that owns the land where the project will be done. A larger catch basin will be dug on the property in order to slow down the water flow across Tenth Street. In addition to reducing flooding the project is expected to reduce infiltration to the sewer system and reduce sedimentation and gravel into Town Branch creek.
City manager Bruce Wyatt reported to the council that the South Cumberland Utility District has requested a second master meter be installed on Highway 127-S. The project will require replacement of approximately 6500 feet of city owned water line with some 8000 feet of larger lines as well as the master meter. SCUD is requesting the change to provide a redundant water supply. SCUD will pay for the project and the lines and master meter become the property of the city.
The project will move forward with no objections for the council.
City manager Wyatt also reported that he had received a letter offering to purchase the city's two lots on Waterview Drive. Councilman Souza said he would like to see land and lots the city is not using returned to the tax rolls. He added he wanted any sales to be competitive and in the open.
Mayor Graham commented that he was not particularly impressed by the offer made for the lots. Graham suggested putting together a list of city property that might be for sale.
Councilman Kerley said he felt it was the wrong time to be selling real estate with the market the way it is right now. He added there was no urgent need to sell land and he thought any sales should wait until the market came back.
The matter will be discussed further at a future meeting.
The council also reappointed Doug Brady to another term on the City Lake commission.