By Jim Young
The Crossville city council met in a special called meeting Tuesday evening and took care of numerous items of business including approving a bid for the replacement of airport runway lights and set a time for the next discussion of the 2013-14 budget.
In addition, the council approved the first reading of a new annexation and tried to deal with a new law passed by the Tennessee General Assembly that has delayed an annexation already approved.
The airport runway lights at Crossville Memorial have been creating problems in the airport operation and the city bid out replacing the outdated system. The city received two bids and they were quite far apart. One bid was substantially over estimates and one was under it. The low bid of Freitag Construction was $271,500 and the bid of Stansell Electric was $839,570.
The estimated cost of the project by the design engineers was $492,000 and the city has a grant of $475,000 to pay for the project, with a 5 percent match by the city. Engineering firm Atkins reviewed the bids and recommended the low bid to the council.
The council unanimously approved the low bid
The council will take up further work on the upcoming budget at the end of their work session set for May 7 beginning at 3 PM.
“We've still got a lot of work to do,” said Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III about the budget. Graham told Interim City Manager Jack Miller to get up to speed on the budget and he urged council members with concerns about the budget to present those to Miller this week.
Councilman Pete Souza commented that the budget was his “highest priority.”
The council will also take up the Main Street project during the May 7 work session and hear from Melinda Keifer who was Main Street coordinator for the State of Tennessee.
“There is no one in the State of Tennessee that knows more about Main Street projects than Melinda Keifer,” commented Graham. Keifer is now the Economic and Community Development director for Cookeville where she ran their Main Street program for a number of years.
The council also discussed the property around the Spirit Broadband Amphitheater and the Snodgrass building, formerly the Veterans Service office. The city is interested in saving the historic building that the county seems to want to raze. In addition, the city is considering a restroom and concession building to compliment the amphitheater. Councilman Danny Wyatt has been studying the property involved and researching what could be done to enhance the area.
Terry Ashburn with the Palace Theatre shared a design for a a restroom/concession building that students at the Tennessee Technology Center at Crossville worked on. Such a building would cost around $60,000 to $70,000 but would be useful for programs at the amphitheater as well as other downtown and Courthouse lawn events. Some of the work on the building could be done by TTCC students and/or crews from the prison.
Wyatt will attend the next Cumberland County Commission building and grounds committee to further discuss the project and the city's interest.
The council discussed an annexation issue with Satsuma Dr. that cropped up after the Tennessee General Assembly approved a moratorium on annexations that have not been requested by the property owners from April 15 for 18 months. The city's annexation of Satsuma Drive was to go into effect on April 26, just a week after the cutoff, and work has already started on abutment improvements to the area. A majority of the property owners sought the annexation but not all, leading to the problem.
Council approved requesting the county commission waive the moratorium, as allowed in the bill, due to financial injury the city would suffer if the annexation does not go through. A letter will be sent to Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey requesting the action.
The council approved an annexation request for a property on Meadowview Dr. The property is owned by James Inman who requested that annexation.
The council also discussed the search for a new city manager. Souza was concerned about getting the word out and how long the process would take. It was agreed that ads would be placed as soon as possible and résumés be accepted until mid-June, at which time the council would look at the candidates. City Clerk Sally Oglesby will contact candidates from the last hiring process and see if any are interested in putting their name back in the running.
Souza agreed to put off the process of looking for a full time city attorney in light of the search for a city manager and work on the budget. Résumés are still being sought, and the matter is expected to come back up before the council in a June work session