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published on 08/13/2002

August Town Council Meeting

By staff writer

Effective August 31, 2002, sewer rates will go down 42% for those homeowners on the current sewer system within the Town of Signal Mountain! On Monday, August 12, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Town Council, a resolution passed that authorized the mayor and the town manager to enter into a contract with the Hamilton County Wastewater Treatment Authority (WWTA). According to a representative of WWTA, Mr. Henry Hoss, the WWTA will assume all the responsibilities the Town once had concerning the sewers including bringing them up to EPA standards as required by the State of Tennessee. Several issues with the developers of St. Ives remain, but after discussing a few changes in the contract the Town Council voted to accept this resolution. A complete copy of the resolution is available at the Town Hall.

Present at the meeting were Mayor Jim Althaus, Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bob Steel, Councilmembers Billy Steele, Steve Ruffin, and Rachel Bryant; town manager Hershel Dick, town recorder Diana Campbell, and town attorney Phil Noblett. Lou Oliphant, from the Signal Mountain Planning Commission and Master Officer Greg Hill, Signal Mountain Police’s D.A.R.E. and K-9 officer were also present. Candidates for Town Council Robert White, Jason Farmer, Bo Patten, and Joe Dumas were present. A variety of Boy Scouts, members of the press including one local television station, and concerned citizens filled the room.

After Councilmember Steele opened the meeting with a prayer and the minutes of the last regularly scheduled meeting were approved, Mayor Althaus suspended the meeting and convened the Beer Board. At this time, court reporter, Laurie Everett began transcribing the meeting of the Beer Board (which consists of the members of the Town Council.)

Officer Hill introduced the representative of M.A.D.D. and the young man who assisted in the “sting” as well as documents, which proved the young man was underage. After a brief background on what took place during the “sting”, the Mayor pointed out that the cashier at Pruitt’s and the two servers, one from the Pastaria and the other from Top of the Mountain had gone to court and been fined court costs and put on 12 months probation. He also pointed out that it is the responsibility of the individual servers and cashiers to check i.d.’s however the ultimate responsibility is the owners to enforce the policies. Letters requesting their presence at the Board Meeting were sent to Mr. Glen Broom from Pruitt’s, Mr. Bill Woodcock from Top of the Mountain, and Mr. Nino Piccolo from the Pastaria.

Both Mr. Woodcock and Mr. Broom were present as well as Mr. Martin Pruitt, however, Mr. Piccolo, who is out of the country was not present. No one from the Pastaria came to the Board meeting, which disappointed the members of the Board. After hearing Mr. Broom and Mr. Pruitt, and Mr. Woodcock, the Board addressed each business individually. After several failed motions, the Board finally agreed to fine the Pastaria $500 and six months probation. (Included in the motion was to designate the $500 fine for the Mountain Education Fund.) Although this was Pruitt’s second offense, it was the first one since Mr. Broom took over as manager. Pruitt’s was also fined $500 but given twelve month’s probation. (Funds to be given to the MEF, also.) The Top of the Mountain Restaurant, like the Pastaria, was fined $500 and given six months probation. (Funds to be donated to the D.A.R.E. program.) At the close of the Beer Board, Mr. Martin Pruitt announced that Pruitt’s Grocery wanted to donate an additional $500 to the D.A.R.E. program as a measure of good faith.

In other business, the Councilmembers voted on two other resolutions, both approving the purchase of two automobiles, one for the town inspector and the other a police car, both budgeted for in the 2002-3 Budget.

The Planning Commission did not meet so there was no report.

Under new business, Councilmembers spoke on issues brought to them by concerned citizens. Rachel Bryant addressed three issues: paving on Whispering Pines, the house on Timberlinks that seems never to be completed and is an eyesore, and the possibility of grant money to help finish the paving of sidewalks. Hershel Dick, town manager, will look into all these issues. Steve Ruffin spoke on his concern that two of the candidates running for Town Council are running on what appeared to him as one ticket. Bob Steel commented once again, on the derelict houses and the policies from Montgomery, AL, and spoke well of the Town of Signal Mountain police contrary to what citizens at a previous meeting were saying about the police department. He also told the reporter from the Signal Mountain Post that he did not appreciate their policy of printing the names of people arrested for DUI as they are innocent until proven guilty and it was embarrassing to the families to see the names listed. Mayor Althaus reminded the members of the audience, once again, of the survey taken six years ago that listed SAFETY as the number one thing people liked about living in the Town of Signal Mountain. Hershel Dick asked officer Hill to make a D.A.R.E. report at which time he passed out the tentative schedule and a fact sheet on the D.A.R.E. program.

Before the meeting closed, candidate Robert White responded to the remarks made by Councilmember Ruffin in regards to the campaign.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.
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