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published on 02/12/2003


By staff writer

DO NOT CALL 911 FROM YOUR CELL PHONE IF YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY UP HERE ON THE MOUNTAIN. This was the message relayed to residents at the regular meeting of Signal Mountain Town Council held Monday, February 10th. Mayor Jim Althaus pointed out that the universal emergency number does not work because the local police and fire departments cannot read the incoming number from a cell phone. Call from your landline and by all means do not get in your car and drive to the fire station to report a fire in your home, as valuable time is lost when this happens. Five recent structural fires, with two being a total loss were reported by the fire department, according to the Mayor.

After calling the meeting to order, Vice-mayor and Councilmember Bill Leonard offered a prayer. All members of the Town Council were present except Councilmember Robert White, who was out of the country. Town attorney Phil Noblett, town recorder Diana Campbell, and town manager Hershel Dick were also present.

The first item discussed was a resolution presented by Hershel Dick requesting the purchase of a fire training unit. Monies from a grant the fire department applied for and received will pay for the unit as well any other fees or expenses related to it. It will be placed on property owned by the Town of Signal Mountain off Timberlinks Drive. The resolution to purchase the fire unit passed. Because the grant money will come to the Town, the 2002-03 Budget had to be amended to reflect the receipt and disbursement of the funds. An ordinance to amend the budget was voted on and passed on the fist reading. A second reading may be held at a called meeting, if Hershel Dick requests such a meeting as he cannot order the unit until after the second reading, according to Phil Noblett.

During citizen’s opportunity to talk, John Clark, from the Mountain Recreation Board (an unofficial board not related to the Town Recreation Board), gave an update on the Hamilton County Park on Shackleford Ridge Road. He reported the bathrooms and concession stands were coming along as well as the 6,000 square foot covered pavilion. Sam Powell, also present, confirmed that the lower trail is only weeks from completion and the upper trail is still in the plan. Add to the park the excellent baseball and soccer fields, this is becoming one of the bests if not THE BEST facility in Hamilton County and surrounding counties. When asked about future use, John said a request had been made to create a disc golf course, however, poison ivy and underbrush might hinder such a project. (Editors note: Underbrush and poison ivy did not hinder volunteers to clear 18 holes of disc golf at Cloudland Canyon State Park this past year. It can be done, if there is enough interest in making it happen.)

Residents Glen Showalter and Stan Crews came before the Town Council to receive their blessing on a Christmas decoration, which they plan to build and place in front of the James monument at the intersection of Signal Mountain Boulevard and Ridgeway Drive. Their plan is build, paint and decorate a 26’ Santa Train filled with handmade toys. Anyone wishing to help or observe can come to Stan’s workshop on Taft Highway. The Council agreed by general consent to the request pointing out to members of the audience that the beautiful sign at the intersection of Shoal Creek Road and Hwy 127 welcoming people to the Town of Signal Mountain was designed and built by Stan.

Lou Oliphant reported that there was, as Bob Anderson noted, sNOw report. (Because of snow the Planning Commission did not meet therefore no report).

A member of the “Green Team” sent a letter via Lou Oliphant to be read at the meeting, requesting the Town of Signal Mountain contact the proper authorities about the brush growing along the highway blocking the view of the Tennessee River Gorge. Hershel Dick pointed out that this is state property and the town has no authority but has on several occasions informed the state of the problem to which the Town has been told it is not a high priority.

Resident Bill Gallagher had a question for John Clark who had left the meeting after he gave his report. So he asked the Council what the status was on the ball fields behind the old pool. As this is the only field adults can play ball on, he would like to see the Town stay focused in updating the fields. He was told to take his concerns to Scott Cook, recreation director. Sam Powell suggested Mr. Gallagher look into raising money to build the fields designated at Shackleford Ridge Park as that is all that is keeping them from being built. However, Mayor Althaus pointed out that upgrading the existing fields would be cheaper and faster than building new ones. Bill’s wife Diane asked what the present Ordinance was on street lighting and private lighting at churches and homes. Hershel said he would have Bill Wagner, town engineer, get in touch with her, as no one on the Council was sure what the Ordinance did say.

Councilmember Rachel Bryant expressed concern over the decision to build the “round-a-bout” at the foot of the “W” Road. Mayor Althaus responded with a lengthy discussion on how round-a-bouts work and why the city of Chattanooga decided to do this instead of put up a stoplight. Councilmember Bill Leonard expressed concern over the large number of animal complaints made this last month and the amount of time spent by the police department responding to the complaints. He wondered if residents didn’t need to be reminded in some way of what the law is pertaining to animals within the town limits. Mayor Althaus responded to his concern by repeating the history of the most well attended Council meetings ever when the Town was split 50/50 on how to handle the problem of loose dogs. Councilmember Rachel Bryant wondered if the $24,000 a year the town pays for Animal Control is worth it. The Mayor and Vice-mayor agreed. The Mayor agreed to write an open letter to all residents informing them of the law and the process one should take when they have a complaint.

Hershel Dick reported that he has been attending the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority meetings and is impressed with their dedication and feels very positive about the company’s care of the Signal Mountain’s sewers.

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM
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