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published on 04/16/2003

Official Minutes of March SM Town Council Meeting

Town Recorder

The Town Council of the Town of Signal Mountain held its regular monthly meeting on Monday, March 10, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall. Those present were:

Mayor James H. Althaus, Vice-Mayor William O. Leonard,
Councilmember Rachel Bryant, Councilmember Stephen Ruffin

Also present were:
Town Manager Hershel Dick, Town Recorder Diana Campbell, Town Attorney Phil Noblett. See list attached for additional people. (Editor's note: No list was attached; to view go to Town Hall.)

The Mayor called the meeting to order and Councilmember Ruffin offered the prayer. The Town Recorder called the roll.

Councilmember Ruffin made a motion to approve the minutes of the February 10, 2003, regular monthly meeting. The motion was seconded by Vice-Mayor Leonard and passed unanimously.

The first resolution for the Council to consider was “A RESOLUTION APPOINTING CONNIE RATCHFORD AS A BOARD MEMBER TO THE SCENIC CITIES BEAUTIFUL COMMISSION BOARD”. After a brief discussion, the Mayor made a motion to approve the resolution. Vice-Mayor Leonard seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

The next item before the Council was the ordinance “AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND ORDINANCE NO. 2002-3, ENTITLED ‘AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING THE FY 2 TOWN BUDGET’ SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN CHANGES IN EXPENDITURES BY THE TOWN OF SIGNAL MOUNTAIN AS SET FORTH IN THE AMENDED FY 2 TOWN BUDGET”. The Recorder explained that this ordinance would add $145,814 to the revenue and expenditures to account for the grant money for fire training equipment. She explained that the original budget had contained expenditure for the Town’s 10% match money. She further explained that this ordinance contained one correction from the first reading in that the expenditure was changed to be Fire-Other from Police-Other. After a short discussion, Councilmember Ruffin made a motion to approve the ordinance as amended. Councilmember Bryant seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

During the opportunity for citizens and others to address the Council, Sam Powell, Chairman of the Parks Board, spoke on the condition of the hiking trails at Rainbow Falls and Signal Point after the recent rain, which a neighbor had registered as 6-1/2 inches.

He explained that the rain had caused a landslide on the mountain that was bigger than any he had seen on the mountain. He pointed out that one of the rocks that fell was as big as half a house. He passed out pictures to the Council and then used a sketch to explain where the damage had occurred.

Next, Jason Farmer, representing the Signal Mountain Chamber of Commerce, addressed the Council and informed them of the Chamber’s project for the year titled “Tell it on the Mountain”. He proposed that the Chamber have a permanent spot on the Town’s signboard with a phone number for people to call to get information on activities in the Town. He answered several questions from the Council. After some discussion, the Mayor suggested giving the question to a citizen’s group to study and make a recommendation.

Next, Lou Oliphant, representing the Planning Commission, noted that the Planning Commission had met on the previous Thursday night and received a request to close an unopened road on Lot 34 in St. Ives. She noted Mr. Thelen had a deed and had been paying taxes on the lot but the Town had a plat showing it belonged to the Town. She noted the Planning Commission had turned the matter over to the Attorney to resolve the question of ownership.

Councilmember Bryant inquired about the status of the recommendation of the citizen’s committee studying the recreation area behind the golf course. The Town Manager informed the Council that there would be a recommendation from the committee to the Recreation Board on the following Thursday, March 13, 2003.

Councilmember Bryant then brought up the subject of the Humane Society and noted the recent report that had been on the television. She wanted the Town to stay on top of the situation. The Town Manager stated that he would.

Councilmember Bryant inquired about a citizen’s letter regarding the work done in front of his house by the Street Department. A discussion followed. The Mayor explained that some citizens landscaped to the paving edge but the last three or four feet was really street right-of-way. The Town employees had gone to the property and opened up the ditch to prevent water from running into the street and causing a danger from ice. He noted that the situation seemed to be resolved.

Next, Councilmember Bryant inquired regarding speed bumps. A brief discussion followed. The Town Manager noted that the Town had tried strips not speed bumps on Signal Road. The Town Attorney cautioned against putting anything in the street without authorization from the State of Tennessee.

Councilmember Ruffin inquired whether the Town had anyone called to active duty in the armed services. The Town Manager stated no employees had been called.

Councilmember Ruffin encouraged everyone to support the service people who had been sent to the Middle East.

Vice-Mayor Leonard noted that the Town had started working on the budget for the Town. He commended the Department Heads in their work on the budget and on their work on job descriptions.

The Mayor spoke on the budget also. He gave an update on the revenue received from the State. He said that he thought the Governor would recommend that all State-shared revenue returned to the cities and counties would be reduced by 9%. He pointed out that the Town would lose about $125,000 to $130,000 in the reduction.

Town Attorney Phil Noblett noted that there would be a special called meeting on March 24, 2003, at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the Tabb, LLC, lawsuit concerning the property at the traffic light.

Several other items were discussed but no action was taken. The meeting was then adjourned.

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